Piece it together

Profiling with random artifacts and keepsakes

Making sense of seemingly disconnected artifacts

When the collection is large and the answers are few, that garbage can never looked so appealing. None of these random pieces of documentation may seem connected, but in my case, I’ve been able to piece together a few puzzles simply from being patient, stepping away at times, coming back with fresh eyes, and trying again.

It’s important to remember these items are not trash, and may provide important clues to your past.

kasae_record of Park house_Lalla to Hazel_beginning in 1939With this receipt book from 1938, the deed from the title company, and a few photos, I was able to create a profile–and figure out the history of– my father’s first home.

To read the full story about dad’s first home, and how I created a profile using available documentation for this story, click HERE.

Photo matching and why it matters

I came across photos of a woman who was obviously important. She’s in photos of social events such as picnics, but there are also pictures of her wedding. I was stumped.

I could not identify her, but I came to recognize her face and certain features after pouring over photos and studying albums.

If you are serious about leaving behind a great legacy but one that makes sense, use all the resources at hand. Scan in your unknowns and enlarge them on the computer. Put up side-by-sides to compare with similar people, or get out the magnifying glass. Look at everything!

To read how I was able to use a surprising resource and eventually identify this woman, click here.

Here is another example of an Unsolved Mystery I attempt to solve using photo matching. I’m stumped, but not ready to give up:


One more reason to study and match photos

Look closely at dad’s photo description on the left. He writes that this is the back of the Park Avenue house, and all the photos in the accompanying series refer to this house. Yet, look closely at the roof slope on the back of these two houses. They are different. Now what? Fortunately, I knew there were two homes on Park Avenue, that dad mixed up his photos.

Suppose I’d been unaware of the second house? A very close study of your photos may save hours of confusion.

A bit about the value of letters

They collect dust and take time to read, and it may also pay off

A few months ago I found a letter written by a woman named Dora Langton. The letter was addressed to my grandaunt, Hazel.

I discovered tidbits new to me in Dora’s letter, something to build upon. Do you wonder who created that beautiful drawing below? Me, too.

Most significant was Dora’s reference to a well-known photo in our family. Dora tells Hazel who is in the photo (from the writing on the back of Dora’s copy). This provides a sort-of confirmation as those seated are far from the camera making a positive identity more challenging.

I believe the photo Dora wrote about is the same as our photo below:

BUTTERFIELD_HOME IN 1915_6209 Oakes St TacomaMost of what Dora wrote provided information, not proof, but the letter offers clues I can follow up with to learn more.

To read Dora’s full letter and why studying THIS photo was doubly important, click HERE.

BEFORE YOU TOSS: Take your time, and when in doubt, save and store. You can always toss later.

You may be surprised that, given the artifacts in front of you, there are connections and stories waiting to be discovered.

Happy profiling! ❤

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