Senryu: Family Photographs — Unidentified Relatives

This photograph from my family archives is of an unknown relative. No one knows who she is.
This photograph from my family archives is of an unknown relative. No one knows who she is. | Source

Unidentified Relatives

Several of my relatives sent me photographs from their personal archives. I’m scanning the images to preserve them and will incorporate some into the family tree I’ve been creating.

Some photographs are at least 100 years old. Some were taken in Moldavia (now Moldova), some in Russia, some in Romania.

Some present a mystery that will never be solved. I wish I were able to identify the relative in the photograph at the right. Judging from her facial characteristics, she could be from either my mother's or my father's side of the family.

If you have old family photographs, please try to identify the persons in them before it is too late. Scan the images, send copies via e-mail to all your relatives, ask for their help. Try to ascertain whose photograph you're viewing. Don't let the memory of that person be lost forever,

who is this woman?

... no one knows

her name, her life

... lost to time

— so sad


family photographs of
long forgotten people

— memories lost

Unidentified Relatives from Chișinău, Moldavia (now Moldova)

This photograph was taken in Chișinău, Moldavia (now Moldova) in the 19th century. I think the people in the photograph are my great-great-grandparents, but I'm unable to verify the information. I don't have any living relatives who can help.
This photograph was taken in Chișinău, Moldavia (now Moldova) in the 19th century. I think the people in the photograph are my great-great-grandparents, but I'm unable to verify the information. I don't have any living relatives who can help. | Source

Identified Relative, But Still a Mystery

This relative traveled alone to the United States in 1911 at the age of 13 with the address of a family member in her pocket. Her passage was booked in the hold of the ship. The only person she knew on the ship was someone from her village in Romania. No one in the family knows why she would have had a glamor shot of herself taken some time later and printed on a postcard.

Source

Do you possess family photographs of unidentified relatives?

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Comments 116 comments

Sunita-Sharma profile image

Sunita-Sharma 4 years ago from Los Angeles,California,US

Photographs brings back so many memories...happy and sad both! I too like to preserve old snaps :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sunita,

Thanks so much for commenting. It's such a shame that no one in my family can identify the woman whose photograph I scanned.


Sunita-Sharma profile image

Sunita-Sharma 4 years ago from Los Angeles,California,US

I know it's very sad. But who so ever she is,she is really very charming. And one thing I really like about the old photographs or the old times is the "simplicity"...which I rarely see in present the time.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sunita,

One of the old photographs I was given had writing on the back...a date in 1912 and a poem written by the 12-year girl whose image was captured in the photo.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Photographs are so precious and filled with memories...just like Sunita said, some sad and some happy. I like your haiku and how you presented it. Well done!


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Beautiful daisy

Pictures flash our past and memories associated with it. Voted up indeed.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sunshine,

Thanks so much. I thought I would try something different...Rather than a text capsule, I used Adobe Photoshop and an image capsule for the Haiku.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ruchira,

Thanks for reading my Haiku. I'm really enjoying scanning the hundreds of old photographs I have. Preserving the images and the memories is important to me.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

This is beautiful Daisy! I love old photographs and it is really sad when we can no longer recall who the subjects are--


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Thanks, Audrey.

I love old photographs, too. I think I might write an article describing how to restore them using Adobe Photshop and perhaps one on how to colorize the sepia and the black and white images.


Irob profile image

Irob 4 years ago from St. Charles

Nice, and remember not to rely on scanning and digitizing a properly store and preserve the originals. There is a good chance they will outlast the digital copies.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I'm also trying to restore my old family pictures, but I have not found anything older than 60 years.

The haiku is perfect for the perfect picture.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Very nice. I think we all have a collection, either in a box, a photo album, a drawer or hanging on the walls of our homes. I'm wondering about posting them on Hubpages and how long will HP last? Do you think another hundred years and beyond? Blessings, Debby


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Irob,

It's nice to meet you. The photographs were just piled in a box when I received them. After I scan them, I'm going to put them individually in archival-quality folders.

It amazes me that some of the photographs are so old and in such good condition, considering their lack of proper storage.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Debby,

It's very nice to meet you. I would scan as many of the photographs as you can, then store the originals in archival-quality containers. There is some material that is manufactured to last at least 100 years.

If you have some unusual or particularly interesting photographs, why don't you write a Hub that involves them?


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vinaya,

The photograph is what drove the Haiku to be written. My unknown relative deserved to be remembered.

