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The Big Picture
8/8/2012
Every picture tells a tale—sometimes you just have to tease it out. Here’s how my 10 best photo-identification tips helped solve your photo mysteries.
A decade is a long time, especially if you measure it in photographs. For 10 years, countless curious family historians have submitted their mystery images for identification in my Photo Detective column and its online counterpart.
 
Incredibly, pictures continue to pour into my inbox. It seems there’s at least one picture mystery in every family.
 
Of course, by helping all those Family Tree Magazine readers learn about their roots, I’ve come up with some tried-and-true strategies. These cases are some of my favorites because they epitomize my top 10 photo research tips—clues that can help you identify the people, places and events in your mystery photos.
 
1. Ask family first.
Jackie Hufschmid sent me the very first image featured in an online Photo Detective column. It showed a couple photographed in Eau Claire, Wis. Hufschmid didn’t know their names and couldn’t imagine what her family was doing in Wisconsin. Shortly after it appeared on the then-brand-new Family Tree Magazine website, several people wrote in saying they either owned the same picture or thought the people looked familiar.
 
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