Old-Photo Questions, Google-Style AnswersPosted: May 20, 2011
Oh, those wacky Internets. They can do genealogy harm. (See: Online Tree Synthesis, Or How I Traced My Lineage Back To The Goddess Athena In Only Two Weeks. Fictional title. I hope.) But they can also do great good.
Plain old Googling, for example, helped me tease out a context for some World War II photos of my father’s — including the great dog picture I posted a few days ago.
The pictures date from my father’s Coast Guard service. All I know about them is what my mother told me: They were taken in Europe by my father at some point. There is no identifying information on the backs. They’re a bit of a mystery. But a few weeks ago I decided this was an unscientific and downright wimpy attitude. Time to take a systematic look at these old pictures.
Some of the pictures just made me smile.
I knew they were taken at Le Havre – brilliant deduction, this! (Note the tongue-in-cheek mileage markers.)
And I noticed that the pretty tower in the background of the photo with the dog looked the same as the tower in this picture, below.
Also I noticed the big “61” on the ship behind the rubble in the shot below.
Here’s what I found when I went looking for clues about these visual hints.
|Clue:||Source (And What It Told Me)|
|The “61” on the side of the ship.||
|The Le Havre sign.||
|The tower on the partially bombed-out building. There’s a cross on the spire of the square tower.|
My dad died when I was 23, long before I got serious about genealogy and, sadly, before I felt comfortable talking to him about his past. So these bits and pieces of information are oddly comforting. As I write up my notes on this album, it’s nice to be able to say something more than “Dad’s photos, taken someplace during World War Two.”