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Old 01-12-2012, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
30,483 posts, read 32,885,191 times
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The threads about ethnicity, recognizing differences in other races than your own, and guessing ethnicity from a photo have me wondering what my ancestors looked like.

Unless you are very fortunate and come from a very wealthy line or royalty, you likely have no likenesses of family members going back further than about the mid nineteenth century. What you have is black and white.

This past fall I had the privilege of visiting The Huntington Library , which has a wonderful collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century art. The portraits are fascinating. Of course there may be some artistic license in play, but I suppose the likenesses are at least recognizable.

The oldest pictures I have are from what seem to be amateur portraits of one of my paternal great great grandmothers and a set of maternal great great grandparents. They are in color, but I have no idea how close the pictures are to their subjects.

I wonder. Who had dark hair like mine? Was it fine and straight like mine? Who had blue eyes? Who was tall or short, fat or thin?

I know my father's mother had beautiful auburn hair, and that is likely where my brothers red hair at birth that changed to white blond, then a darker blond came from.

A cousin sent me some post Civil War era photos, then some more recent ones. There was one group shot of some older ladies in her family that could have been ladies from the same generation in my family. The resemblance was so striking --- and we are talking about a fairly wide degree of separation of relatedness.

So, do you know what your ancestors looked like? Not just general ethnic stereotypes, but individuals?
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,925,657 times
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I've seen pictures up to the great grandparents, and they look like my cousins and I. But it was absolutely uncanny when I found a picture of one of the first of the line, though I'm not sure what the exact relationship is, who arrived in N.Carolina in the 1700's. It was a drawing, but he could have been my grandfather. It was a real wow moment.

A few years ago there was a woman competing on the triatholon in the olympics, and her name was Spurgeon. Until his father changed the spelling of the name after a family dispute, my grandfathers name would have been spelled that way. Thing was, she could have been the twin to my cousin they looked so much alike. Coming from Iowa, where the whole family planted themselved for at least three generations, I'm sure she's a cousin of some sort.

I think its cool when someone looks at you and says your unmistakably part of the family. It's this connection you can't lose. Me and my cousins also, of course, got the Spurgin stubborness, which my son has been gifted as well...
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Gone
1,011 posts, read 1,142,260 times
Reputation: 3589
One was like a pirate, his other eye was missing . Yes, I look like my relatives on the other side.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:14 PM
 
3,499 posts, read 4,189,353 times
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I'm biracial. Redheads..and people as black as is possible.
I look like none of my ancestors. Sad, really. I'm jelous.
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Colorado
20,068 posts, read 5,431,392 times
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I guess the Dutch, German and English ones were light with light hair? Don't know
The Polish ones, well the relatives I knew were both blond haired and dark haired. Blue eyed and brown eyed.
The Native Americans, I assume they looked like Indians.

I am light skinned with blond hair and green eyes. ( I needed all these people
to become "me".)
(I am not a mutt, I am a designer breed)
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:07 PM
 
9,238 posts, read 20,417,776 times
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I assume most of my ancestors were pasty-white like me, with blond or light brown hair. We are English, Swedish, German, and Scots-Irish.

Funny thing though: We have a hand-colored photograph of my great grandmother taken around 1902, when she was a very fashionably-dressed woman in her Victorian finest. But growing up, we would laugh at the picture, saying it looked like my Dad in a dress and fancy hat. The face was pretty much identical. Now that I'm an adult, I can see it looks like me in that dress and hat, only I have lighter hair.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,610 posts, read 15,051,548 times
Reputation: 12604
I have dozens of photos of my ancestors, some dating back to the 1860s/70s and some of which are tin-types. I also have one oil painting which might be from the early 19th century but I don't have an exact date for it.

I look like almost a clone of my mom but I don't see any strong resemblance in any of my other ancestors. My brother on the other hand, oddly looks a lot like our 2nd great grand uncle - not even a direct ancestor. I also see a resemblance between my 2nd great grandmother and my aunt.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Center of the universe
24,661 posts, read 35,589,232 times
Reputation: 11780
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
The threads about ethnicity, recognizing differences in other races than your own, and guessing ethnicity from a photo have me wondering what my ancestors looked like.

Unless you are very fortunate and come from a very wealthy line or royalty, you likely have no likenesses of family members going back further than about the mid nineteenth century. What you have is black and white.

This past fall I had the privilege of visiting The Huntington Library , which has a wonderful collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century art. The portraits are fascinating. Of course there may be some artistic license in play, but I suppose the likenesses are at least recognizable.

The oldest pictures I have are from what seem to be amateur portraits of one of my paternal great great grandmothers and a set of maternal great great grandparents. They are in color, but I have no idea how close the pictures are to their subjects.

I wonder. Who had dark hair like mine? Was it fine and straight like mine? Who had blue eyes? Who was tall or short, fat or thin?

I know my father's mother had beautiful auburn hair, and that is likely where my brothers red hair at birth that changed to white blond, then a darker blond came from.

A cousin sent me some post Civil War era photos, then some more recent ones. There was one group shot of some older ladies in her family that could have been ladies from the same generation in my family. The resemblance was so striking --- and we are talking about a fairly wide degree of separation of relatedness.

So, do you know what your ancestors looked like? Not just general ethnic stereotypes, but individuals?
I have a picture of my French/Cuban great-great-grandmother (maternal side). She was one impressive-looking woman.

I also saw a photo of my great-great-grandfather on my dad's side. He was a very stern, West African-looking man.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
41,373 posts, read 52,663,795 times
Reputation: 116543
The few pictures I have they look like old people with beards.
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Leesburg, VA
33 posts, read 75,338 times
Reputation: 21
The interesting fact in my family line through my dad and mother is that blue eyes - especially lighter blue have become dominant. My husband has hazel eyes. Mine are light blue. Our two kids have slightly darker blue eyes than mine. My mom had 4 siblings. 3 had blue 1 had brown, their parents had brown and blue. One of the brother's with blue eyes married a woman with Brown. My cousin has the most beautiful blue green eyes with a thin brown border. My Blue-eyed son also married a girl with brown eyes. It will be interesting to see what happens there!

The other interesting gene in our line, is with females who became brunettes after early childhood blondness. My mother at 29 was salt and pepper. Her mother at 40 was snow white. I got my 1st white hair at the age of 16. At 25 I had wings and bangs going white and the one white hair on the side had become a stripe. At the age of 42 I was solid Snow white. None of the brunettes ever go "grey" or silver. The brunette men also go white in their late 50's. The rosy cheeks from our European ancestry and the light blue eyes help dispel the white. Those of us who turned white from Brunette also have very smooth skin well into older age.
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