Person Thing

Unidentified Photos from Yesteryear

From time to time I receive donated photographs that have little to no clues to indicate to whom they belonged. Clues such as the photographers mark can often help determine what part of the family the person photographed belonged by cross-referencing the known locations of individual family lines during the period of time in which the photographer operated, but that technique only applies when the unidentified photographs belong to a larger collection in which at least a portion of the persons therein are identifiable. Even then, the process is laborious as a family genealogy will often need to be created both forward and backwards and then branching out into at least 2nd cousins as the proliferation of inexpensive photography sparked the trend and now tradition of sending photographs to family who were not often seen in person.

The photograph of the young girl in a dress in the image directly above was captured by Josef Krikawa, who operated at 57 Avenue B in New York City, New York at the time the image was developed. A quick internet search reveals that according to New York’s city directory for 1859 that he and a business partner, Hedbawney, were daguerreotypist and photographers. Later, according to the (1867-1868) Wilson’s Business  Directory of New York City Krikawa still operated at the same address as the sole proprietor, and that he continued to do so until at least 1872 according to the  (1872-1873) Goulding’s Business Directory of New York.