Many genealogists have seen old photographs where one person’s head has been removed. The joke often is that in the “old days” this was how people were unfriended.

It’s not quite that simple.

There no doubt were times where a person’s image was removed from every picture another person had of them. The removal was symbolic and may have been cathartic as well. But it’s also possible the removal of the person’s face was due to continued affection and not the end of it. The removed photograph may have ended up in a locket instead of a burn pile.

Assuming the removed person had a falling out with someone is incorrect. The opposite could have been true.

Now if every image of that person has been cut out of every photograph, locket placement was not the probable reason. If a pen or other instrument was used to obliterate the image, that’s also suggestive of a falling out. But the removal of just one person’s picture from one photograph can be taken in more than one way.



One response

  1. I’ve removed my own head when I needed to attach a picture to an application! LOL!
    And I have clipped off other people’s for lockets…. I’ve never come across a headless photo; the rest of ones I mutilated went in the trash, I’m sure. But, a great reminder that we should never jump to conclusions. Always verify.

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