If you research your family history long enough, you’ll come to understand the thrill of finding a long-lost photograph of an ancestor. It’s so great to attach a face to the name you’ve spent so much time with. Many times we find these photos in the attics of family members, even relatives as removed as third or fourth cousins. Most genealogists are happy to share. I, for example, have scanned and uploaded photographs of ancestors from collections belonging to my aunt, mother, grandparents, and a few distant cousins. (Usually these are saved off my website and used without my permission but I’ve come to expect that.)
Rarely do I receive photographs from complete strangers–who are unrelated to my family line–but that’s what happened recently! A very nice person had discovered a photo labeled “Rev. Farquhar” in some other genealogy records that she was exploring and contacted me to see if it was my ancestor. I took a look and agreed that, yes, this was indeed my John Fraser Farquhar. She kindly mailed me the picture. Here it is:
This was a wonderful addition to my genealogy as I did not have a photo of this man. Thanks, friendly researcher Ramona!
How can I be sure this is my guy? I looked into the photographer’s dates and location of operation, which fit my time frame, and I compared the photo to two portraits I have pictures of, as seen below.
Another researcher contacted me last year with an apparent photograph of this same John Farquhar. I was skeptical. It looked nothing like the two portraits. I checked the life and work dates of the professional photographer. They didn’t match up. I had to tell the disappointed owner of the photograph that this was a different John Farquhar, not the Reverend John Fraser Farquhar of my line.
But this is why it’s important to scan and share those old photos. You never know who you might have (or not have) in that old family album.