Featured post

Win a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner!

Flip-Pal Giveaway ENDS the end of February 2016. JOIN NOW!.. It's a great tool for genealogy, scrap-booking, organizing and so much more!

Enter for your chance to win a Flip-Pal® Mobile Scanner! 

January 2016 was Focus on Photos month here at Are You My Cousin? and was so popular we are going to continue to focus on our photographs through mid-February. What better way to finish off the theme than with a contest for a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner ($149.99 value) to get you started scanning your photographs! (Thank you to the folks at Flip-Pal for partnering with me!) Continue reading

Your Ancestors + Medical Genealogy

Your Ancestors + Medical Genealogy

February  is Heart Health month and today, February 5th, is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women. Cardiovascular disease is prevalent in some of my family lines.  I’m stepping aside from our Focus on Photos to talk about what I call “medical genealogy”. Continue reading

How to Create a Family History Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s Day is approaching fast and you need the perfect gift for the genealogist in your life.  Don’t panic!  I can help.

Heritage Purse Hangar

Purse Hangar Using An Early 1920′s Photo

A custom purse hook hangar is a fantastic gift for any woman in the family. The purse hanger is a great way to keep a purse clean and safe. Simply hook on the table and your purse stays off the floor. When not in use, the purse hanger folds up compactly and fits nicely inside a purse.  It is not just for Valentine’s Day either. It’s perfect for birthdays, Mother’s Day….  You can create one with a family history focus by using a photograph of an ancestor like that one above. (That’s my great-grandmother Stella Holyfield White.)  Of course, you can use any photograph of your choice (i.e. grandchildren)  to personalize it for the recipient.

Purse Hangar With Children's Photo

Purse Hangar Using Children’s Photo

Let’s get started.

The Perfect Family History Themed Gift

Purse Hook Hangar Supplies


  • Purse Hook Hangar Blank with Domed Glass (I ordered mine here. You can also find these at local jewel supply stores.)
  • Diamond Glaze
  • Photo of Your Choice
  • A scanner (Ex. Flip-Pal® Mobile Scanner is a great choice!)
  • Laser Printer (or access to one)
  • 1 sheet of photographic paper
  • Exact-o Knife

Step by step:

  1. Scan the original photograph. The Flip-Pal® mobile scanner is perfect for this. (Never use your original photograph in your project!) Print your photograph using a laser printer. Do not use an inkjet printer as the ink tends to run further in the process. Stella Holyfield White
  2. Cut the copy of your photograph to the size of your setting. Tip: Trace around the glass of your setting to get the correct size.
  3. Add a small amount of diamond glaze to the back (i.e. flat side) of the domed glass piece.  Place on the photo and allow to dry. Drying times vary, but should be ready in 2-3 hours. Diamond Glaze on Domed Glass
  4. Trim off the excess diamond glaze with an exact-o knife. Add a small amount of diamond glaze to the purse hook hangar setting. Place the glass covered photograph into your setting. Position the photo and allow to dry. Diamond Glaze
  5. If a little diamond glaze gets on your setting, just use fingernail polish on a cotton ball to clean the purse hangar. Completed Purse Hook Hangar
  6. Enjoy!

Bonus Idea: You can use this same technique for personalized and family history themed rings, bracelets or necklaces! Simply purchase the blank for the type of jewelry you wish to create.

Family History and Genealogy Gift Ideas

I have done a number of these and used wedding photos as in the example above, ancestor photos and even pet pictures!

Need some other family history ideas or ways to  share your family history through photographs?

  • Family Photo Collage – A Flip-Pal® mobile scanner works well for this!
  • Heritage Bracelet or a “Grandmother Bracelet”
  • Key Chains
  • Heritage Necklace

Do you have a great gift idea using your family’s photographs?

Share your ideas (and photos, too) on the facebook page or tweet me at @AreYouMyCousin .


Focus on Photographs Round-up

Focus on Photographs Round-Up

Are you fortunate enough to have photographs of your ancestors?  Even just 1 or 2? If so, you know how much family photographs add to your research experience.

This month we have been focusing on our family heirloom photographs.  We’ve explored how to identify a photograph and the individuals in it.  We’ve looked at case studies of photographs. We’ve explored how to safely store our heirloom photographs. You will find these other photo related posts helpful, too. Continue reading

Tuesday’s Genealogy Tip – A Favorite Photo Resource

Tuesday's Genealogy Tip - Photo Resource

Maureen Taylor’s Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs was the first resource book I used when I began evaluating my family’s old photographs.  It is still one of my favorites and one used often! I think you will find Maureen’s book helpful as well. Continue reading

Best Practices for Storing Heirloom Photographs

Best Practices for Storing Heirloom Photographs

I’m always surprised where family heirloom photographs are found.  I am more surprised at the conditions that many of them survived!  Some photos in my collection survived 50+ years stored in a trunk in a barn. Another photo survived years in an eastern North Carolina attic. Imagine the heat!

Still… no Focus on Photos series on our ancestors’ photographs is complete without discussing how to store and care for them.

What can be done to make sure these photographs last for future generations? Continue reading

Your Ancestors + Funeral Photography

Your Ancestors + Funeral Photography

At one Thanksgiving gathering when I was a teen, my grandmother and aunt pulled out the family photographs. Among those photographs I stumbled across post mortem photos of various ancestors. Eww!  Really?! For years, I thought my relatives were strange for having these photographs. Then I started my genealogy research and learned taking post mortem pictures were not just some weird thing my ancestors did.

It was a common practice at one time.

A Common Practice

Taking post mortem photos was a common practice in the Victorian era.  This type of formal photography was popular among those who could afford it. The popularity of this type of photography peaked in the late 1800′s. By the early 20th century, cameras were more available and affordable to the general public.  Formal funeral photography declined as families were able to take their own.

Ruth Talbott - 1924 Funeral Photography

Example of 1924 Funeral Photograph Taken by Family

Today it is hard to imagine why these photographs were taken. However, back in the Victorian era, death was considered a part of life. Infant mortality and child deaths occurred at a much higher rate than today. These photographs helped in the family’s grieving process and were often the only photograph or visual remembrance of a deceased family member.

This type of photography is also referred to as funeral photography or memento mori. Taking a post mortem photo of a child was particularly common.  This was often the only photograph parents had of a child that died young.  Photos of a deceased child may show the child posed in sleep or posed with other family members to appear alive.

I have had to revise my assumption of my ancestors being weird about their photographs.  They were just adhering to the customs of the day.  Still, the post mortem photographs are disturbing to many (me included), so I keep them separate from the rest of my collection.

What about you? Have you any examples of funeral photography among your ancestors’ photographs?