Family photographs! The ultimate prize in a genealogist's cache. Like most, I have ancestor's who lived within the early days of photography and don't have even a grainy image proving their existence. How I wished I had a cabinet card, however worn and faded, of those long ago relatives.
I've found a website that may just help all of us in our Holy Grail search of old family photographs. Dead Fred is a fabulous site dedicated to reuniting ancestor and their descendants. Run on a volunteer basis, Dead Fred, named after Germany's King Fredrick III, lists more than 109,244 photos from around the world. These photos, all pre-1960, are donated to the site or uploaded by those in possession of them today. All pics are uploaded by folks who would like to see these photos eventually reunited with their proper families. Beside's Dead Fred's 109,244 records they boast 17,980 surnames and 2,226 reunions, quite a feat since the site's inception in 2001.
Not only is the viewer able to search photographs via surname, there is also a Mystery section for photos without any identification and an Annuals category listing numerous high school and university year books with photos.
If you are fortunate enough to find a family heirloom among their files check the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) as how to claim the photo. Fees are very reasonable, considering the acquisition of a long lost family member.
Even if you don't find a familiar face among the vast collection of photographs be sure to sign up for the free monthly newsletter "Relatively Speaking".
The site also offers a Be A Friend of Fred membership. For $19.95 a year members receive perks as listed on the homepage, although membership is not required to use the site. Since Dead Fred is strictly volunteer they also accept donations to keep the site running.
So make some time to browse the photographs at Dead Fred. You'll enjoy the various photos, the added hints and tips and quite possibly strike genealogy gold!
© Cindy Freed (Genealogy Circle) 2012