If you get lucky enough to stumble upon a picture of an ancestor through an internet image search, fantastic!  If not, it may require you to dig a little bit deeper.  As more documents and photographs are available online, there are a lot of places to search.  It can be overwhelming deciding where to start. Make sure you note in your research log where you’ve already checked so you don’t duplicate your search efforts by mistake.

I found a new resource today.

On Digital State Archives you can search by all 50 US states to view available online records, including photographs, that may be available to you.  The site lists all 50 states with direct links to resources available.

Image courtesy of Covina Public Library

Image courtesy of Covina Public Library


Helpful Hints:

  • Some states  and regions of the US have embraced digital archiving more than others.  I love you Illinois and Iowa! Sadly, New York, you have a long way to go.
  • Some  resources may not be indexed. That means your search may take a bit longer.  Or it may require you to search by something besides a name.  This is when it’s helpful to bust out those census records to remind you where your ancestors lived or what they were doing for work.
  • If there aren’t specific pictures of them, there may be photographs that help you understand what their life was like based on the geography, neighbors, and industry they worked in. Fern Goff worked in an citrus packing plant like the one pictured here.
  • You may have to poke around a bit to see if there is anything you can use.  If you don’t find a picture, there may be some other precious genealogical nugget to mine from papers and records that may be with the files in addition to photographs.
Read Part 4 – Finding Photographs of your Ancestors Online Read Part 2 Read Part 1


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