And yet I did. And yes, it was a really "neat" experience.
The screen shot below was taken from the Ebay website (item 321301556486) on 25 January 2014, shortly after the auction ended. I have yet to receive the picture, but not even 24 hours have elapsed since the auction closed.
I'm excited to get an original copy of the picture--I already have a scan of it made from a copy in the possession of a relative.
But locating the picture and obtaining it has me wondering:
- How do I really know it's a Virgil Rampley? In my case, it looks like the other picture I have of him that was identified by his sister, Fannie (Rampley) Neill and was in the possession of her daughter, Nellie (Neill) Shanks. But what if this was the only picture of him that I had identified? With nothing else to compare to, how would I know it was really Virgil?
- And with just a name on the back (and no other identifying photographer mark, handwritten comments, etc.), how could I know "which" Virgil Rampley it was? Of course, Virgil Rampley is not the most common name and a picture of him in a World War I era uniform certainly narrows down the possibilities, but what if the name were more common and the time period a little more difficult to pin down?
- And what of the provenance? How do I know that it was identified correctly? How do I even know who identified the picture?
- And, if I had simply chosen to "copy and paste" the picture from the ebay site for use in my own genealogy (without purchasing it), how do I cite that? Referencing the Ebay website, the date of access, the seller (who has intentionally been left out of this blog post for privacy reasons), and the item number should be a part of that citation. Of course, Ebay auction pages are taken down after a while, and I'm not certained exactly how they are archived on archive.org (if at all). Others cannot easily "go back" and view the page in 6 months, let along longer. And then, is the image just one that I essentially found "anonymously" on the internet?