Maureen Taylor Tells The Today Show Viewers How to Research Family History

Share Article

Genealogy Pro Reveals Tips to Help Do-It-Yourself Researchers Get Started.

For millions of Americans researching their family's history, it can come as a surprise to discover that the information they need is not available at the click of a mouse. They need help, just like Meredith Vieira and the producers of NBC's The Today Show did when they researched her roots. Who ya gonna call? More and more people, including Vieira, are calling Maureen Taylor (, the Photo Detective.
Dubbed "the nation's foremost historical photo detective" by the Wall Street Journal, Taylor recently appeared on The Today Show ( to help viewers find online resources for gathering data about their families. She had worked with Vieira before, when Vieira was a host of NBC's The View.
Taylor told Vieira, "The first step is to gather all the information you can: relatives' names, death information, locations, etc. Start with your oldest living relatives and their stories. From that point you can use various online resources -- some free and some require a monthly or annual subscriptions."

She recommends four websites in particular:, where researchers can use the vast amount of online records to create a public or private family tree,, which is maintained in partnership with the National Archives, and makes the Archives' records available,, the website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with over 1 billion searchable names in the database, which has over 300 years of U.S. newspapers, government documents and more and where people post photos and ask others to identify the people pictured.
Taylor has a unique ability to identify people, places and dates of old photos based on a combination of small details including hairstyles, jewelry, clothing, backgrounds, style of photos and more. Her Boston area office is packed with unusual research materials detailing historical fashions, uniforms, quilt patterns and much more.

"It's a privilege to help people learn more about their ancestors and to help them add to their family's story," said Taylor. "I hope the media attention from The Today Show story will inspire more families to research their own histories and to record information that can be passed down to future generations," she said.

Taylor has been interested in old family photos since she was a child. After earning a history degree, she worked at the Rhode Island Historical Society. Now, as a photo curator, genealogist, writer and photo identification/preservation expert, the focus of Taylor's work remains family photography, history and genealogy.

She is the author of a number of magazine articles and books, including Uncovering Your Ancestry, as well as a contributing editor at Family Tree Magazine. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker and genealogy expert, and has been interviewed by numerous regional and national media outlets. Taylor estimates that she has studied over 10,000 photos in the past decade, and receives about 30 requests for help each week. She lives and works in the Boston area.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Maureen Taylor
Visit website