If you’re like us, you love flipping through old family photo albums to discover more about your family’s history. And if you’ve been fortunate enough to interview your elderly or extended family members, they’ve likely divulged some fun and interesting stories behind those photos that you’ve happily added to your family tree.
Whether you’re looking for a specific family member, or wish to find old photos of your ancestral hometowns, these 10 free historical photo sites will allow you to search for and discover more about your family’s history online.
10 Free Historical Photo Sites for Family Historians
An interactive directory of the best, free genealogy and historic photo search engines. Search top world-wide and specialized databases. To search for photos, enter a surname and discover long-lost ancestors.
If your ancestors immigrated to Ellis Island, you should use this passenger ship photo search tool by Steve Morse. Find pictures of the ships that brought your immigrant ancestors to America by searching the official Ellis Island website as well as other passenger ship databases.
Search this free historic photo archive that contains over 32,000 old photographs. Discover ancestors and the towns in which they lived. You can also search for your family surnames as well as old pictures of family members. There is even an option to add your own family photos.
Explore your British roots by searching over 138,000 old photos of 32,000 UK towns and villages taken between 1860 and 1970. You can also sift through 1,700 local and nostalgic books, 27,000 old maps and close to 50,000 shared memories.
Images of England allows you to view over 370,000 images of your English ancestors’ villages. This digital library of photos includes England’s buildings recorded at the turn of the 21st century. You’ll find everything from gravestones, to historic houses, churchyard monuments and more.
Explore this amazing collection of historic photos from the Library of Congress archives. These digital versions of popular Library of Congress image collections rely on the identifying information that came with the original photos. Because the text can be incomplete, viewers can add names, descriptions, locations and tags to make the images even easier for people to discover their ancestral roots.
Did your ancestor serve in the United States military? If so, you’ll want to explore this collection of photographs containing Civil War and Vietnam War soldiers. Other wars are also represented in this diverse collection.
The National Archives and Records Administration provides excellent download quality of public domain historic images. The search engine (ARC) also offers detailed search queries to make finding images from government agencies even easier. From EPA photographs of 1970s Texas to the Labor Bureau’s child labor images, you’re bound to find something interesting about your ancestors here.
Search through over 100,000 portraits of historically significant Americans and other photographs by American artists. The gallery also contains images from the Catalog of American Portraits. Could you find a long lost ancestor here? There’s only one way to find out!
To aid in your Jewish genealogy research, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum offers searchable photo collections of historic photographs from the Holocaust given by institutions and individuals. These photos document anti-Jewish activities in Europe from 1933 to 1945.