Dorothea Lange - and her incredible Photographs
and the Baynes Family Store  (Yancey descendants)


[Copy of an email sent out may 2014 by Dennis Yancey]

A month or so back – I sent out an email – focusing on the impressive photos of Dorothea Lange – a photographer of the early 1900s’.


Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography.


I didn’t know until this last week – that one of Lange’s more famous photos – actually has Yancey connections.
The Baynes Family Store Front – pictured below and with an artist’s rendition at the bottom– shows one Rainey Baynes standing in the doorway of the Baynes store in Gordonton, Person County, North Carolina – in 1939.  Rainey Baynes was a Yancey descendant – tracing his line back to one John Baynes and Mary Yancey of early North Carolina.  


Lange’s store front photo has become a classic among her thousands of photos.


Many of the city/counties where Lange photographed were counties where Yanceys resided.

Yanceys would have connected with many of the themes, families, places of focus in Lange’s work.


Much of her powerful photos focus on those facing the adversity of just trying to make ends meet,  just to provide for their families - - in the era of the great depression - -  when times were difficult for most  - and desperate for many.

Even the story of Dorotheas own life is an interesting one – of struggle with adversity.


Also of interest in many of the photos of North Carolina – is that of tobacco farming – and how it affected almost every aspect of life in some way.  Another theme is inter and side by side - -racial relations of the period.  Share cropping, Tenant Farming and Migrant workers were a major focus of her work.  


Take a look at some of her photos - -  take your time, note the detail,  note the powerful story that must exist behind each photo.


These photos also speak of the importance that it is to preserve photos of the past – especially family photos that attempt to show what life was really like for the family in question.


I challenge each of you to do what you can to preserve family photos and genealogical material – so as to be accessible to future generations.   If you have any specific needs in this area – please feel free to discuss it with me.


Dennis Yancey

The Yancey Family Surname Resource Center








Photographer Dorothea Lange pictured in Texas, circa 1934.
"She had an extraordinary power to connect with all sorts of
people, to draw them out," says author Linda Gordon.


Probably the most famous of Dorothy Lange’s photos.



Photos from Person County, North Carolina


Photos from Granville County, North Carolina


Photos from Wake County, North Carolina


Photos from Chatham County, North Carolina


Migrant Workers during the depression years


More Photos


to look for Dorothea Lange photos do a google image search on Dorothea Lange and some other keyword such as your county/state of interest.






Additional Baynes Family Data


Baynes Family Bible


Baynes Data on Rootsweb


Thornton Yancey Baynes data