Orphan Photos, not Orphans!

My series featuring orphan photos may confuse some readers.  You may think I’m featuring actual ORPHANS, when, in fact, I’m talking about orphan PHOTOS.

Orphan photos are those unidentified photos in your family’s photo collection or at vintage or antique shops.  The photos that end up for sale in a shop are especially heartbreaking.  It means that no one in the family cared enough to even pass them on to another family member for safekeeping as family history.  Even sadder, it may mean that there are no family members left.

There are a number of websites that specialize in identifying orphan photos.  Once a photo has been identified, it can be reunited with a caring family member.

I’ve chosen to post mine here for now, because it helps me to find possible connections in my family research.   At some point, I plan to upload them to a site where they will reach a wider audience.  This article at the About Parenting website gives information and links to 15 orphan photo sites.

I also enjoy reading about other bloggers’ experiences with orphan photos.  Eight Roads to Montana has a very appealing blog with a section on orphan photos.  Maureen Taylor’s post, Orphan Photos: Cobbler in Franklin, New Hampshire, shares the process of analyzing clues from a particular orphan photo.  My sister Virginia Allain and I have a site for Mystery Photos to Identify where we have posted unidentified photos from our direct family lines.

So, no orphans here (that I know of)!  But plenty of orphan photos begging to be identified!


Earlier comments on this post: 

Kathy Glascott

Hey Toto, I knew that! I was commenting on the photos themselves–not thinking that the people were orphans.
It seems sad that photos that might have been quite costly and cherished at one time became orphans–there’s something really sad about that.


Lol. I knew you knew that, Kathy! I was just thinking of the average reader who might not be familiar with the term.


2 thoughts on “Orphan Photos, not Orphans!

  1. Thanks so much for mentioning my blog, Eight Roads to Montana! Like you, the photos I find in antique or 2nd-hand shops break my heart. I buy the ones that have some identification on the back so that hopefully someone will find them one day, while searching the Internet. I used to try and track down a family member but now blogging takes up most of my time. Still, I find myself always drawn to these beautiful old photos and can’t resist buying them on occasion.


    1. Hi, Lark–Like you, I have a hard time resisting finding out more about the people in these photographs–and that definitely interferes with actually getting blog posts written! Thanks for visiting. (Your blog is lovely.)


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