Friday, February 28, 2014

Which photo?


This happens to be one of my most favorite photos of myself.  It was taken circa early 1964 in Germany.  Some other genealogists and I were playing around on Facebook yesterday with old photos and a question popped into my head.

Which picture do you display in your genealogy database program when you have several of a person?  Let use my grandfather Houston Simmons as an example.  I have quite a few pictures of him from when he was a young man all the way up to right before he died.  I can put all of the these photos in Legacy but on things like pedigree charts only the preferred photo will print.  How do you decide which photo to use?  If you only have one photo then this of course isn’t a problem.

This is similar to the “argument” about which photo should be used in a newspaper obituary.  Should the family post an photo showing their loved one in their prime or a current photo showing them how they actually looked?  The people that know the deceased would of course be more apt to recognize the current photo but wouldn’t they be curious to know what the person looked like when they were younger?

Yet another genealogical conundrum. 


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Interesting question Michele - I actually post my personal favorite photo of the person in question.

  2. For obituaries why not both a younger version and an older version. You can combine the two into one photo if the newspaper only allows one photo. Who says that photo can't have two people in it? Same goes for using a photo in the tree as the primary photo. If you have a younger version and an older version why not combine the two.

  3. Photo collage for an obit? So easy to make, now. Extra space required for the newspaper, but not when it is an online article.

  4. We solved the obituary problem by using two photos of my grandmother combined into one and listing all of her nicknames. She never went by her real name and I think the only people who knew her by her real name were the doctors who treated her.

  5. I always try to post their High School graduation picture. My reasoning is that even if people didn't get many photos of themselves made, or share many anyway, they usually shared this picture. (That and wedding photos.) I try to keep all my profiles pictures basically the same age so I can more easily compare people's traits to other family members.

  6. These answers are as thought provoking as the question. For the family tree I usually choose a photo from a time in the individual's life that s/he felt was significant (Dad: the pinnacle of his career as a retailer, Uncle: the time he received salesman of the year award, Aunt: installation as Worthy Matron of Eastern Star). I've not been involved yet in choosing photos for obituaries, but do wonder when looking at photos that are from 40 or 50 years in the past whether the person's life was so empty that this long past time was the only time they were happy. I do appreciate the double young/older photos because it is the older photo that I recognize as the person who was significant in my life.