You're a poet, photographer, and cultural essayist. You make your country of Nepal proud. I would love for you write an article that revolves around some of the photographs you are restoring.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Great ideas Daisy. I'll see about the time available to handle all the photos. LOL


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Debby,

I know what you mean about the time. What I might do with all the photographs I have to scan is set myself a goal of scanning 5 to 10 photographs per day. I'll eventually get through them all if I do that.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Daisy, your Haiku is so very apt. I am quite sentimental about the old photographs and some old knick knacks which keep me in touch with my parents & relatives. I treasure these old memories in time. Thanks for reminding me to preserve my old albums for posterity. I have not been able to do so as yet for lack of time. The marriage albums of my parents and some photographs having some pics taken as long as 80 years ago, are just waiting to be saved. The albums leaves have almost fallen apart.

Thanks for the reminder.

Voted up and awesome.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rajan,

The loss would be immeasurable if old photographs were not preserved.

I know what you mean about the lack of time. Sometimes I think I need a 48-hour day in order to accomplish all that I want to do. If I were to scan just a few photographs each day, I would eventually get through the task, but even that is difficult to do on some days.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 4 years ago from United States

While clicking photo we think we are making fun but after some time these pictures turns into memories.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

vibesites,

Thanks for reading my Haiku and commenting. I appreciate it.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hello Daisy, what a fabulous photo, I love old photos and it's a good idea to scan and restore them, they are so precious.

Lovely haiku too!

Voting up, best wishes Lesley


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Lesley,

Thanks so much for commenting. I'm think of writing an article describing how to colorize old photographs using Adboe Photoshop.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

How exciting for you to get family photographs! I was able to see my uncle and aunt's photographs this year, and it was exciting to see my great-grandparents for the first time. I understand the loss though when a photo is unidentified, and the person seems lost to time.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Shasta,

Thanks for commenting. I have a long list of Hubs on my *to write* list. One of them will include some of the oldest of the images I've scanned.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

I love old photos like that but it is sad that no one knows who the woman is! I wish I had more time to take care of old photos, and scanning them is a great idea!

Lovely Haiku! "Her life lost to time" says it all, the sadness, the mystery and life itself! voted up, and more

Tina


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Tina,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my Haiku. I wish I had more time to take care of the old photographs. I keep saying I'll try to scan 5 to 10 photos per day, but I have yet to start doing so.


CreateSquidoo profile image

CreateSquidoo 4 years ago

It's nice to see a photo that is taken years ago.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

CreateSquidoo,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for commenting.

It was my appreciation of old photographs, particularly the one of my unknown relative, that caused me to write my Haiku.


SanneL profile image

SanneL 4 years ago from Sweden

Beautiful haiku. I have myself old photographs that to me are nameless, and I have no way to find out. So very sad.

Voted up and awesome!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sannel,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading my Haiku. I hope that other people who read my Haiku who have old photograph will attempt to identify the people in the photos before it's too late.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Daisy,

Pictures trigger so many memories.

Voted up and beautiful.

Take Care


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sue,

Thanks for reading my Haiku. I have some of my old family photographs displayed in the area I have set up with my computer and scanner. I like having the pictures in view.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

I thought I would come back for another peek! It is really a captivating photo and a great piece!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Thanks for visiting again, Audrey.

I was going through some of the boxes of photos a little while ago. I came across two of me as a child. I'm going to scan them and post them on my Facebook wall.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Daisy, that picture is gorgeous. I love old family photographs. The Haiku was great as well. Voted up!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Justin,

Thanks so much for reading my Haiku. I kept staring at the image while I was scanning a batch of old photographs, and the words just popped into my head. I wasn't even thinking about writing Haiku at the time.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Daisy, that's the best and most exciting type of writing. Bravo!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Justin,

Thanks for stopping by again. With my Haiku, that's the way they're usually written...the words just pop into my head in groups of 17 syllables.


onlooker 4 years ago

It is sad indeed, keeps one wondering. She looks like in her mid teens. Loved the spontaneity about this Haiku ending with...so sad. Thank you, Daisy ")


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ava,

Thanks for reading my Haiku. I still have hundreds of old family photographs to scan. Perhaps some more Haiku or even a Hub will be the result of my preserving the images.


