What was there is a website that provides comparative photos of a location in the present day with archived photos from history.
My favorite part of genealogy is finding treasured images relating to people, places, events and things in my genealogy research. All of this information provides the color to our ancestors’ stories.
So I took a look at “whatwasthere.com” and although the quantity of content is somewhat wanting the premise is ingenious and the images that have been uploaded to the site are wonderful.
The “Friendly City Gateway” in Sault Ste. Marie of the 1940’s.
The purpose of this website is to provide a map-based database of locations for which registered users can upload images they hold related to that location.
Since a great deal of my research into my husband’s ancestry is in Pennsylvania, this is where I concentrated my efforts to see what I could find – and I was pleasantly surprised! There were dozens of images available, mostly of historic buildings and landmarks, as well as some background information for each image.
I also checked out Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, which is where I currently live, and the results weren’t nearly as numerous.
Vancouver, on the other hand, about one hour’s drive away has several images uploaded. It appears the larger city centers have the most available. I guess this isn’t so surprising when one really thinks about it.
One feature of this site that I love is the street view. It’s a comparison view where a continuous image is created by combining the uploaded vintage image and a current image next to it.
I performed this function for an image in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario showing the entry sign near the Michigan border crossing.
The vintage image is transparent enough that part of the skyrise in the current image can be seen where it would have been located at the time.
Sault Ste. Marie is the birthplace of my father. He lived there with his parents until he joined the Canadian Armed Forces about 1957. His father worked in the Algoma Steel Mill and actually died on shift in the plant.
This site as I feel it has the potential to be one of the most valuable available to genealogists and history buffs.