QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2005-02 > 1108945526
Subject: ALL- Postmortem Photos
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 19:25:26 EST
In the late 1800s, including Civil War era, an early 1900s, funeral parlours
would allow family members to take photos of loved one's as a way of
rememberance.(<meaning the dead person) Or, if the family was to poor to have one
taken while they were still alive, sometimes the funeral parlour would take one
This is a lost form of photography art, as this practice has all but
Today, this may sound morbid, but it was a big thing back then and 1000s and
1000s of photos were taken. Photos would be displayed just as a regular
photo would be, in some cases they would be stored away for private use only.
The thing with these photos, they are very life like in some cases, and I
have actually found a few in other peoples family photo albums that they weren't
aware that there ancestor was dead in the picture.
I personally don't own any.
In some cases it might be an infant, taken out of the coffin, dressed of
course, and placed in a life like position on the mothers lap, or other
relative, so the photo could be taken. The only thing different in the photo is, the
infants eyes would be closed. Other than that, you wouldn't know the child
was deceased and looking at that type photo today, you probably wouldn't realize
the infant was dead.
Most examples that I've seen show a person, dressed, and very life like,
only the eyes are closed lying in a coffin. Those of course are obvious.
This type photo is not to be confused with crime/police/military /war, gory
photos. < Those are the blood and guts photos.
As in all things, photos end up in the strangest of places. Lot of these
have ended up in antique shops etc.
Some have been known to have names, dates and locations on the back side.
That's what I was looking for when I asked about antiques.
I think a few of you got a bad idea when I explained this off the list.
My thought, as I have no problem looking at these, why not try and put them
back in the hands of the family they came from. Its a long shot, but I'm sure
some could be located and identified.
So, that's what I'm looking for, Postmortem Photos.
Its odd, but it really is another part of genealogy.
I have two of these photos on here, if anyone would like to see an actual
example, drop me a note. They are easy to look at, they aren't gory in any way.