Friday, December 16, 2011

WikiHomePages.com - A New Site for Finding and Sharing Old Home Photos

I recently discovered a fun new website called WikiHomePages.com.  This site provides a location for people to find or share old photos of their homes.  This is a relatively new site so there isn't tons of content yet but I think it has great potential.

Share the Past

The site is very simple and easy to use. You can either browse homes that are already included or you can add photos and descriptions about homes you have lived in.

Browsing House Photos

To browse all you need to do is click on the map and select one of the pushpins for houses that have already been added. You may need to zoom in if there are many homes located in one area. WikiHomePages displays a photo of the house and the time period that the contributor lived there.  There is also a brief description about the home. Contributors have the opportunity to upload other photos of the house which show the house with former residents.  These are the most fun.  Photos can show the house during snow storms or holidays.  The retro clothing is an instant trip through time.

Adding Photos to the Site

I wanted to see how the process worked so I added a photo to the site. It wasn't actually a house that I've lived in but it was the ancestral homestead of my Edwards family for over 100 years.  The photo I contributed was taken during the 1960s when my parents went to visit cousin Lucy Dillenbeck, then owner of the house.  Interestingly enough, my father and I visited the home two years ago and met with the current owners. I'm sure current and future owners will be happy to find the photo.

Creating an Entry

Uploading a photo was also a simple process.  WikiHomePages asked me to provide the address of the house, the years I lived there and then include a small description.  Since I didn't live there myself I put the dates that my ancestors owned the property. I added quite a bit of information about when the house was bought and who owned it through the years.

Detail of a house entry
WikiHomePages asked me to agree to their terms of service and then the entry was uploaded.  New entries are not uploaded automatically which is what I was expecting.  If the site becomes very popular this could turn into a bottleneck. The house I added was 238 Dillenbeck Road in Fultonville, NY.

Changes for the Future

As the site grows and develops I would like to see some guidelines and an FAQ to help people with common sense.  For instance, is the website accepting photos of currently owned houses or not?  Also, are there any liabilities that people should be aware of when posting old photos of their homes?  I can't imagine that would really be the case for photos that are 10 or more years old.  It could, however, be an issue in the case of a last homeowner posting something that the current owner wasn't aware of, such as flood photos.

Summary

This is a fun, new site that has great potential to help people share the history of their homes as well as old house photos.  I hope that it catches on and many people contribute.  What a treasure trove of old house information we could accumulate!

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