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Daisy, that is a very good idea, to compile all family photographs and work out the tree. We are also a family that had to migrate due to the partition of India, during the Independence. Your Haiku is such a wonderful tribute to a former member, as you say, lost to time. Voted up.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

sen.sush23,

Thanks for reading my Haiku. It was while I scanning old family photographs to preserve them, that the words of the Haiku came to me.

The woman in the photograph is a relative, but no one today knows who she is. From looking at the image, I'm not even sure that I can tell whether she's from my mother's or my father's side of the family.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I hope that someone recognizes this photo and gets back with you on the identity. I try to write information on the back of photos as I get them so that after time passes, I can remember the details. Great poem, very touching.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna,

Thanks for commenting in another of my Hubs. I'm glad you enjoyed my Haiku. The words came to me as I was looking through a box of old family photographs.

If I can ever find the time to update my family tree Web site, I'll include a photo section that has the images of the relatives I'm unble to identify.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

I love the concept of family archives being revisited and finding pictures of someone no one knows ... there is a sad poignancy and sense of mystery to this theme- like the beginning of a mystery novel! good one.


Ebower profile image

Ebower 4 years ago from Georgia

My family and I were just discussing this the other day. My grandmother passed away and my dad just found some photographs of her friends from college (among other pictures). We will never know the story of these. We didn't even know the photos existed until recently. It's crazy to think about people that might not be remembered. It's also interesting to think about the future after we are long gone and what people will think about our photographs. I voted this up and awesome!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for reading my Haiku and commenting. I appreciate your continued support.

This was one of those cases I was telling you about in which the Haiku wrote itself. I was staring at the photo, and the 17 syllables flowed into my brain.

Did you happen to count the syllables in the title? ... 17


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Erin,

It's good to hear from you again, Thanks for reading my Haiku and commenting. My plan is to scan all the photographs and distribute DVDs containing them to my relatives.

I have one younger cousin who is going to eventually receive the paper photographs. She has told me that she wants to feel the connection to our relatives by holding the papers that they might have actually touched.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Looking at old photos can certainly be fun!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Christy,

Thanks for reading my Hub and commenting. You're right about it being fun looking at old photographs. I can get lost in it for hours.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Lovely! the photo is so cool, and I love the poem. Can we expect to see more of these from you? Hope so!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vicki,

Thanks so much for reading my Haiku and commenting. I won't be publishing any Haiku until September. I've been writing Haiku and saving them in a file.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Daisy,

This unnamed young lady leaves a legacy by the feelings she stirs in your readers.

Your haiku is powerful and well-penned. The photograph you restored leaves me with a feeling of serenity and the peace of simpler times.

Thank you for sharing this today. Voted UP & Beautiful.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Maria (marcoujor),

Thanks so much for reading my haiku and commenting. I appreciate your very kind words.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Love old family pictures! But it is so frustrating to come across old photos in family albums and have no idea who the people are! Now the only ones who could have identified the people in the photos are gone...


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Stephanie,

It's great to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it.

Unfortunately, with the boxes and boxes of old family photos now in my possession, there a few unidentified photos. With this particular photo, I can't even determine if the young woman is from my mother's or my father's side of the family.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An engaging haiku hub! Your relative looked very pretty! My grandmother have plenty of black and white photographs and it was really interesting seeing many old relatives in their youth. I am fond of seeing photographs. I have loads of my photo-albums (colorful ones only). Reading your nice hub reminded me of the photos my grandmother showed me. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Beautiful & Interesting. Voted up


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ish (ishwaryaa22),

Thanks for reading my article, commenting in it, and sharing it. I appreciate your continued support of my work.


Poetic Fool 4 years ago

Your hub serves as a great reminder to find, store and propagate this information while we still can. When I was in my early twenties I did a lot of genealogical research. Marriage, family and work forced me to lay it aside for decades. Now, many of those relatives I could have contacted are no longer around to talk to. Yes, don't wait or those names and relationships could be lost forever!


Vincent Moore 4 years ago

I see some facial expression on this unknown lady in your face, how interesting. My cousin has been working on our family tree now going on 3 years and is almost finished. He sent me some of his findings and I was astonished at our history between Wales, Ireland, England and finally Canada. I love old pictures and I'm sure your enjoying putting it all together. Great job and interesting hub.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

My father was a genealogist in his spare time. During his research for a book he had published he collected hundreds of old photos. He knew the names and history of all the people in the pictures, but unfortunately he did not write everything down before his death in 1989. I've covered my dinner table with all those pictures - a permanent collage. Great, thought-provoking hub!

