Sunday, August 26, 2012


A while back, I went to an auction, looking to purchase a few things cheap and then resell them.  Sort of a hobby of mine.  Well, this time turned out differently than any other.  I arrived and found a box of old orphan photographs.  Several boxes in fact.  I immediately felt an overwhelming sadness come over me.  I suppose this is a good time to say, that I've been a genealogist for most of my life.  Not for pay, but for fun.  And staring down at those faces just made me want to cry, because almost certainly there was at least one that a researcher out there would love to have, if only there was a name attached.

I am not ashamed to admit, I felt very protective over these photographs.  So much so, that I ended up purchasing them and nothing else.  Going home that night, I admit I felt slightly foolish, being so attached to photos of people I had no knowledge of and probably never would.

Since then I've purchased other lots of photographs, and I now specifically seek them out when on the rare occasion I attend an auction.  Most of these have simply been scanned into my computer, one more face to add to the database.  Likely to never be identified.

A few lucky photos, however, have given me hope that they may be reunited with someone who will cherish them.  A few were lucky enough to have names attached.  I will sporadically be updating this blog with a new photo, a new name, and my attempts at finding out which "John Smith" they are.  Perhaps, with luck, they will find their rightful family.


  1. You are definitely not foolish for feeling an attachment to the photos. I frequent antique stores and get the same feeling. I once found a bridal book that some young bride carefully filled out. I wasn't related but I felt a need to save that object and return it to someone that would treasure it. I still haven't found the family, but I still hope to. You are not alone!

  2. Hi, Katie ! It's nice to meet someone else who feels the same way about orphan photos. I have been doing the same thing for about six months ... purchasing old photographs with some sort of identifying information and trying to track down descendants and family members who might be interested in having them. Best of luck in your adventures - I have found it to be such a rewarding process!

    Mary Beth Marion