So Sad – The Photo Was Not My Ancestor

Yesterday, I wrote about a photo that a distant cousin thought was our Civil War ancestor. You can read about that here (Authenticating a Civil War Photo). I wanted to verify this, so did some searching.

It turns out that the soldier in the photo is from the same company as our ancestor and was in Andersonville Prison at the same time. I discovered this by running the photo through Tineye.

Results of the TinEye search on the photo.

Results of the TinEye search on the photo.

The link it provided didn’t work, so my next step was to run the link through The Wayback Machine. That’s a site that stores defunct web sites.

When I saw the results, a web site from 2008, I then googled the topic and found where the page currently resides. Here’s the story about the soldier that the photo actually shows. His name is Lambert Rogier.


Authenticating a Photo of a Civil War Soldier

With delight, I saw a photo posted by a distant cousin on Veteran’s Day of a Civil War soldier. “It’s our grandfather Tower,” he wrote on Facebook. Wow, I’d never seen this photo before.

Then I paused and a few skeptical thoughts crossed my mind. How could I be sure that it really was our mutual ancestor who served in the 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry? When I queried to be sure it was Abraham Bates Tower, my cousin said that he’s been told that it was, but “How that was authenticated, I don’t know, so I ain’t gonna swear on a stack of Bibles.”

So now I have a mystery to solve. Can I prove that it is who we want it to be? Here’s how I’ll proceed.

    • I’ll check the photo against some that I have showing him later in life. This is complicated by his having a beard in his other pictures.
    • I’ll show the photo to another distant cousin who works on the family tree. Maybe she knows more about it.
    • Could this be Abraham Bates Tower in the Civil War?

      Could this be Abraham Bates Tower in the Civil War?

    • I’ll run the photo through some Internet searches using Tineye, Google and Bing. Tineye looks for a photo to match the one you have. If the photo shows up on the web, there may be some information about who it is.
    • I’ll post the photo to a Civil War forum or a re-enators site to see what they can tell me about the uniform and the accessories in the photo.
    • I could also send the photo to the Photo Detective, Maureen Taylor. I recently heard her speak at a genealogy conference in Orlando. She has a book titled Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album and a number of others about identifying photos.
    • Another method is to post the photo online like I’m doing here, then wait for comments. If someone else claims this as their ancestor, they will contact me.

Well, it didn’t take long to find out about who was in the photo. Click the link to read about the results.

Mouse Pad with Civil War Cap and Canteen

I’ve been asked about the graphic used on this blog. It’s a photo I took when I visited Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

If you like it, I’ve made it available on a mouse pad that can be ordered from Zazzle. It would make a great Christmas gift or birthday present for any Civil War buff that you know or get it for yourself.

Here it is:

Feel Lucky if You Have Photos of Your Civil War Ancestor

Because my ancestor lived into his 90s, there are a few photos of him. I feel quite lucky that we have those in the family. Many have to rely on a simple description of hair and eye color from their ancestor’s military records.

Abraham Bates Tower died in 1930. In his old age, he spent time with various children so I need to contact the grandchildren or great-grandchildren to see if any more photos are lurking in shoeboxes or family albums.

In going through my mother’s assortment of photos this past week, I turned up two more pictures of great-grandfather, Abraham. I’ll share one of those here. I knew of 6 photos before and now find there are eight. I’m sure there are more and will keep searching and contacting distant cousins.

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