Saturday, September 19

Family History in Free Online Photo and Film Archives: Part II

Finding mention of your ancestors as you search for family history is always a thrill.  But it's hard to beat the excitement of finding actual photographs of long-gone relatives.  In Part I of this post, I covered searching old film and video (moving images).  Now it's time to look at resources for still photography.

Corbis is one of the largest commercial sources of modern and historical photos, and includes the fabulous Bettmann Archives among other collections.  There is an enormous amount of historical material here, mostly of the rich and famous, but with a surprising amount of the everyday mixed in.

A bountiful bevy of Bournes (click to enlarge)

You can search Corbis at no cost, and see watermarked versions of the photos available.  Use the More Search Options to limit results to particular dates, locations or collections (such as Archival photos).

A search on Bourne, for instance (see my earlier post for the importance of the Jason Bourne test in genealogy) turns up a few shots of actor Matt Damon, certainly (he plays Bourne in the movies).  But there are also many hundreds of other Bourne's including:

  • 1953: Young Linda Bourne helps her mother (Ivy Bourne) hang nappies...
  • Historical engraving by Herbert Bourne
  • Francis Alphonsus Cardinal Bourne, Archbiship of Westminster in 1903
  • Colonel Bourne, 1936 Oxford rowing coach
  • A portrait of an unheralded Frederick Bourne, mid-19th century
  • An 1860's photo of the Himalayas by Samuel Bourne
  • Dale Bourne, 1930's golfer

Other photo sources to explore are:

Getty Images, similar to Corbis, and good for a few hundred more Bournes

Genealogy Images of History  is an odd collection, chiefly from the US, but there's actually quite a bit here, making it well worth a search.  You can see a watermarked version of images, mostly from old newspapers, and can, of course, purchase the full image.

The NY Public Library's digital images collection  contains more than 700,000 images, including close to a hundred Bournes.

And don't forget a search at Google Images and Flickr.  These are vast repositories of images, and are easy to search.  Each has many thousands of Bournes, mostly contemporary, but you never know what might turn up!

Visit the main page of Free Genealogy Tools for more, umm, free genealogical tools.

And don't forget to also check for your family history at and These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.

1 comment :

hungeryjack said...

Nice post - corbis photos ..Keep Posting

corbis photos

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