“That’s not their family.” “They weren’t married into the family then, they won’t know anything about that.”
Reaching out to biological relatives is an important part of getting family traditions, identifying old photographs, and determing if there is any family ephemera floating around in someone’s home. But do not limit yourself to the biological family.
I was having difficulty identifying a photograph recently and I posted it to my Facebook wall. A niece of the individual by marriage identified the photograph. I hadn’t thought to ask her at all as the picture was taken thirty-five years before the niece was born. But then I realized a few things:
- The niece had seen the person for twenty-five more years than I had.
- The niece had seen the person when the person was younger–and sometimes that really helps.
- The niece had pictures of this individual dating back to when she married into the family–seeing those pictures helps.
Do not limit yourself to biological relatives in your search for the identification of photographs or other family history information. Someone outside the biologicals may help more than you think.