26    Aug 20100 comments

Wedding bells: Picture that!

Weddings are important events in family history as each brings together individuals from two families to create another.

Photos of bride and groom are among the most cherished in families. Copies are sent far and wide, to relatives in other countries. When researchers begin to expand their family histories they often find the same photographs in the hands of branches in several countries or different cities.

It's another way of confirming the relationship between two groups of people. The sender of the photo may have inscribed it to the person who received it and indicated that the receiver was an aunt, uncle, cousin or sibling of the person who sent it. They may also have included the date and place of the wedding and the full names of bride and groom.

Here are more tips when working with wedding photos:

Always check the back of a wedding photo for inscriptions. Because such photos were so cherished, a wedding photo is likely to have been framed and placed on a wall or, even better, placed safely in a photo album, which may have preserved the photo and its inscription (if there is one). Hopefully, the photo album's owner did not glue the photograph onto the page!

In other homes, the photos might have been merely stuck around the edge of a mirror in a bedroom (between the glass and the frame). These may have suffered sun damage on front and back. If you have relatives whose photos are displayed like this, try to take digital photos of them as soon as possible and also check the reverse for any writing. Hard-ro-read faded inscriptiosn may be more visible after some careful photo-editing  using brightness and contrast controls.

Through February 2011, a UK exhibit at Liverpool's Sudley House focuses on wedding clothing. More than 20 outfits are displayed along with photographs, contemporary artifacts and personal histories.

The dresses are from 1853, 1913, 1960, and include a 1935 Jewish wedding dress, a 1966 red Chinese wedding dress and others.

Forensic genealogists can often date photographs based on the fashions of bride and groom, so such photos - even if not labeled - are often quite valuable when reconstructing families.

Learn about wedding customs around the world here. Click here to learn the origins behind common wedding customs.

What is the oldest wedding photo in your family? Do you know the names of the bride and groom? When and where they married?

Search for your ancestors:

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