In 1862, John S Shipman advertised in the Brooklyn Standard Union that his services included "pictures taken of deceased persons" as well as "views made of private dwellings."

How might I gather evidence to test the claim that this was the same man as Second Lieut. John Shipman of F Company, Second Regiment Scott Life-Guard reported as "leav[ing] for East New-York to-day and [...] going into encampment there" in the New York Times of 20 May 1861?

  • I hope these two suggestions help you find a way to narrow the scope of your question: (a) describe where you believe your research has gaps (Luke made some suggestions, just earlier). Also (b) reference the clues you have been using and the steps/research you have already taken to try to solve that issue.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 25, 2012 at 15:59
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    Kathleen, do you want to know how to research people who were professional photographers? Perhaps you could modify your question to ask what occupational records for photographers may be available in New York in the 1860s.
    – Sue Adams
    Oct 25, 2012 at 21:59
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    Assuming he's your photographer, consider adding the references to what seem the 1860 and 1870 census for John/John S. Shipman. He is possibly the John S. Shipman ae 39 at 1870, residing as apparent son of Seymour Shipman (Brooklyn Ward 3, Kings Co., New York). This John S. and apparent 21 year old ?brother both report "photographer" as their occupation.
    – GeneJ
    Oct 26, 2012 at 17:35
  • Yes, John S Shipman, my great great grandfather, son of Seymour and Adelaid is the person I am researching. I am looking for his surviving photographs, mention of him in photographic societies, and any other information I can find. Jan 28, 2014 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


Your starting point should be to gather as much information about both individuals on the assumption that they are separate people. Look for birth marriage and death records, MIs, wills and probate, census records, military records -- everything from cradle to grave for each of them. If you're really lucky, you'll find a "smoking gun" that proves beyond doubt that they're the same person, or that they aren't. Otherwise you may have to settle for a "probable" yes or no, based on what you find.

You may find also the answers to Correctly identifying individual who goes by multiple names? helpful, and also this: https://genealogy.stackexchange.com/a/241/104 where @GeneJ recommends exploring Tom Jones's work on Inferential Genealogy

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