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.”
I love old photos, whether they are portraits of my ancestors or historical photos of the period when they lived. And it is important to a complete research 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 toward making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, the name of a building, or a historical event and find what is available.
Please be aware that there may be very strict rules regarding downloading or other use of the images that you may find. Copyright and other legal protections may be in force. Make sure that you read the limitations of use for any image that you find in these collections and wish to download and/or copy. It is your responsibility to adhere to the rules for all of these collections.
Please note that links to these sites may change in the future. The author (me) will not constantly be checking and updating these links, so if you find a broken link, please use your favorite search engine to locate the new link.
(Updated November 2023)
- Connecticut Online Historical Photos Research
- Maine Online Historical Photos Research
- Massachusetts Online Historical Photos Research
- New Hampshire Online Historical Photos Research
- Rhode Island Online Historical Photos Research
- Vermont Online Historical Photos Research
For historical photos from other states and articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!