Posted tagged ‘photographs’

Arcadia Publishing’s Newest Book – “Pittsford”

May 31, 2013
Pittsford cover high resolution

Pittsford by Audrey Maxfield Johnson and Vicki Masters Profitt

I’m pleased to announce the publication of Pittsford, the newest title in Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series.  Pittsford Town and Village Historian Audrey Maxfield Johnson and I have worked on this pictorial history of Pittsford, New York, for the last eighteen months and are thrilled with the results. 

Pittsford chronicles the lives of the earliest settlers of the town, who arrived in the late 1780s, to their descendants who reside in Pittsford to this day.  Other families have shorter roots in Pittsford soil, but have made significant contributions to its history through commerce, agriculture and education.

This book is truly a community effort, and we wish to express our appreciation to the people who shared their family photographs and stories with us.  We are grateful for the opportunity to illuminate Pittsford’s history in such a personal way.


Friday, June 21, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. – Barnes & Noble Pittsford Book Signing, 3349 Monroe Avenue.  Open to the public

Sunday, July 14, 2013, time tbd – Historic Pittsford Annual Meeting and Picnic with Book Signing.  Open to members of Historic Pittsford


Pittsford is available through

Barnes & Noble

Historic Pittsford’s Little House ( – signed copies available

Piercing Eyes, Silent Voices

November 30, 2011

“When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes.  But when you photograph people in B&W, you photograph their souls!”  Canadian photographer Ted Grant seems to be on to something with that quote.  I take many photographs that tell a story to help me remember the moment.  However, they seem to just capture the main object in the frame.  When I look at black and white photos, I feel as if I can truly see the souls of the people looking back at me.  Their eyes tell a story though their voices have been silenced.

I love digging through old photographs and ephemera at antique shops or searching online for missing genealogical links.  My goal is to find a treasure; however, my idea of a treasure has nothing to do with jewels or money.  My idea of treasure consists of locating items of local historical significance.  My treasure might be photographs of people who lived in my community generations ago.  My treasure could be a program from a 1921 estate sale which took place on the land I live on today.  My definition of treasure is knowledge.

Mustache Man

Last month, after perusing old photographs on eBay looking for interesting images, I came across a cabinet card of an unidentified man.  His eBay title was “Mustache Man”, and that is what I called him.  Mustache Man’s photo was taken in 1891 by photographer A. E. Dumble of Rochester, New York.  Despite looking at hundreds of images, I kept returning to Mustache Man.  He spoke to me.  Thankfully, Mustache Man didn’t speak to anyone else, because I won the auction and Mustache Man returned home to Rochester.  The image shows a young man, early-to-mid 30s, with dark blonde or light brown hair, a handlebar mustache, cleft chin and clear blue eyes.

After posting Mustache Man’s photo on Illuminated History Facebook, I asked for assistance in naming him.  Our Facebook friends suggested some interesting names, including Kind Hearted Ken, Handlebar Harry and Antonio.  The name that fit our Mustache Man was Samuel Everheart.  Samuel seemed to agree, because I could swear his eyes twinkled when I called him by name.

I wish I knew Samuel Everheart’s true identity.  Did he marry and have children?  Did he live a long life?  Who is this mystery man?  If Samuel’s mother/sister/wife had only placed his name on the back of the photo, we would have answers to these questions.  It is SO important to label your family photographs!  If all you have time to do is write the name on the back, that is better than nothing.  I like to include the photo date and place the photo was taken as well.  Think of how much more we could learn about Samuel if only someone had recorded these important bits of information.

The moral of the story is this:  Don’t allow your family members to become silent voices languishing in the bargain bin at the local antiques shoppe.  Label your photos and preserve your family history for generations to come.

Locating Family Photographs

September 28, 2011
Unknown Man from Civil War-era album, V. M. Profitt Collection

Through the years, I’ve had many people ask how they can locate photographs of their Civil War ancestors.  It can be a daunting task, but I went to someone I knew would have the answer to that question.  Ron Erwin has been collecting Civil War memorabilia for many years.  After putting some thought into it, Ron came up with the following checklist for locating family photographs:

First, you would need to know his name and regiment.  Without both, it is almost impossible as there may be more than one Civil War soldier with the same name.  Check state records for possible alternate spellings.

 1. Check with relatives, even distant cousins.

 2. Check on line. Google soldier’s name and regiment.  Try different spellings.  Post request on Civil War bulletin boards.

 3. Visit the local libraries. Ask for his regimental history, any scrapbooks that might have information, newspaper indexes for obits or any photos that might have been donated to local history department.   Look for County Histories and biographies of local people.

 4. Ask at local historical societies.  Most towns have a Town Historian.  Ask for him/her at the Town Hall of any towns of cities soldier lived in.

 5. Put an ad in the local newspapers asking for information on soldier and photo.

 6. Newspapers often have a reporter or columnist who specializes in historical articles and might be able to help.

 7. Ask at local history museums.

 8. The American Civil War Research Database ( has some photos.  It is a membership fee ($25.00) site but
has a free demo; perhaps a local historian has a membership.  U.S. Army Heritage Collections Online has a large collection of photographs at .

 9. Civil War Round Tables often have members who know collectors who have photographs of Civil War soldiers.

 10. Civil War re-enactors are sometimes collectors who have images of Civil War soldiers.   Check local regiments.  Ask at Civil War Re-enactments.

 11. Attend a Gun Show and ask dealers who specialize in Civil War items.

 12. As a last resort one could try calling people in the phone book with the soldiers last name and hope to find a relative with a photo.

Special thanks to Ron Erwin for this excellent checklist. 

Does anyone else have ideas on ways to locate family photographs?  If so, let’s hear them!



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