• Important Update: Our New Email Domain

    Please note: We've updated our email domain to familyhistory.email. All our emails will be from this domain.

  • Do you love Genealogy? Why not write for us? we're looking for volunteers to write articles for Family history. Please contact us for further information.

Is the person on your wall the one you think it is?


Hi there,

Recently I sent a new found 2nd cousin a photo of her Grandad who was killed in WW1 in France. There had been a house fire many years ago and his widow had lost photos, letters and his medals, so no one really knew anymore what he looked like. The photo I sent showed a Bombadier with his men which matched his rank on official records and also, conclusively to my mind, when we put the photo on the computer and enlarged it, it was clear that he had etched his wife's name, "EMMA" in the mud at this feet. My Grandmother was his sister and had always shown me this photo and said it was "our Willie", so I was sure I had the right person.

My cousin's husband noticed that my photo did not match the one on their dining room wall that another relative had copied for them that was supposed to be her Grandfather. She sent me a copy of a man I believe to be his brother (a Lance Bombadier). She has lived for years with a photo that was not her Grandfather on her wall! This is not the first time this has happened either!

A third cousin from the USA sent me a photo of her Gt Grandmother with her son and supposedly his wife. A closer puzzled look, a comparison with another photo I had and a play around with photoshop, showed that the "wife" was actually his sister. The photos were taken about 5-7 apart.

I'm wondering how often this kind of thing happens? It highlights how important it is to research everything thoroughly before you just blindly believe what you're told by other family members. It a really important lesson. Further research lead me to find handwriting on the back of the photos (I'd never noticed it before) and compare to writing on army documents and the 1911 census documents. It's amazing how many checks and balances there are ,to be as sure as you can that you have the correct information.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Not reall y had the same situation as you Jill but understand what your saying..i believe alot of census info is just hearsay and recently investigating my family have been told different storys from different family members!
I think its important we tell our kids what we know or at least write it down for future reference..we tend to think that splitting familys is a modern day thing....its not and in olden times things were hidden and lies were told..for every one of us people interested in the past,present and future there are 10 others who dont care....and thats ware the problems start because they just tell or record things in a way thats easy or without scandal.
Hi Jill,

I to have not had that experience but i know what lee is talking about with the lies etc. There was quiet a few lies told concerning my grandmother and with this family research a few things have come to light and she wasnt a bad person at all. Even tho she died 30 years ago i at times felt like was the only person defending her. Everything i have found in my research is named etc so there can be no mix up with the future generation if they wish to dabble in the family history. Well no mix up as long as the names and photos i were given were right!

Have a case of four sets of old photos, the photos are of two brothers. In one house the photos are "marked" gt-granddadA and his brotherB, another house cousinA and his cousinB our gt-granddad, third house unknownA with gt-unkleB and the last house gt-granddadA and his mateB. The photos are of twins in WW1 US marines taken in photo shop on training base. 1st photos has photo shop stamp with serial numbers. The copies do not. PhotoA and photoB are right in 1st house. I tried to point out marking to the other people, but they are having nothing but they have it right. my friend, 1st house, has military records and other items to back up his ident of photos, but their answer is "But gt-aunt said". He can not win.
Lee and Gibbo, I know what you mean about the lies. There is also the folk lore that develops and then changes/grows slightly over the years.

My Gt Gt Grandmother's sister and my Gt Gt Grandfather's brother married one another. They emigrated to the USA and had 16 children. This means that I have many 3rd cousins who I am in contact with in the USA, who share 2 sets of 3xGt Grandparents, which is great fun and we swap some wonderful information and photos, but it's amazing the stories that I've been asked to verify.

I was asked to confirm a supposed split in the family because my 2xGt Uncle and Aunt had married at 16 yrs and 18 yrs respectively. The family story that had developed over the years was that our 3xGt Grandparents had disowned the daughter when she married as she was some kind of royalty and married beneath her. I investigated the census docs and found them both living with 1 set of parents, 2 doors away from the other set. Both families were born and bred in Bradford, a long way from any palace and 1 family worked at the iron mines and the other in the coal mines. Not surprisingly there was no sign of any royal blood and neither was there evidence of a rift.

laxdoc that's exactly the frustration, knowing you've got the evidence and people relying on faulty memory of relatives. How frustrating for you to have the evidence and not be believed. In my case my cousin accepts that my photo is her Grandad, but I feel bad for her that she's lived with someone else on her wall. At least in this case it was still a relative.


I check, check and check again now with genealogy.

It is horrible when you show relatives the evidence of findings in your family tree and they refuse to believe it. That happens a lot with family skeletons but we have to accept such skeletons in the closet in our family trees.

You're very wise to check and double check, Ben!

When I ask my Mum for stories now, I make sure that I get her to tell me the same story about 3 times over a few weeks and I make sure it's the same detail each time, before I document it. It's amazing how her story can change in certain areas and once she says things more than once, she'll admit that she's not as sure it's correct anymore. Faulty memory of those still alive is a real liability for family history research.