Photo expert Ava ‘Sherlock’ Cohn to share her expertise in Feb. 21 JGS of Illinois virtual event
Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois member Ava “Sherlock” Cohn presented a webinar called “Clued-In: Interpreting Real Photo Postcards from the Diaspora” at 1 p.m. Central Time for the Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, JGSI virtual meeting. After her lecture there was a short break, and then Ava spoke about old family photos that have been submitted by a limited number of JGSI members or guests.
Ava Cohn, “Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist,” is an internationally-known expert on Jewish family photographs. She holds a degree from Brandeis University with coursework in decorative arts, art history and costume history at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Recognizing the need for accurate dating of Jewish photographs with specialized knowledge of immigrant and Eastern European culture and traditions, she devotes her work, almost exclusively, to Jewish family photographs from throughout the world. In addition to being a popular speaker and writer on photography and genealogy, Ava is also a collector of 19th and 20th century Jewish photographs.
Ava says of her Feb. 21, 2021, postcard presentation: “As our ancestors moved throughout the world, they communicated with friends and loved ones with photographs on the fronts of postcards and messages, often intimate ones, on the backs. These real photo postcards were the social media of the day starting around 1900 and lasting into the 1960s. The photographs on these cards captured the everyday lives of our ancestors, their celebrations, their triumphs and at times, their tragedies.
“This ‘new’ medium gave our relatives a quick and inexpensive way to send messages near and far, before cellphones and modern social media,” Ava says. “Learning to recognize and interpret the clues in real photo postcards can lead us not only to date the images more accurately but also learn more about the everyday lives and relationships of our family members as they moved throughout the Diaspora.”