Thornton Family Resemblances Revisited

2019 (left) Archie Raymond Thornton Jr. and (right) Michael Ray Thornton

I once wrote an article for APPO (Association of Professional Photo Organizers) called Who Do You Think You Look Like? The Mystery of Family Resemblances. It featured a small selection of photos from both sides of my family.

This time, in honor of Father’s Day, I’ve gathered photos from six consecutive generations of Thornton fathers and sons. I only recently found the oldest two photos — Calvin and Nathan — in the course of my never-ending genealogy research. Once again, I find the similarities between all of these men striking, don’t you?

A Father's Day celebration: Six generations of Thornton family father-son resemblances. Who are the look-alikes in your family? Click To Tweet

From the APPO article:

Left: Archie Raymond Thornton Sr. (@1901) Middle: Archie Raymond Thornton Jr. (@1938) Right: Michael Ray Thornton (@1962)

Archie Raymond Thornton Sr. (1897 – 1976)









Jerome Bud Thornton (1855-1928).










Calvin Thornton (1830-1908).







Nathan Thornton (1799-1878)







Calvin and his parents Nathan Thornton and Charity Cook were Quaker pioneers, which I discussed in the recently-updated Thornton Family History Lost & Found.

I asked my brother, Mike, if any of these photos “resonated” with him. I thought he might pick Calvin, because I think he most resembles Calvin. Instead, he picked Nathan, saying, “He looks like he could have a sense of humor.” This cracked me up, since to me Nathan looks like the sternest of the bunch, which tells you something about Mike’s own dry sense of humor.

The daguerreotype was the first publicly announced and commercially viable photographic process. Considering that it was not introduced until 1839, I don’t expect to be finding any images of my 4th great-grandfather, Thomas J. Thornton Jr. (1762-1834), or any his ancestors, as thrilling as that would be.

What are the oldest photos you have of your ancestors? Have you tried looking for them online? (I found the two oldest photos on and Who are the look-alikes in your family?

I invite you to join the conversation by leaving a comment!

Copyright 2019 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
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  1. Janet Schiesl on June 10, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Wow! There is a lot of family resemblance in your lineage. In my family we joke about how some of the siblings looks alike *my brother has a son and daughter who look alike) and other siblings don’t resemble each other at all (my sister has two daughters you wouldn’t know are related). But when we look at old photos we can find resemblance with ancestors and the younger generation.

    • Hazel Thornton on June 10, 2019 at 7:47 am

      Yes, its interesting how it sometimes skips a generation. And, well, what you don’t see in this post is all the children and siblings (many of whom I’ve never seen a photo) that don’t especially resemble each other!

  2. Sabrina Quairoli on June 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

    I have a picture of my mom at age 15, and it is uncanny how much I look like her. She had dark hair, and I have a light brown/blond hair. But, the face is the same. Before my mom passed, my daughter, my mom, and I were sitting around the table. We all had our hands on the table, and every one of us looked down and said, wow, look at the different stages of our hands. My daughter at the time was seven, me in my 30s and my mom in her 50s. I wish I took a photo of them.

    • Hazel Thornton on June 10, 2019 at 8:02 am

      1. You know your daughter resembles you as well, right?
      2. Funny about the hands — I never thought much while she was alive about whether or not I resembled my mom. But one time (I was an adult) we both had bare feet, and I looked down and was amazed to realize that we had the same feet. LOL!

  3. Linda Samuels on June 10, 2019 at 8:06 am

    These are amazing photos of the Thorton men! And such strong resemblances. I love noticing similarities in our family too. One of my favorite images was from when our younger daughter was born. It’s of me holding her and my mother holding both of us — the three generations connected by one embrace.

  4. Seana Turner on June 10, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Wow, the family resemblance really does some through! I have seen a few photos from “way back.” One that really struck me was a great, great grandfather who had an off-center chin, as I do. I was kind of glad to see that it was a family characteristic, rather than just a facial feature to dislike. Now I sort of embrace it:)

  5. Nancy Haworth on June 10, 2019 at 9:46 am

    The resemblances in your family are amazing. It is wonderful that you have found photos going back so many generations. I resemble my mother’s side of the family, I look very similar to photos of both my mother, one aunt and a female cousin when they were my age. My mother resembled her father, so I also resemble my grandfather in the face at least. He was bald, so we thankfully don’t have that in common!

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