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 for 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 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.
For the state of Alaska what collections are available for you to browse and/or search online? Here is a list of sites to start with. Please feel free to add in the comments other online resources that you might be aware of in the state.
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 be constantly 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)
Alaska Historical Photo Archives
- Alaska Ancient Faces
- Alaska and Klondike Gold Rush Photos
- Alaska and the Klondike, 1897-1901
- Alaska Dead Fred
- Alaska Digital Archives
- Alaska Penny Postcards
- Alaska Photographs, Picryl
- Alaska State Library-Historical Collections
- Alaska, DP.LA Photos
- Alaska, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives
- Alaska, Huntington Library Photos
- Alaska, Western Canada and United States Photos
- Alaskan Natives Photos
- Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center Photos
- Glacier Photograph Collection
- Historic Anchorage Photos
- Historical Photographs of Kotzebue
- Inupiat Heritage Center – Barrow
- Juneau Douglas Museum Permanent Collection Photographs and Postcards
- Juneau Photo Galleries
- Kenai Peninsula Borough Historical Photos
- Ketchikan Museums – Ketchikan
- Klondike Photographs
- Kodiak Alaska Military History
- Kodiak Historical Society Photographs
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs – Alaska
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
- National Archives – Digital Photograph Collections
- Nome Historic Photos
- Old Juneau Photos
- Photographs of Alaska and the Klondike, 1897-1901
- Photographs of Alaska, 1901-1909
- Photographs of Alaska, 1905-1920
- Ruby Historic Photo Collections
- Sealaska Heritage
- Seward Community Library Association Photographs
- Smithsonian Images
- Tlingit Old Photos
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- Valdez Museum Photos
For historic photos from other states as well as articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!