What should I do with family tintypes that I can't identify

+7 votes

I have about 20 tintypes that I found in my Grandparent's attic when Grandma died in the early 1970's.   I am unable to figure out any identity on any of the 20 people even though I have asked other family members. I am sure they are of our paternal Cain line or maternal Dawson line. 

I put them on a blog I have as a way to help save them.  I am new to WikiTree and really don't know if there is a place that I could upload

them that maybe someone might recognize the photo. 

Maybe there is no place to put them on here.  Thanks for your help.

in The Tree House by Karen Cain G2G6 (6.1k points)
I've heard it said:  there is a special place in hell for people who don't wright on the back of pictures :)
Open a free space page for them on the family name and upload the photo's there. Anyone who view the Index for that family name will see there is a page and visit. You might get lucky and get contacted.

Hi Karen, here's the link to create the Free-Space Louis says:


You can find it opening the "Add" drop-down menu > "New Thing" (Last option).

Thanks so much!  That is an area I haven't looked at yet.  Sure appreciate your help!
I just looked over the Free Space and that is fantastic!  I have lots of misc info from my 35 years of researching and this will be a great space to share it all.  Is there any restriction about how many pages we can make?



The same way every person's profile has an unique ID, e.g.:


Every Free-Space profile has an unique ID, e.g.:


I think therefore there's no limit.

Thanks Ruben!
Unidentified photos are a mixed blessing.   I am about ten times more blessed than you are!  I inherited a collection of about 900 photos and about one quarter are unidentified.  My uncle worked for about fifteen years with the help of family and friends to id the ones he did.  His mom was very good at writing names on the backs, but his grt-grandma and grt-grt-grandma were not.

I would encourage you to preserve them in the hopes of finding the identities eventually.  I have seen a number of web sites which specialize in unidentified photos for the purpose of finding a descendant who might recognize a face.  The free space page is a good idea.  I started one and have neglected it.  Another idea I played around with was face recognition software, like fotobounce, but it has serious limitations - it doesn't work with young children or profiles.  Hope that helps.
I used to be bored to tears as a youth on Sunday while my adopted Mom and Aunt questioned my Grandma and wrote on the back of the pictures.   Boy was that a lifesaver as now I am the only one in the family that has and shares many of these old pictures. I hope you can label at least a few more!

2 Answers

+2 votes
Hi Karen  There are clues in your photos based on poses, clothing, hair styles, and furniture or other objects in the photos.   Often there are people attached to local history museums, art museums, and local universities who might be able to help you at least sort them into time frames and then you might be able to match them to people in your trees.  I was able to do that with a photo we knew was family but no living family knew exactly who the people in the image were.  

Also some might be friends, neighbors, or old suitors for your family.  

Are there family resemblances?   We found a portrait of my husband's great great grandmother at a younger age and his sister is the spitting image of her.so sometimes there are strong physical characteristics that come down through the ages.   Particularly look at ears and noses.  Eye shape and face shape as they are often inherited.
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (631k points)
Laura,  thanks so much for your reply.  I have done a lot of research online to pinpoint the probable time period but we have so few photos from our paternal line that I can't seem to find anyone who closely resembles any of the photos so I'm just lost.

However, one of the photos in Grandma's box of photos was identified by a stranger!  I had done a display for our local historical society of the old photos and a guy came up to me and asked where I had gotten a photo of his mother!  We found out that we were cousins and his grandmother and my great grandfather were brother and sister and we were acquaintances for 30 years and didn't realize we were related.

But no such luck on the other photos in the box!
+2 votes
They are such a treasure! I think uploading them or preserving them in some way is so important. There have been troves of photos saved by family members that have simply been disposed of once the elder generation has died that is such a loss of history! Hopefully someone will recognize the subject of the photos.  I envy you your treasure.
by Edie Kohutek G2G6 Mach 7 (73.8k points)

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