What did my Ancestor Look Like?

Last week, I shared information on how military records can provide guidance to an ancestor’s appearance.

hand drawing of how this ancestor may have appeared


This information includes height, color of eyes and color of hair.

So how can I go a step further to determine my ancestor’s appearance?

One of the first steps is to gather pictures of the ancestors children {if possible} or descendants.


For example, I have a picture of my great-great-grandfather but not his father, who died in 1869.  I do have a picture of his mother, though.  This is a help in determining facial features through the generations.

Out of 9 children, I had the picture for two sons and five grandsons.  The one feature that was common for each of these men was they had a box shaped face.  Some had more angular faces that resembled our ancestor’s wife, while others had shorter faces.

So using this information I was able to determine my ancestor’s appearance most likely resembled the following:

This is an imaging of what my ancestor may have looked like. I used PimptheFace.com for the facial features and iPiccy.com for the facial colorings.
  1. He had a box shaped face {this was supposition based on descendants}
  2. His hair was red {this is from his Civil War records}
  3. His eyes were blue {this was from Civil War records}
  4. He probably had at least a mustache, if not a beard {this is based on the style of the time period in which he lived}.
  5. He was six feet, one inch in height {this is from his Civil War records}


From this information I’m able to determine what my ancestor’s appearance may have been.

What information have you discovered in searching for how an ancestor appeared?

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