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Finding Hidden Clues in Old Family Photos

  • 4 Apr 2020
  • 1:30 PM
  • Newberry Library

Craig Pfannkuche, the developer of the CGS’s family photographs database on the CGS website https://chicagogenealogy.org/Chicago-Family-Photo-Database will be our speaker. This database is a listing of over 1,000 “carte de visite” and “cabinet card” photographs of individuals taken (mostly) in Chicago between 1855 and 1915. Only those with the names of individuals written on them have been collected.   

He will show how to date when a family photo was taken by discussing the type of photo taken, the type of cardstock on which the photo is pasted, line types and revenue stamps on the card, the types of clothing seen on those pictured as well, even, hairstyles. Also, the material written on the backs of the photos, most often cartes de visite and cabinet cards, can be especially useful in dating photos. He will also show, through the use of actual albums, how the positioning of the photos in albums can disclose family relationships. A number of actual named Chicago photos will also be passed around for inspection. An additional speaker will share their online photo search success and provide information about finding old family photos on websites like Ebay.

Craig is an independent research professional and President of Memory Trail Research, Inc. He volunteers for the CGS Board as the Ancestor Certificate Committee Chair and is our awesome bus tour guide for our annual genealogical tours. He is also the archivist for the Chicago & North Western Historical Society.




Chicago Genealogical Society is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.  Address: PO Box 1160, Chicago, IL  60690-1160

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