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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

A Throwdown: 1905

A Throwdown: 1905

"A throwdown." All washed up on Coney Island circa 1905. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Another group with no grandparents

If your ancestors were Jewish and lived in pre-Revolutionary Russia, or 1920's Germany, those who were well off enough to afford it, and saw the political problems brewing, sent their children away.
The Bolsheviks and Nazis extinguished people who were left.

Those immigrant children raised their own children without grandparents. And some of those first generation American children raised me.
So, though we genetically have eight great grandparents, and four grandparents, my parents, and millions like them, had zero. There aren't graves or even records with their names.

Two out of Eight

Great grandparents: I'm fortunate enough to have photos of two of my 8 great grandparents, and of all four of my grandparents.

Not even the grandparents

I didn't even know any of my grandparents. My father's mother died when he was 3, circa 1922. His father died in the 1960s. My mother's father died between VE and VJ Day and her mother died in 1951, five years before I was born.

I knew my step father's parents (whom we visited once, in 1968, in India) and his first wife's mother. She was a lovely woman who welcomed me in as one of her own.

I'd give anything to have known my grandparents and all their siblings.

Great-grandpa

Yes, I could identify four of my eight great-grandparents from their photos. One-hundred-year-old photos aren't that rare -- Shorpy is proof of that. What most of us lack, though, are depictions of our ancestors at work and at play. That's something Shorpy helps us with vicariously.

0 for 8? Really? That's rather sad.

I certainly have the names of all 32 of my great-great-great grandparents and pictures of some of these as well. Great-grandparents are comparatively easy.

Didn't you talk at all your grandparents about what things were like when *they* were growing up? Even if you didn't know great-grandparents directly, most people know at least some of their own grandparents. Great-grandparents were just (obviously) their parents. Many peoples' lives overlap at least some of their g-grandparents.

My grandfather was living in Brooklyn (age 2) not far from where this photo was taken. He was the youngest of 6, and even though he's not in it, I do scan the faces to see if any are is older siblings. Not this time.

[Maybe it's "sad" if you're inclined to sad thoughts. Even knowing your grandparents, let alone great-grandparents, can be a stretch for some people, if their ancestors were late marriers. One of my grandfathers (Mom's dad) was born not even 10 years after the Civil War ended, in 1874. He died in 1928 so I never knew him. And I'm a young(ish) forty-something. - Dave]

A fistful

Of sand! And another one loaded to go. The old "sand down the back" beach fun, she probably had a few down her back first.

Stocking Up

Pardon Miss, but you seem to have forgotten some accoutrements and are exposing a bit of ankle there.

I'm a lucky girl!

I am lucky enough to have known 3 of my 8 great grandparents and I have cherished pictures of at least 3 others. Although I might not recognize a picture from their youth, my living grandparents, who as a matter of fact are NOT cousins, probably would!

0 for 8

Everyone has 8 great-grandparents (unless maybe your parents are cousins). Would you be able to identify a single one of those eight people from a photograph? Or even name them? I sure couldn't.

Cheer up!

Just because we don't know these people doesn't mean they are "forgotten". They probably have great grandchildren somewhere who may remember stories told to them about their fun loving great grandparents! Who knows, they might even resemble them a bit!

Let me take that nasty crab off your back

This won't hurt a bit.

Okay girl,

Please don't do that some more!

And in another 105 years

... each of us will be as completely, totally and utterly forgotten as these people.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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