Photos show up in some of the weirdest places – in grandmom’s junk drawers in the kitchen, the trunk in the attic or basement and (we all have these) in shoeboxes in the closet!

These items have and will continue to be a link to the past, capturing snapshots of history.  They are used to document historical events or to capture a stolen moment in time.  Anybody else love those candid shots?

Today, in this very technological world we live in, all you need is your cell phone or tablet to capture the moments but what are they doing with the photos after?  Are you leaving them on the device (hopefully not but if you are, hopefully you are backing them up somewhere) or are you doing things the old fashion way, sending them out to be developed?

Either way they are managed, maintained, or saved, they are important resources for your family history research.

I know I just went on a tangent but I promise there is a point to this post.

Recently I was “shopping” in the history section of the library looking for a photo book on Vanishing DeKalb, when I came across a book entitled The Face of Our Past: Images of Black Women from Colonial America to the Present edited by Kathleen Thompson and Hilary Mac Austin.  I picked up the book because I was curious about it.  As I was reading through it, I realized that this could potentially be a resource for genealogists.  I know its a long shot but sometimes we genealogists have to look in strange places to find things, photos included.

Also, Arcadia Publishing has a series of books called the Black America series.  This series features books about various aspects of black life in different parts of the United States. For Georgia researchers, you will be happy to know that there are books on black life for the counties and cities listed.  The link will take you to the books bibliographic page on



Other Topics

In addition to those sources, have you considered the photo collections in archives?  Here are few digital collections:

Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress)  – The Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) contains catalog records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress.

Vanishing GeorgiaVanishing Georgia comprises nearly 18,000 photographs. Ranging from daguerreotypes to Kodachrome prints, the images span over 100 years of Georgia history. The broad subject matter of these photographs, shot by both amateurs and professionals, includes, but is not limited to, family and business life, street scenes and architecture, agriculture, school and civic activities, important individuals and events in Georgia history, and landscapes. (Excerpted from Vanishing Georgia site)

Hopefully this information will prove helpful for you.  Happy researching!