Question of the Week: What do you do with unidentified photos?

+13 votes
What do you do with unidentified photos?
in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)

16 Answers

+10 votes
Some people post them on  I have posted some of mine on Facebook.
by Anonymous Anonymous G2G Crew (500 points)
+6 votes
I have no unidentified photos so this is not a problem for me.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
very lucky! :)
Good for you!!! I inherited a box full of old photos from my grands that belonged to their parents.  Only a few have been identified.
+6 votes
Sadly, they languish in boxes in my Genealogy room.  I have thousands of photos and at least hundreds of important photos I know who are which need scanned in.first.  I suppose I need to set up a schedule to scan them in.  Anywayone have suggestions on how to get off the stick and do it?
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (395k points)
I've been slowly trying to scan in documents and photos myself. After a whiel I get bored. I actually have a file on my harddrive from scanning but I need to crop and sort where they go. LoL Part of my drive to do it is I'll be getting more at some point in the next couple of months being the "Family Historian". I did purchase some archival boxes off Amazon to store things in for future family to know what box holds what.. like "Brewer/Clontz" family stuff... "Shockey", etc. :)
Try a scan every Tues and Thurs and choose a number to scan, then walk away. Makes it easier to tolerate! 10-12 works for me.
+9 votes

That is a good question.  I hate to see beautiful photos be lost forever.  As mentioned, Dead Fred is one site.  I love Ancient Faces. Family Search has a place to put your photos. Many sites try to help but if you go to Cindy's List You will find many links to follow up with.

You can go to forums on facebook for the area where you are searching.  As an example, there was a handsome photo of a WWII soldier that was in a box of family photos I was given.  Nobody knows who it is.  I went to the genealogical society of that county and posted it.  Also, the state had a lost and found photo site.  It has been so long ago that I needed this so I am not doing well on giving you details but I think Cindy's list will keep you busy.

P.S. Here are a couple more from Cindys List.  huge collection    You can do a facebook search for Unknown photos and there are a lot of facebook pages.  Here is one example.


by Sharon DiLuvio G2G6 Mach 1 (16.6k points)
edited by Sharon DiLuvio
+7 votes
I keep them.   I have some photos that I have had since 1989.  Just last year I was able to identify a few of them due to the genealogy research I have done over the years.  You never know.  Keep them.
by Susan Murphy G2G Crew (410 points)
After we went through photos of my grandparents.. my aunt was going to throw away those photos that didn't have them in it or any family. I was like nope I got it... planning to scan them in and put on sites so maybe the family of those in the photos will find them. :)
Yes, keep them, they are treasures of the past.  It breaks my heart when I go in antique and thrift stores and see framed pictures, or boxes of old photos for sale.  You never know when someone might be able to put a face with a name for you.
+6 votes
I created a game and send it with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cards and send them to my aunts and uncles who are in their 70s and 80s. They love the cards - the wackier the better - and often recall all the people in the photo and even the dog's name!
by Bev Spreeman G2G6 (9.4k points)
What a great idea, Bev!  So creative!
+3 votes
I inherited many un named photos.  I have put them in a folder, marked who they came from.  Then at family gatherings when others bring their pictures to show, I have been able to identify some of my un named. Simply working to put faces to the names of ancestors, I have become familiar with individuals that I have identified and have photos of them and family. This is such a help when I am looking at old pics, many times, I see a familiar face and Bingo!  one more name on one more picture.  I have carried pics to the oldest person in the family, and many times they are able to help with the old photos.  But that is luck on my part, and I also get to enjoy the visit and stories told.
by Deborah Dunn G2G6 Mach 1 (19.9k points)
+2 votes
I have a great many un named photos..I have them all kept in a photo album,they are of my family ,,I know that,,as maybe I have identified 1,,or 2 out of 6 or 10 people in the photo..and as I get new photos,,and others give me there collection,,,I compare,,and try and find out who each it.

My husbands side have many many photo portrait type museum perfect photos.and we have labelled a great many of them thru shared family photos...
by Rita Miller G2G2 (2.8k points)
+2 votes
My grandma had lots of unidentified photos - mainly of her Dunne cousins who were much older than her - and unfortunately they are all languishing in boxes at my aunts' homes. (I live on another continent, so it's not like I can just pop over for a visit :/ )  If I had them, I'd post them far and wide because I think I've now found people who may be able to identify them!
by Vicky Majewski G2G6 Mach 7 (70.8k points)
+1 vote
I would say take your time and look for the links other wise put them in the maybe files.
by Stephen Elmer G2G2 (2.9k points)
+1 vote
I'm lucky, I went through my maternal grandparents pictures when I was a kid and wrote who was in each picture on the back in pencil.

When they passed I got the family photos. I eventually scanned them all. I also posted most of them on Facebook. Various cousins have identified a lot of the ones I didn't know.  

 I should post some again soon and challenge everyone to post theirs.
by Sharon Ray G2G6 Mach 1 (11.4k points)
+1 vote
Since most of my photographs originate from the same general area, I usually post them on Facebook where I belong to a number of local FB groups.  I've had a bit of luck with that, and was able to send a photograph of my grandmother's high school friend to one of her relatives.
by Nancy Shaw G2G1 (1k points)
+1 vote

I have been successful a few times by using this site.

by George Churchill G2G6 Mach 7 (78.7k points)
+2 votes
I had a aunt that kept several albums of photos of our grandfathers, grandmothers, their brothers, sisters, etc, (she had a habit of not labeling people) I very recently set up a private FB page to share with cousins and the activity is off the charts!! Most of us haven't spoken to each other in 20 to 30 years. We all comment on who we think it is and such. Its taking time to scan and post but its worth it.
by Steve Stobaugh G2G6 Mach 1 (17.7k points)
+1 vote
I post them on my Flickr page and send the link to every possible cousin.  I've identified quite a few this way.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
+3 votes
I have a bunch of photos of my parents' and grandparents' generations and no one has bothered to identify the people in them, where they were taken, or what series of events caused them to be together at that time.  I need to make a conscious effort to work with my mother to get them all documented, with back-stories, so future generations can get as much out of them as possible.
by Erik Oosterwal G2G6 Mach 3 (39.4k points)

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