Using Google Image Search in Your Research

Use Googe Image Search in Your Research

Have you ever used Google Image Search to search images (ie photos, postcards, etc) in your genealogical research?

Like most everyone these days, I search the internet using a search engine like Google.  I search using keywords and phrases. I “google” everything except the images in my family history files.

Think of the potential….

My ancestors photos could be in someone else’s closet.  Those photos could be on someone else’s blog about their ancestors. Perhaps I can identify  an unidentified ancestor on another researcher’s blog. Perhaps they can identify an unidentified photograph on my blog. [I routinely post on my blog unidentified photographs of people in my files  in hopes they will be identified.]

Back to Google Image Search…..

Below are the steps to search for an image on Google.

1. Go to Click the camera icon on the right side of the search box.

Google Image Search Box


2. Click “Upload an Image”.  The choose the image from your computer.

Upload an Image to Google Search


3. Highlight the image you want to search and click “Open”.

I uploaded a photograph of Esther Lee Richardson taken in the late 1910’s.

Google Image Search for Esther Richardson


Search results for where this photograph appears on the web appear.  In this case, the only search results for this photograph are my own website. (Sigh.)

I have a set of “unknown” photographs that I perform a Google Image Search on regularly.  New blogs and posts are being are being posted everyday and the hope is these “unknown” photographs will be identified. The hope is to also find other researchers who are researching the same families.

Have you had interesting results from a Google Image Search?

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6 thoughts on “Using Google Image Search in Your Research”

    1. You will definitely get some amusing results with those google image searches! I have had good luck with searching old postcards that my Great grandmother received. I’ve learned background and history of the cards that is rather interesting.

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  2. I recognize this is an old post, but wanted to comment anyway. I attempted with some old photos I have on file. No results for any of them. I would have thought at least a couple would show even as my own results, but they didn’t. Does Google Images not “scan” places like or Facebook? I know for sure that some of the photos I tested are on those sites.

    1. You’ve brought up a good point. Google images does not bring up results for membership sites like or Facebook. Where I find success is when a photo is on another person’s blog or free to the public website. Google images also brings up “similar” results which has been helpful as well.

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