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Old 10-20-2017, 09:26 PM
 
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I am not aware of my family having post-mordem photos saved from the Victorian era. I doubt that I have any myself. Do any of you have these type of photos or suspect that you may have some?

In the late 1800s and early 1900s families would sometimes have a post-mortem photo taken of their departed loved one. Often this photo would be the only photo the family would have of the deceased. Oddly, in some of the photos the deceased is often the clearest individual in the photo because in the 1800s, people would have to sit still for 10 minutes or more to have their photos taken. Such photos sometimes resulted in a clear portrait of the dead, while the living would sometimes be look slightly blurry.

Here is a blog entry about how some falsehoods arose online from this practice of taking photos of the dead.

One last link: "Taken from life: The unsettling art of death photography"
BBC Article from 2016
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Old 10-21-2017, 12:12 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
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No, I don't. I have few photos at all going back past my parents. My Dad's oldest brother had some from that side of the family but lost them in a house fire. My mother's side I do not know whether they have been lost or there just never were many taken.
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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No and wouldnt want any..horrible things to keep.. but some do even now... this one shows Jessie James in his coffin.. Childrens photos were kept more in the Victorian era as they were into anything to do with the dead... they even had special shops for mouring clothes hats and jewellery...

Historic Jesse James photograph with killer Robert Ford proven authentic | Daily Mail Online
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:47 AM
 
Location: NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
No and wouldnt want any..horrible things to keep.. but some do even now... this one shows Jessie James in his coffin.. Childrens photos were kept more in the Victorian era as they were into anything to do with the dead... they even had special shops for mouring clothes hats and jewellery...
I have pics of my dad in the coffin, mostly because I still can't believe how different he looked.
Back then clothes weren't mass produced.

Thanks. Jesse James is related to my son's grandmother. I have him linked in my tree at family search but not on ancestry.
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:08 AM
 
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No.

I don't like going to funerals and seeing the guest of honor "laid out" for people to gawk at. When having to attend such events, I try to immediately determine the location of the deceased and keep my back to them.

It was all I could do to keep myself from railing at the lady who suggested that we take a photo of my grandfather in his coffin (which I would have preferred to have closed) so we could send it to my brother who was overseas and couldn't make it to the funeral. It wasn't so much that she suggested it to me at all, it was when I told her no and she wouldn't take my word for it and immediately also asked my father right in front of me. THAT burned me up.

When I told my brother about it, he said that he was glad that I'd managed to restrain myself, and was even more glad to have not received a photo of our dead grandfather.
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:56 AM
 
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I have a photo of my great-great grandmother lying on her deathbed. The photo was taken in 1923 in Haarlem, Holland. My great-grandfather immigrated to the US around 1915. Since he could not make in time for her funeral in Holland, one of his sister's took the photo and sent it to him. I keep the photo private and have never posted it on ancestry.com since it's kind of creepy. But I'm glad to have it since iit's a photo of her and shows the details of her bedroom.
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RDM66 View Post
I have a photo of my great-great grandmother lying on her deathbed. The photo was taken in 1923 in Haarlem, Holland. My great-grandfather immigrated to the US around 1915. Since he could not make in time for her funeral in Holland, one of his sister's took the photo and sent it to him. I keep the photo private and have never posted it on ancestry.com since it's kind of creepy. But I'm glad to have it since iit's a photo of her and shows the details of her bedroom.
Thanks for sharing this. I'd probably not post such a photo either on Ancestry (or elsewhere online). Some particular family photos just need to stay private no matter what.

If I ever had such older Victorian-era photos and if the deceased person in the photo was somewhat presentable, I would probably post it online. On the other hand, if the ancestor in the photo is very ill, frail or in a coffin, I'd prefer to keep those within family.

Thanks to dizzybint for posting the link about the newly authenticated Jesse James' photo. His story is indeed a fascinating one to read.
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Old 10-21-2017, 11:31 AM
 
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My mother's family is German and her cousins and aunts and uncles always had a morbid fascination with death photos so yes we have some pictures in the family.

I do believe it's easy for us to unfairly judge this practice today as we filter this through our own modern understanding. Today most people have literally thousands of pictures of their loved ones, whether professionally-shot or digitally-shot even through cell phones. But imagine if your loved one died and you literally had no pictures of them. The thought of forgetting what they even looked like would be heartbreaking. You can see why this morbid practice existed.
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Old 10-21-2017, 01:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by P47P47 View Post
No.

I don't like going to funerals and seeing the guest of honor "laid out" for people to gawk at. When having to attend such events, I try to immediately determine the location of the deceased and keep my back to them.

.
I'm with you.

I want to remember my friends and family alive, not looking pasty and like crap in a coffin.

I was at a funeral years ago for a relative who was shot in a bar by a 12 gauge. (He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the Chief of Police was at the next table. Still unsolved after over 20 years)

His mother-in-lay took my hand and literally dragged me to the coffin to show me how good he looked. It was all I could do to not say he woyld never wear makeup and he still looked like crap
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Old 10-21-2017, 05:09 PM
 
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I have some PM photos, passed on to me from my M_G-Grandmother. I never recognized them as PM photos (which shows the quality of the photo and the skill of the photographer), until I put the pieces together doing my family genealogy. When I realized what they were, I actually screamed! My initial reaction was to get rid of them, I felt I had been somehow violated, thinking they were ordinary pictures of at-the-time living people


One was a picture of my grandmother's oldest sister, who died at age 7 from measles. I always found the picture odd in that her hair was quite short, almost shaved, in the picture. That was odd back then, as women rarely cut their hair. I then read that they shaved the hair of those suffering from measles, which was thought, for some unknown reason, to alleviate the illness. Even if that was the case, why would one go to the expense and bother of taking a picture then, with her hair shaved? Why not wait until it grew back? Then, I realized the girl in the picture was dead! Looking closely, you could see a prop stand behind her, as used to prop up dead bodies for pictures! Also, who I enlarged the picture, I could see her eyes were really closed, with little dots painted onto the eyelids, which gave it the appearance of open eyes.


I also found a picture of one of my Grandmother's brothers, which was also a PM. Again, the picture looked like that of a young man, clearly "alive", standing. Again, upon closer inspection I could see the prop stand behind him on the floor, and a bit of the prop behind his head. There were other tell-tale signs of PM photo, if you knew what to look for. Upon doing family research, I found evidence of a third brother. He died from an accident, at age 22. He fell from a scaffold while painting a ceiling in a bank.


These photos were somewhat disturbing to me at first. I always thought my Grandmother had 3 siblings, now I find evidence she had 5, 2 which died early, tragic deaths. I inherited the family photo album, which is a treasure in its own right. Sadly, I see such albums, complete with photos, for sale on Ebay, for $200+> How sad, to sell off a family heritage for a few dollars!


Like I say, I at first felt disturbed by the PM photos, but I have come to cherish them. I never knew my G-Grandmother, but feel I have come to know her through my research, and the few mementos she left behind. I picture her loving hand, carefully placing the photos of her children in the album, with the hopes of keeping a part of them alive, for at least awhile. I can let them live a bit longer.....RIP, G-GM!
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