Saturday, July 28, 2012

Collection Highlight : "Pictures Speak a Thousand Words"

Mr. & Mrs. Tim Rose of Wayland
Pictures bring everything to life.  Photos are what our families enjoy even when we can't get them interested in the rest of the "genealogy stuff."  Images play a large role in the portrayal of our family history, thus we seek them, covet them, protect them.

There are a number of ways to smoke out those prize photographs...Here comes the standard lecture about using checklists in your research.  Create for yourself a checklist of places, online & off, to search for images.  One good launching point for an online search would be the Photographs & Memories section of Cyndi's List, genealogy's online yellow pages.

Don't get locked into looking just for ancestors.  Fluff out your family story with imagery of their home, church, town scenes, business, local park, or anywhere that they may have spent time.  You can do this through the use of things like post cards, history books, online resources, and special collections.  My favorite online place for photo searches in Google Images where I've had tremendous success in locating photographs of individuals, tombstones, buildings & maps. 

Some of the resources that I frequent in the search for images or art work for my family history scrapbooks are Ebay, encyclopedias (especially Britannica), pictorial histories, historical & genealogical societies, archives, and definitely the public library.

Ivor-Dale Farm Resort
The Local History Collection has a large photograph collection with connections to Southwest Michigan [Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph & Van Buren Counties] peoples, places and events.  To date, the index identifies over 10,000 subjects ranging from class composites, post cards, street scenes, and individuals to businesses, parades, and disasters.  

Aerial view, Hamilton
The Photograph Index is available to view online through the VBRGS website along with information regarding the collection's arrangement, copy request information, and duplication policies. 

Photographs may be viewed in person by consulting the online index, making a list of those items of interest, and visiting the Local History Collection.  It is recommended that you contact us in advance of your visit to insure access.

As large as the Photograph Collection is, the library and VBRGS are always seeking the addition of other images.  These can be in the form of quality digital images, duplications, or originals.  If you are considering the donation of photographs with relevance to Southwest Michigan for the Local History Collection,  contact us for more information.   

Nameless Picture of the Day
 unidentified couple
donated by Mrs. Max (Blanche) Howe, Decatur

 Can you identify the couple in this tintype photograph?  Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog.