Casefile Clues

19 February 2014

A 1955 Aerial Photograph of Grandpa Neill's Farm

I've seen this 1955 book of aerial photographs of Hancock County, Illinois, before but I believe that is the first place that includes a digital index of the book along with digital images. I'm not certain how many of these are in the collection of materials as my own personal interest in the 1955 era is in Hancock County.

The image below shows the farm of my grandfather Cecil Neill taken from a plane flying east of the farm. The book indicates the farm is in section 12, but the farm is actually in Prairie Township, not Carthage township.

I will have to take a look at other entries in the book to determine if the geographic placename listed is for the township or the mailing address (given that "Rt. 1" is a part of the entry, I'm guessing that the reference is to a mailing address). While we are only showing one image in the post here, researchers are always advised to look at other items in any publication to gain perspective on what is included in an entry.

The one thing a person never gets from pictures like this is the perspective of how level the area is. In this case, it's not level. The road in front of the house is a state highway and the driveway is at the bottom of a hill and there's an incline as one heads north (to the right in this picture).

The house is no longer standing, but the garage is, as are the two barns in the back. The picture was apparently taken before my grandfather had a silo built and also before an addition was added to the west barn (in the rear of the picture). I even think I can see the outhouse in the picture as well.

Items like these would make excellent illustrations in family history materials.