I love the pictures in here. So much character in those faces!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Daisy - just lovely! I can see why you want to know more. Both sides of my family kept detailed genealogical records, especially my father - two bound volumes tracing back to when the family came to the Western Hemisphere from Switzerland & settled, some in Canada & across several northern states of the US and into other states later. Mother's family has been traced by a relative back to the American Revolution with some further connections back to the UK. Even so, there are very old family &/or friends pictures stored in boxes & an album in my possession who remain unidentified!

Point is, I've done a little research on Ancestors.com and have thought there might be a way to track down some of those folks by finding records available from what I do know of the family locations and dates. In fact, many locations show up that weren't recorded by the family, places the people lived at other times.

So - - since you have a location and date on one of the pictures, and you know both your parents' family names, perhaps you might start a genealogical search for relatives on your family tree - both sides - and find some names whose places and dates fit what you do know about those pictures. It could, at the least, bring focus to the most likely candidates for being the ones in the photo, which might be more satisfying than knowing almost nothing about them. You might even find some connection with the photo, such as evidence of the photographer or some other. The photo dated 1912 might very well be traced to some photographer's archives. Most of my parents' own photos (they were born in 1890's) have the names & locations of the photographers on them.

Anyway - as we know, research is just that, a search. Nothing guaranteed but doing it turns up new stones, where often there are valid clues, even conclusive evidence at times becoming visible. You seem like a person who would greatly value and enjoy searching for and finding family history, in any case, if you've not done so before. Besides, this is such an interesting situation! We'd all love to know more about it too! Who knows what other inspired writing it may stimulate!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rick (Poetic Fool),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I wish I had had the time years ago to continue my genealogical research. I keep saying that I'm going to pick up the search again, but it never seems to happen. It's particularly disheartening now for me because the last surviving relative of my parents' generation is in critical condition in a hospital in New Jersey with little hope of a meaningful recovery.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Vincent,

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. It's very rewarding to do the genealogical research. I wish I had more time to devote to the pursuit.

It's a lot easier to do the research when one's roots can be traced to western Europe. Obtaining information from Moldova, Romania, and the former Soviet Union is next to impossible.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Martie,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. It's frustrating being stopped in my research. If only someone had written the names of the subjects on the backs of the photographs!

The woman in the photo in the top right corner of my article could be from either side of my family. I think I might scan the photo, attach it to an e-mail message, and send a group e-mail to as many relatives as I can.

I think the couple in the second photograph are members of my mother's father's side of our family. I can see a resemblance in the woman's face.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

hauntingly beautiful M-P


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nellieanna,

Thanks for reading my article and adding your inciteful comment. I've done quite a bit of research on ancestory.com and other genealogical sites. Unfortunately, there's very little information available about people who came to the United States from eastern Europe...in my family's case from Moldova, Romania, and the former Soviet Union. The records just don't exist.

Adding to the problem is the fact that there was a fire on Ellis Island many years ago which destroyed a lot of records. Some of my relatives were unable to obtain US citizenship because of the fire.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Frank,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I appreciate it.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

I have several old photographs also. I have been working on my ancestry line for close to 20 years and have many documents as well. The photographs are a great start in fining out more about your family history. I have loved learning about my ancestors. Your pictures look very well preserved, which is great. Interesting hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Pam (Pamela99),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. A few of the 19th century / early 20th century photographs are starting to dry out. I'm going to scan those, and erase the breaks and cracks using Photoshop. The images will be preserved that way.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I think it is so important to keep and preserve family photographs. I wrote a Hub on the importance of keep these family albums. I also think it is important that people write on the back of the photo, the person's name, etc. This is SO true of baby photos. Even as a Mother, we think we will never forget which child that was, but we do forget!

I also scan old photos to preserve them on the computer. I then save them all to Picasa albums in case the computer crashes. I would not want to lose them.

I voted this UP, and will share.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (mary615),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting about the importance of writing names on the back of photographs. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub. I appreciate your support.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

Wow... i guess it's really strange to look at those pictures... Distant relatives from another era, from another place of this big world.. Fascinating story Daisy and... please try to remember... a photograph = 1000 words :)


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mike,

Thanks for reading my article and haiku and adding your comment.

