Picture of various old family photos, artistically arrangend

Image by Scottish Guy from Pixabay


Dead Fred is both a website and a Facebook page. This is a free site started by Joe Bott 22 years ago. He named it “Dead Fred” after the German Emperor and King of Prussia Frederick III.  He reigned for 99 days between March and June 1888 and then succumbed to throat cancer.  There is a postmortem picture of him on the Dead Fred website:

Anyone can submit a photo pre-1960 and have it uploaded onto the website as long as the people in the photo are deceased.  If you have a surname, you can label it and if you do not know the names of the people in the photo, you can submit it as a mystery photo. At this time, the website has recorded 22,979 surnames and 154,282 records.

If you want to know if a photo of your ancestor appears on this website, click Search Photos in the Tools box and fill in the information that you have.  (A login to the site is not necessary for this.) If you only want to put in a place with no surname, you can do that, also.

Screenshot of Search Box

I performed a blanket search for the surname Ohl and five photographs were returned with one being an exact match of the name Ohl. Due to possible copyright restrictions on this photo, I have not included a screenshot of the individual – 10-year-old Virginia Ohl in Portland, ME.

Clicking on an image will give you more information about the photograph, along with a link to contact the submitter.  Sometimes the submitters provide a wealth of genealogical material about the photo which is extremely helpful.

Another search performed on Champaign County, Illinois brought up two pages of results.

You can also perform a surname search using the Surname option in the search box.

Screenshot of search box for surname search

And then there are the Mystery photos!

Similar search boxes as in “Search Photos” show in the Search form for the Mysteries.  I keyed in Boulder, CO and several photos of unknown people appeared. I can contact the submitter, see all the photos from this submitter, or post a sticky note (login required).

If you would like to see all photographs by a specific studio or photographer, you can click on “Photographers” on the right-hand side.

Screenshot of search box for photographers

There is also a section for pre-1936 yearbooks with instructions on adding your own annuals.

Screenshot for yearbook search

Dead Fred’s Genealogy Photo Archive Facebook page is You can like this page, message them, and browse the photos and videos that are on this site. There are many historical photos that you may find interesting. Here is a link to one very cute video of a cat finding some milk to drink:

Dead Fred is also selling a book titled The Desperate Genealogist’s Idea Book on his website, a compilation of many different genealogists’ ideas for research. Proceeds from this book help to maintain Dead Fred’s site and keep it free for your genealogical searching.

(Note: I am not affiliated with Dead Fred in any way nor do I get any compensation for this review of the website.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s