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Silver Spring, MD
United States


Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Finding Photos for Your Memoir or Family History Book

Biff Barnes

One of the most wonderful results of recent changes in book publishing is that memoirs and family history books can now be fully illustrated books. Historic photographs will enliven the pages of your book and enhance your sketches of the characters about whom you write.

Finding these historic images may take some people no further than their attic or garage to find the box of old family albums. Figuring out who the faces staring back at you from the pages of the album may be a daunting challenge. (But that’s a topic for a future post.)

For others who don’t have a family album readily at hand, finding images may be more of a challenge. Here are some online tools that may help you find what you are looking for.


Ancestor Search is a site which gives you the opportunity to search eight photo databases on a single page. All of them will be useful if you are looking for photos of specific ancestors. The searchable collections include:

  • Ancestor Search’s own collection
  • Ancestor Archive
  • Ancient Faces
  • Dead Fred
  • Family Old Photos
  • The Library of Congress Civil War Photographs and Turn of the Century Photographs
  • Carlisle Barracks Civil War Photographs

The Photo Center at offers the opportunity to find old photographs. You can also help others by sharing your old family photos on the site.

If you are looking for historical images to provide a sense of time and place – a historical context if you will – for the stories you are telling in your text, Family Tree Magazine offers a wonderful online resource in its article Best Historical Photo Databases. The article offers the opportunity to click on thirty-six databases of historic photographs.