I wish I had time to scan all the photographs I've accumulated. I think I need 48-hour days in order to tackle what's on my "to-do" list.


miss1magination profile image

miss1magination 4 years ago

Photographs are the windows to our souls. I especially like looking at other people's memories as I love history. I hope you find all the answers your looking for daisy and that one day you can put a name on the back of these precious photos.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rebecca (miss1magination),

It's nice to meet you. Welcome to HubPages!

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I appreciate it.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Long lost and missing memories, all captured by a photograph. Beautifully expressed. Voted up.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting. I appreciate your support of my writing.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 years ago from Central Florida

Very interesting article, Daisy. It's a shame these folks can't be indentified. The woman in the fist photo is quite beautiful!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Shauna (bravewarrior),

Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. I appreciate it.


wayne barrett profile image

wayne barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

I cherish the old photo's. I have some from as far back as my great, great grand parents. My 90 year old grandmother has some daguerreotypes. They are very interesting to see.

Thank you, Daisy for sharing these precious images.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 3 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

This is a great Hub and I commend you on your efforts to scan and preserve these old photos for future generations.

I have worked with many old photos handed down from great-grandparents and grandparents who have long since passed on. Like yours, many (actually most) don't identify the people in them. Since those that knew them have long since passed away, identifying them cam be difficult.

Among other things you can do is to try to glean information from the photo such as signs and other landmarks in the background as well as names or addresses on the back of the professional photographer who took the photo. This information will at least help limit the people in the photos to a certain geographic area to narrow the search.

Old letters, diaries and other material from past family members may also help to identify some of them.

If nothing else, attempting to identify these people is a great mystery exercise which can give you a feeling of thrill and satisfaction each time you identify someone. Also, these can be like a puzzle and when you do identify a person in one picture, a close examination of other photos will probably show them appearing in other photos which, in addition to having solved part of the mystery in the other photos will be a clue to help identify the other people in the other photos.

Good luck.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Wayne,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.

The photo which was taken in Chișinău, Moldavia (now Moldova) in the 19th century is probably one of the oldest ones I have, if not the very oldest. I knew my great-grandmother, the woman who I think was the daughter of the people in the photo. She was quite elderly, and I was just a few years old, when she passed away.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Chuck,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your very helpful comment. I appreciate your taking the time to make your valuable suggestions.

I'm guessing that the photograph of the people I think were my great-great-grandparents was taken before some of my relatives left Moldavia for the last time, and was given to the travelers as a going away present.


expertscolumn profile image

expertscolumn 3 years ago from New York

so mystery-filled and exciting. That is so cool.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Stanley (expertscolumn),

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment.


Sannel 3 years ago

I thought I would come back and reread this lovely hub, and your excellent haiku. Beautiful work, Daisy - As always!


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Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sannel,

Thanks for visitng again. I appreciate your kind words, and your tweeting my article.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Great to read this hub again--you are so lucky to have these photographs!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Great hub, came back to read again. Great to have old family photographs.


Jane Arden 2 years ago

This is an awesome hub. I have photos of unknown relatives too. How I wished I'd asked my mother and grandmother more. You always think that there's 'time' and what was boring old stories when you were a kid are treasured dreams of days gone by from ones that we come from. Voted UP and shared. Brilliant.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Well worth reading again and again and taking a wonderful journey back in time. Passing this on.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Audrey,

Thanks for reading my article a second time. I appreciate your support of my writing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for returning to read my article a second time. I keep saying I am doing to do something with my family photographs. I started scanning them, but there are so many photos I'll have to do it in several sessions.


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Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Jane,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and adding your comment. You're correct...you always think there is time to identify the people in old family photographs. There comes a time, unfortunately, when all your relatives who could provide input are gone.


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Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rasma (Gypsy Rose Lee),

Thanks for returning to read my article a second time. I appreciate it.


PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago

Hi Daisy,

You have beautiful women in your family. I am sure you thought of Ancestry.com and writing to the newspapers in this communities. You never know what will happen.

Thanks for sharing this one.

Bobbi Purvis


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Bobbi,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate your very kind words.

