Is There a Photo of My Ancestor in the Archives?
The Denver Public Library's Western History and Genealogy Department (WHG) houses a large photograph collection that chronicles the history of the trans-Mississippi West.
A frequent question that comes up is whether WH/G has an ancestor's photo within its holdings. Here are some places to check online:
- DPL Digital Collections This online collection contains not only a selection of photographs, but also maps, broadsides, architectural drawings and other documents. Reproductions of these images are available for purchase.
- Undigitized Photo Index his collection of photographic prints was assembled and arranged by various librarians at the Denver Public Library as a way to increase the accessibility of images prior to the use of computer databases. The collection contains items dating from around 1870 to 2000, with the bulk of the materials dating between 1900 and 1980. Photographs have been arranged into series by subject and then arranged alphabetically. Subjects include: Biographies, Denver, General Subjects, Railroads, States and Cities, and Visual Materials. The Visual Materials index is a new addition covering previously unindexed resources from a collection of late 19th and early 20th century illustrations (mostly woodcuts) and photographs.
- Bromwell Colorado Portrait and Biographical Index Henrietta Bromwell, local historian and genealogist, indexed local, county and regional Colorado histories, newspapers, magazines and early land records. Check this index (which is arranged alphabetically by surname) for your ancestor. Be sure to use the abbreviations section of the index (starts on page 3) to identify which publication or collection the index is referring to. As with the Undigitized Photo Index, most of these images have NOT been digitized, and we suggest using the DPL catalog to locate the publication or collection that may be referenced in the Bromwell Index.
- Ancestry Library Edition (available on all DPL computers). A general search in Ancestry often brings up an overwhelming number of results. Narrow results to photos only by clicking on the "Pictures" category on the left-hand side of the screen on your results page.
- Western History Subject Index and Archives & Manuscript Finding Aids By searching these resources, you may find references that indicate an image of your ancestor. Keep in mind that these references will be citations to publications or collections that have NOT been digitized.
Happy photo hunting!
The staff in the Western History/Genealogy department is very helpful and courteous! A really great bunch!!
Thank you for the compliment, Truman! We love helping our customers!!
I desire to find pictures of my ancestors but need help
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