Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Who Were They? looks at vintage photos to try to catch a glimpse of those who came before us, primarily focusing on the 19th century but delving into the 20th century at times. When names are found, Who Were They? will research the family to try to learn more about the person in the photograph, and if possible identify living relatives. Sometimes the threads of genealogical research can be followed while other times they can’t. Researchers are welcome to take a name and run with it, but please post your results. Sometimes the finding of a descendant is more exciting than finding the original photograph!

If photos are returned to a descendant, resulting in a Family Reunion, I accept no payment. This is my gift to descendants and fulfills my sense of obligation to families everywhere.

Photos are considered the property of Who Were They? unless otherwise specified as being on loan or shared by other fans of old photos. Photos are not for sale. Images copyright to Who Were They? 2010. If you are interested in a particular image please contact us directly.

44 thoughts on “About

  1. pdxsnapshot says:

    I love your site. I’m adding it to my blogroll. I too find old photographs fascinating.

    I have a site that specializes in images of people standing in front of their cars, a rather common phenomenon that seems to span cultures and ages.

    I hope you’ll visit and consider adding me to your blogroll.

    Like

    1. mrsmarvel says:

      I have a picture of myself in an evening gown in front of my mothers porche back in 1987. Yes there is something about posing with a car. :-)

      Like

  2. Hi, nice to meet you !

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  3. Bob Scotney says:

    I could spend a long time studying old photos.

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    1. mrsmarvel says:

      There is so much to learn, isn’t there? Even if what we learn is that people haven’t really changed all that much.

      Like

  4. Added you to my blogroll too! :) Nice to see others sharing these old photos

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    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thank you! I love your site as well. We need to stick together and preserve all this great photographic history!

      Like

  5. Doug says:

    Interesting site you have here. I love old research and old photos. Thanks for stopping by my crazy blog and leaving a nice comment!:)

    Like

  6. Jess Becker says:

    I’m LOVING looking at all your photos!! Sometimes the only glimpse into their history that a family gets is the photos left behind! I do have a question for you… I have family pictures that were taken by CC Frane out of Vermont, IL but I also have some taken by Frane out of Lorimer & Gravity, IA. Do you have any idea if they are one in the same as I know that Frane opened several studios in that region? Thanks for any help!

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I haven’t seen any photographs by Frane from Lorimer & Gravity, IA, but I can tell you that photographers were often itinerant. Since Mr. Frane was once partnered with Mr. Bronson, it stands to reason he might have set out on his own to open a studio further west. I looked on LangdonRoad.com which is a great resource for photographer information and they did not even have Mr. Frane listed at all that I could find. I’m sorry I’m not much help for you, but keep searching. You can look on the census records as well to try to find a person by their occupation.

      Like

  7. Amy says:

    Wonderful site! I love the old pictures. I recently came across some old family pictures that sadly did not have names on them. I am trying to figure out who they are. What brought me to your site was googling the name Dewey. Maybe I will send you copies of my old family pictures and someone out there might know who they are.

    Like

  8. Janice Silver says:

    I have several old photos of relatives I cannot identify .. it is sad not to know who they are. I was just skimming over some of the ones I have scanned in to my computer and noticed on one of them the bottom of the “cardboard” says F. H. Lesperance – they are all from Ogdensburg NY… I have several from Jas. Dow also. I will attach 2 very interesting ones…. an old picnic and an old boxing. I do not even know the time frame of these pictures. guess I can’t attach pictures, I will see what facebook has for your site.

    Like

  9. Ray Jackson says:

    I acquired about ten vintage photos off of ebay. The phots came from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago, Ill.; and Arcadia, New York. I would like to get them out on the web and came across this website. Is anyone interested in seeing them and how do I go about posting them? Ray J.

    Like

  10. Khalida al-Katib says:

    I absolutely love your site! I’m currently writing a short story for a college class assignment set in the Victorian Era and was browsing your photographs for character inspiration. There are two particularly on here that caught my eye and I was wondering if I might use them in the story outline powerpoint presentation I must put together for my class? I will credit them directly back to you :). Many thanks in advance!

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Which two are you interested in?

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      1. Khalida al-Katib says:

        Mr. Slick and International Lovely

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    2. Mrs Marvel says:

      Yes, you can use them. I’d love to read your story once it’s finished. :-)

      Like

  11. Khalida al-Katib says:

    Thank you! They went over very well in the powerpoint presentation for the story!
    http://walkwiddershins.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/oberon/

    Like

  12. Hi Mrs Marvel,

    Great site! I share your passion for old photos and genealogy and have added you to my blogroll. I post old family photos on my blog as well, hoping that descendants will find the photos. I hope you will consider adding me to your blogroll, too.

    Like

  13. Great blog :) I’m a photographer in the midwest and also collect vintage prints. You might be interested in my ‘vintage’ series on my blog: http://brianpowell.info/?p=6735

    I found you when researching this print by D P Thomson!