Thank, too, for mentioning ancestry.com. I have used the site many times, but some of the people reading your comment and my reply might not be aware of the wealth of information available via the site.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I have a box of old photos that have been scanned and saved to a couple of flash drives. That way, if one of the flash drives crashes, I still have other copies. I also sent a copy to my sister and cousin. I will be able to get another copy, even if I lose everything in a fire or flood. One of my ancestors was brilliant and wrote all the names, dates and where the photo was taken, on the back of each one. I bless that ancestor, and that I have them all identified. I also have a good tree going at Ancestry.com. I love working with the old photos and the genealogy. Fascinating stories that I have come up with for many of them. I have also found a few relatives that I knew I had, but had lost touch with; through Ancestry.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Becky.

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

How fortunate you are that your ancestor wrote names and dates on the back of the photos! I wish something like that had happened in my family.

I was able to find some information on ancestry.com for my family, but not very much. The records for Eastern Europe do not contain a lot of details.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

My family has been in this country for a loong time. Some came over on the Mayflower. Of course, my great-grandfather came from England, in the late 1800's. I thingk he is the newest though.


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Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Becky,

Thanks for stopping by again and adding the information about your family history. I appreciate it.


sharonchristy profile image

sharonchristy 2 years ago from India

Hello Mariposa,

Your hub was very interesting. I know how much valuable old documents and photographs can be, they are a way of understanding the past, and as you say, preserving the memory of a person. I just learned very recently that my grandmother had destroyed some precious documents, the love letters that she had written to and received from my grandfather. I had always been meaning to read them ever since I knew they existed. My mother and her siblings had read them, and I love my grandparents and I would have simply loved to read the letters. I did not want to embarrass them earlier and ask for the letters, I always told myself I'd wait until I was older. It was acutely disappointing to learn she'd destroyed them, well, I can't exactly blame her, she values her privacy more than I would but still, I could have told the story and showed the letters to my children and their children when they grew up but now, I'll only have the story. Anyway, the article was beautiful. These documents are our bridge to the past and you've done a lovely thing in collecting so much information and putting in so much effort in trying your best to preserve. I heartily thank you for sharing the article and have a wonderful day.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Sharon,

Thanks for reading my article and including your family anecdote in your comment. It's unfortunate your grandmother destroyed the love letters. It sounds as though they might have been the basis for an interesting article.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Luckily I have yet to come across a photo of a family member that some one in the family couldn't identify. Whether that family member is accurate with the identity or just winging it, no one will ever know for sure :)


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Going through old albums is so enriching and makes one nostalgic. Although I may have not met some of the people in the old photographs, my parents have told me who they were.

Old memories are priceless. I have scanned all photographs from our old albums and copied them into CDs, to give them more durability.

Enjoyed going through your hub! Voted up!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Linda (Sunshine625),

Thanks for reading my article, looking at my old family photographs, and commenting. You're very fortunate that the people in your family photos have been identified.

Even with the photograph I have identified, no one in the family has a clue regarding why such a photo would have been taken. I sent copies of the photo to members of my father's side of the family, and no one can recall ever having seen the photo until I sent the picture to them.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Chitrangada,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment.

Scanning my family photos and putting the images on CDs has been something I've been intending to do for "years." I just can't seem to find the time to do it.


Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

I love old sepia toned pictures like the ones you have shown here. My grandmother was a virtual font of information about relatives, but as she is gone now, some of them I do not know.


Ann Hinds profile image

Ann Hinds 2 years ago from So Cal

Show me an old photo and I will stop what I'm doing to read about it. I have tons of old photo who are still unidentified. Family history is my passion and when I'm done with all this Squidoo to Hubs editing, I am going back to it. My cousin found a treasure trove of photos that I am posting on my blog. I am hoping that if I put them out there, someday someone will come along and say, "Hey, I know that person." It's the hunt and the detective work that I find fascinating. Your photos are interesting and I have to wonder, like you, what's the story behind them.


Fiorenza profile image

Fiorenza 2 years ago from UK

I have the same problem, a lot of old photos that no one now can identify. Just a suggestion - could that first photo of the young woman with the book be a photo commemorating confirmation? Some Christian denominations do this in early adolescence, and she is obviously young enough to still be wearing a shorter dress. Just thought that the white dress and the book - Bible? prayer book? - had that connotation.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Paula,

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I wish I had the time to do more research. It would be nice to know who the people are.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ann,

Welcome to HubPages. It's nice to meet you. Perhaps I'll create a sheet containing my mystery photos and send it via e-mail to my relatives. Someone might possibly have the same photo with a name scrawled across the back.


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Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Fiorenza,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for reading my article and posting your comments. The book might be a clue. I'll have to investigate that aspect of the mystery a bit further.

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