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Using Local and Family History Photographs to Tell the Stories of Your Ancestors

This guide offers research strategies to search the Library of Congress print and digital collections for photographs that focus the lens on your family and strengthen your genealogical research.


In the collections of the Library of Congress you will find photographs that enhance your knowledge, prompt new research questions, and create bonds across generations. You will also discover tools in the Library of Congress holdings that will enable you to better understand and maximize the potential of items passed down through your family or discovered in local repositories.

Pictures should be treated as records in our genealogical research. They are documents that add value, not only as visuals, but also as clues and building blocks to better understanding the lives and communities of our ancestors.