Posted by Jeanie Croasmun on September 8, 2010 in Website

Another member story to share — this one’s about a photo with wonderful secrets:

“I had wondered what my grandmother looked like at a young age. This was my father’s mother, Mary Helisek Vinic, who died before I was born. The only picture I had of her was of her in an open casket in front of her home. I had some old family pictures but as usual with no names on them. My parents had already passed away so I had no help in knowing the relative’s names. All I knew was they were ‘family.’  I decided to enlarge quite a few of the pictures to put in a photo album.  One of them was just a wallet size photo. After enlarging it to 5″ x 7″ we noticed there were names above the people in the photo. To my joy and amazement I discovered the photo was of my grandmother Mary with my Aunt Marie (at the age of 4), my Uncle John (at the age of 3) and my Aunt Antoinette (at the age of 1+). The picture was taken in Bohemia just before my grandma came through Ellis Island. What a wonderful find and an “AHA” moment in ancestry finds.”

— Karen A. Vinic Markey

If you have a story you’d like to share, I definitely want to hear it. Send it to me at

Also, visit for more information about America’s immigrant roots. You’ll find oral histories, more details about immigration (like what it meant to travel in steerage – ugh) as well as immigration-related family stories from members and ways to search for your own family’s passenger list and more at

Jeanie Croasmun

Jeanie Croasmun has been working at while futilely attempting to prove the horse thief story in her family history for over seven years. During that time, she learned enough about her family to determine that the story is likely a great work of fiction. But the search continues ...


  1. James Saunders

    Dear Ancestry Blog,

    It would be really great to hear some success stories like the one above from some of your DNA customers.

    I feel the DNA side of is being left in the dark, the last blog post from Ancestry DNA was in October 2009. There was not a single anouncement when the whole of the MyFamily DNA groups were ported over to the new style website.

    Ancestry DNA seems a bit stagnant while the rest of Ancestry has a load of new features. Is there any news about future developments? products? promotions?

    Thank you,


  2. Susan Heaton

    I have had similar success with tpictures, but in my case, when I photographed some old pctures, very faint and unreadable writing became bold and clear.this ledto some discoveries such as names,places, even dates. Caution should be taken with old pics however as exposure to repeated or porlonged bright light can damage them. I figured I would photograph them to avoid further damage.

  3. Wow, that’s a great find. My eldest sister once searched for a name of a relative that would connect other generations on her list but it was nowhere to be found on records. after a while there was an unexpected call from someone telling her she was related to the one ancestor she’s been looking for.

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