4,105 Free Online Historical Photo Archives from the U.S.

An old proverb states that “the eyes are the windows into the soul.” A genealogy corollary is that “a photo is a window into the lives of your ancestors.”

Old photos are important to a complete research, whether they are portraits of your ancestors or historical photos for the period when they lived. And it is important that one attempts to understand the environment that surrounds our ancestors’ lives if one wants to truly appreciate what they went through. 

​So where can they be found? Obviously the best resource is our own photo albums and those that our relatives possess. But what about other resources? Many archives, historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies have collections of old photos. And in the past few years there has been a massive movement towards making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, name of a building or historical event and find what is available.

Here is the list of links to these free online collections for each state:

​For articles about historic photos and photo research, please visit the Photos page.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

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