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First Friday Genealogy
With Sassy Jane

The Monthly Genealogy Newsletter
Vol. 10 No. 04
April 2021 Issue

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This issue of Sassy Jane's First Friday Genealogy Newsletter features websites that combine vintage photos with maps. The concept of vintage photos + mapping = website has been around for about 10 years. But technology always improves, even if a snappy name for this kind of site has not yet emerged.

So let's revisit old sites and discover new ones, all combining vintage photos with mapping for your family history research. 

SepiaTown is both fun and helpful. "Helping the World Map Its Past" is their tagline. In addition to click-through to mapping, SepiaTown also includes context. The image above was provided noting at the time this image was made, this place was called Belle Alliance Square, Berlin, c. 1900. 

If you are researching internationally, SepiaTown delivers. Europe, the Americas. Australia, Russia, Canada, and other locations are included in their database. The Then/Now feature lets users toggle between time frames. 

The only knock: this site has static URLs, so regardless of what you find, the URL stays the same. When you find a useful image, note carefully how it was cataloged so you can recreate the search–and cite it in your tree.

Invite Sassy Jane to Speak to Your Society

Looking for genealogy speakers for your group? I still have some openings on my calendar for webinars and weekend seminars. No travel yet though. :( 

Presentations page on my website has a full list of available topics, such as the one below about essential portals for genealogy research. You can contact me through the Presentations page, or at directly at this link about rates and availability for your group.

What Was There

The site is one of my favorites. It was launched 10 years ago, but there have been significant improvements to this site,

The featured imaged at the top of this newsletter is the Burro Brigade in the 1870s in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Guests of the Cliff House, the resort hotel seen in the background, departed daily to ride through the nearby Garden of the Gods thanks to some patient burros. This image comes to us from the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library and WhatWasThere.

Wratislaviae Amici

Calling all genealogists researching Prussian and Polish ancestors! Launched by enthusiastic local historians several years ago, Wratislaviae Amici offers vintage photos with mapping for Wrocław, Lower Silesia, and Polish Lusatia. These areas were often war-torn over the years, so earlier photos are very helpful.

Because of shifting languages and borders, searching can be tricky. Visit my blog post here for step-by-step searching help. The results can be fantastic. 

Note: since 2018, the site has expanded to include all of Poland and the Eastern Borderlands. Look for an upcoming blog post about this larger site. 


If there's an 800-lb. gorilla among the vintage photos + mapping sites, it's Historypin. Started in 2010, HistoryPin "hosts 365,951 stories pinned across 27,844 projects and tours – across 2,600 cities, [which are] built by a community of 80,000+ storytellers, archivists and citizen historians."

I first
wrote about Historypin nearly ten years ago to the day. (Spooky!) So it's time for a revisit, which I will post on my blog soon. Historypin has not just survived, but thrived. And that's because they've been so smart from the start about partnering with institutions, such as the US National Archives, as well as individuals.
That's it for the April issue of Sassy Jane's First Friday Genealogy NewsletterUse the links below to share with a friend or on Facebook or Pinterest.

Stay safe and healthy and get those vaccinations. Good luck with your research this month and see you in May for the next issue of this newsletter.
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