Homeless old photos have always made me sad.  I was antiquing long before I was addicted to genealogy and they made me sad even then.   I wanted to beg them from the antique shop owner and say, "Who will buy these?  Who would want them?  What are the chances that any relation will even come into your shop?  Just give them to me and I will find their owners.  Do the right thing."

       I wanted to put them in the historical society here in Cincinnati--or have them posted on a library bulletin in my very excellent (for genealogy research) library downtown.  I wanted to have an "Old photo" week where maybe the newspaper would publish old photos.  The internet is great--where would I be without it--but the newspaper reaches those who are afraid of computers, and those in nursing homes.

Elizabeth Darenkamp        When we used to visit my father's family in St. Louis, my aunt Della brought down the box of photos from the attic.  She said, "Karen you look like Mama."  And she showed me this photo of my father's mother and I did!   I think that was what hooked me on genealogy.  That moment.  Or maybe it was my father's bedtime stories.

       Right before my father died, my relatives in St. Louis sent me this big box of photos.  For the first time in my life I "met" my father's brother, Jack, his sister Florence.  I saw pictures of my dad when he had lots of hair.  I saw my beloved g-g-grandmother Elizabeth Darenkamp--an immigrant from Cloppenburg Germany--sitting all in black in her back yard in Newport, KY with her pet chicken on her lap.

       Long live old photos!

© copyright 1999 Karen Arbogast
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