    Like

  14. Andy says:

    Hello – trying to find an email address to contact you regarding one of your images – but can’t find a means of direct contact on the site. Could you let me know one I could use?

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I contacted you at the email address you provided with your comment.

      Like

  15. Charles says:

    You don’t know what brought about that change, of boys in the 20th century no longer being started out in dresses. Gee, shouldn’t it be obvious, with some thought? It took many long centuries of horseback riding to put men out of skirts and into pants (THAT was the cause and NOTHING else); so, as time progressed, so did the trouser habit come to encompass even very young males. It happened again, with the 17 million USA women in factory work in the second World War—it took 1 and a half generations after that for trouser bans against females to be rescinded almost everywhere—because women in pants became a majority, and majorities cannot be persecuted. The trouser/skirt division of the sexes has no basis in reality. Definitely a skirt is not female in the same sense as a bra is female. The skirt is ASSOCIATION, the bra is ANATOMY. Men in many parts of the world in 2012 wear skirts as men with no female impersonation overtones.

    Like

  16. Sharon Curl Remmey says:

    My mother inherited a box of photos on her Sargent/Burnham line in the 1960s. Some are from Hardy and Van Arnam. Unfortunately there are no names on any of the photos.

    Like

  17. Just found your blog. I do a weekly feature on my blog about cabinet cards. I show a cabinet card and attempt to date it. One of my cards is currently traveling back to it’s family and rightful owners. http://wandabvictorian.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/another-cabinet-card/
    It is a good thing.

    Like

  18. Mark M says:

    Mrs. Marvel, I sent you a message using the “contact” feature at the top of the page, but never received a reply. I was wondering if you would be willing to take a look at some of my old family photos I have been trying to get dates placed on?

    Like

  19. grishmanphotography says:

    Beautiful blog, big like :-)

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Oh my, your photos are lovely! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  20. Trudy says:

    Hello, I also love old photographs. My way of helping others is to restore old photos. I have a site of flickr.com where I post some of what I do. I would like to have your permission to restore some of your photos, I could post them with a link back to site if you wish.

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Hi Trudy – contact me through the “contact” feature and we can discuss further off line. Sounds interesting!!

      Like

  21. I love it. I found your site through searching Isaac Lachman who is the Pottstown, PA photographer of your Mr. Slick photo. I love to search ebay for example Pottstown since I lived there a long time, it’s amazing what comes up. Just the other day i found a WWI soldier’s post card sent to him mom in Ptown on Chestnut street. hen you can look them up and find their addresses, lives, where they worked in town etc. Wonderful.

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Glad you found the site and yes it is always interesting to get a peek into the past, isn’t it? I hope you will come back again!

      Like

  22. thank you. happy new year…

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  23. I tried to add a photograph today and it appears it ended up being added to my own WordPress blog. Maybe I did something wrong. I am not that well vresed in using WordPress as I am Blogger. Thank you. I am enjoying your blog immensely!!

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Hi Linda, the comment form doesn’t provide a means for a reader to upload an image at this time. Thank you for your comment, I am happy you are enjoying the site!

      Like

  24. Al Williams says:

    I’ve been posting some old family album photographs and came across your site so not only gave a link for others to access you but titled my last post, “Who Were They?” in your honor, of course! I can only hope that others find this portal to the past as interesting as I do.

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thank you so much for the link! I have been looking at and enjoying your site as well. :-)

      Like

  25. Jack Borg says:

    There are 3 photos taken by Jacob Maul Studio late 1880’s apparently. Probably of our family, last name Reufer or Kappas. How to proceed?

    Like

  26. Jack Borg says:

    There are 3 photos taken by Jacob Maul’s Studio probably in the 1880’s and maybe of our family members Last name maybe Kappas, Reuffer. How to proceed?

    Like

  27. Stephane Francia says:

    I have an old photo in a beautiful engraved wood frame of a woman and a baby. Her clothing is unique and strangely enough she doesn’t appear to really be holding the baby as most mothers would when a baby is sitting upright. She is wearing what appears to be a silk scarf around her head and has slightly dark skin. Her top looks like satin with a collar trimmed in cotton lace no doubt handmade. Her fingernails look very short but like she worked in dirt. The baby is wearing a white cotton long dress with a cotton lace trim at the bottom and a long toboggan hat with a ball on top. The chair is loveseat style but fancy wood. 1800s. Furniture style.

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Sounds lovely, what a treasure for you!

      Like

  28. Hey here is a link for you to the Obituary for James Mack who died recently. I know he is a cousin of yours. Connie
    http://www.jonespearson.com/sitemaker/sites/JONESP1/obit.cgi?user=22992720_JMack

    Like

    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thank you Connie

      Like

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