Speaker Spotlight: Maureen Taylor

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Speaker Spotlight: Maureen Taylor

2016-02-03 19:51


This year's Family History Days brings together professional genealogists and family historians from around the world to help beginner & seasoned researchers alike find their story. In the weeks leading up to Family History Days on March 18 & 19, we'll be spotlighting several of the event's featured speakers.

Click here to register for Family History Days or visit hsp.org/FHD

Maureen Taylor is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.

Heralded as "the nation’s foremost photo detective” by The Wall Street Journal, Maureen's the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns. Currently a contributing editor of Family Tree Magazine, Maureen also writes personal memoirs and narrative family histories for the Newbury St. Press of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Maureen's Process:

"I start by studying clues within a picture — a hairstyle, a sign in the background, or the shape of a shirtsleeve — in order to identify a person, place or era. What follows from my genealogical expertise is uncovering the story behind the images of the past.That could mean shedding light on how those pictures fit into your family tale. Or discovering the history of the area in which those people lived — even if that’s locally in my small state of Rhode Island or around the world in Australia."

Your Results:

"As a consultant and seminar leader I help people rediscover their family history one picture at a time, tackle additional research if necessary and then advise them on technical solutions to share those discoveries. I’m passionate about helping you dig deep into your family history to tell the story of your ancestors and preserving it for your descendants. One of my pet projects is The Last Muster, a decade long search for photographs of individuals who lived during the Revolutionary War but who were still alive in the age of photography. It’s currently a two volume set and the quest for more photographs is ongoing."

How Maureen Got Started:

"Way back when, my first professional job was split in two. I spent half the day assisting patrons with historical/family research and the other half of the day working with family photos. The two never merged until I decided that this disconnect could be bridged. So I began to experiment with the ways that a photograph could lead to — or confirm — a family’s history. For instance, a wedding photo can tell you who attended the event and where the couple was married. A woman’s hat can identify her ethnic origins. Now, decades later, I’ve proven (again and again!) that photographs and family history go together like bread and butter. They’re a natural match and one that’s often overlooked in the search for census records, vital statistics and other types of standard genealogical sources."

More information about Maureen and her work is available here.

At this year's Family History Days, Marueen will present Identifying and Dating Family Photographs, a lecture designed to help attendees discover 10 easy steps for naming those old photographs tucked away in shoeboxes. Click here to register for Family History Days or visit hsp.org/FHD


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