I have said it over and over again - REACH OUT and talk with your family members. You never know what you will find.
My great grandpa and great great grandpa were these unknowns to me. (I did have great photos of the grandmas.) I couldn't find anyone on the web related to them and I finally had to break down and contact a living family member who I had no idea if she would know who I was. She did though and has sent me SO much information that is priceless. When I opened the package from her, I sat and cried. It was the first time I had seen a photo of my great grandpa and one that I could really tell facial features of my great great grandpa.
Not only did she have lots of photos for me, some including me too, she sent personal histories. Here's the thing, not a single one is written by my direct ancestors. They are all written by my grandpa's cousins. Apparently my grandpa and his siblings didn't take the time to write down anything. I have decided that I can't let this happen. I have challenged my mom and aunt to write about their grandparents and parents. I too have taken up this challenge to write about my grandparents and parents.
Something that is priceless in these writings is putting in FULL NAMES and DATES. It is so frustrating to read a history that only uses a person's nick name. Just write out the full name once. Ages are good but only if you have their birth date as a starting point.
So my new challenge is to work on my personal history - which I may be posting here.