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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.

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Who Are Those People? Identifying Family Photos

Biff Barnes

Holiday gatherings are often a time for family historians to gather and share treasured photographs. Unfortunately some of the photos come without identification of the people pictured. So you might have gotten a picture of great-great-great-grandfather or somebody to whom you have no relationship at all. How do you figure out which? Here are some suggestions.

Courtesy of Vivianna_love under Creative Commons

Compare your photos with those of other family members. You may find a relative with the same photo whose subject you are trying to identify or with a photo of the same person. If you are really lucky they may know who the person is. If they can’t identify the person they may be able to offer you advice on someone who can. Phillip on The Blood and Frogs Blog offers more on this technique.

Crowd sourcing problems has proven increasingly successful. Posting photos on Facebook, Goggle+ or other social networks and asking for others has helped a lot of people identify faces in photos.  Carole Riley, at Social Media and Genealogy offers some suggestions on photo identification.

If you want some help from photo identification experts consult someone like Gary Clark at or Maureen Taylor whom The Wall Street Journal described as “The Photo Detective.”

Here’s a way to have some fun while reviewing all those family photos. Take a look at the family resemblances from one generation to the next. Photographer Ulric Collette explores the idea in a series of “Genetic Portraits” blending photos of two relatives. The Huffington Post has a wonderful slide show of his portraits. My Heritage takes the idea a step further with a Look-Alike Meter on its website which allows you to compare photos of family members.