Genealogy Sleuthing: How to Date Old Family Photos

The photographs are all sizes. Some are obviously older photographs. Who are the individuals in the photographs? Are the individuals family members? Most likely, but if not, the photograph was obviously treasured to have been kept throughout the years. Who owned the photograph s before you? How did the photograph s come into your possession? The answers to these questions can narrow down which side of the family the photograph s belonged. Email and social media make it easier to contact more distant relatives. Reach out to those distant cousins.

Historical Fashion Expert Helps Time Date Your Old Family Photos

Hats from Provides vintage photograph restoration, books, and photo dating tips to genealogists and historians. If you have a box of unlabeled photographs in your basement or attic, you aren’t alone. Most families pass down photos that aren’t labeled, and it takes a Have you ever considered using Pinterest for your Genealogy and family history research?

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Dating old photographs can be difficult at times. Explore resources for dating cabinet cards, daguerreotypes and other old family photos. Relatives started cleaning out their closets and sending me the old family photographs! I received literal boxes of family photographs. Some arrived by email. Some photos arrived by snail mail. The challenge began when I realized a number of photographs were not labeled, and I had no idea who the individuals were.

I had to learn how to analyze those old family photos. The first step was to lean how to date those photographs.

Using Women’s Collars to Date Old Family Photos

What do you really know about the old photographs you have of your ancestors? Do you have names and dates to go with each? How sure are you of the information you do have? There are ways to examine photographs which can help place the date of a photo within a couple of years.

So, what can you do with an old photograph and no date? Well, you can deduce that date, and our site is going to help you! Photographs are filled with evidence.

There is something about being able to look an ancestor in the eye—we make a connection to the people we can identify by both name and face. We search for traces of ourselves in their faces. We wonder what they were thinking or doing, or why that photograph was taken on that particular day. Sometimes the people in the photograph are not who we think they are. Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

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Dating Historic Images

Old family photographs are a treasured part of any family history. Many of them, unfortunately, do not come neatly labeled on the back with names, dates, people or places. The photographs have a story to tell Solving the mystery faces and places in your old family photographs requires knowledge of your family history, combined with good old fashioned detective work.

If not, knowing how to date old photos may help you identify your family members pictured. Before , there were five types of photographic.

Here are several sites that can help you put your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the right branches of your family tree. Here are some places where you can pick up a few style cues to help you ID your own vintage family photographs! Wikipedia The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia provides a nicely detailed collection of articles about the many eras of clothing fashion. Here are direct links to the sections dedicated to the time since photography was possible: s s s s s s s s s s — — s.

Flickr collections by era These contributed photographs are grouped by decade, and the multitude of images will provide you with a helpful frame of reference to compare your vintage photos. Topics include evening attire, fashion accessories and even bathing costumes and undergarments. Vintage hairstyles A look at how women wore their hair in eras past, illustrated with photos of modern recreations.

History of Photography: Identifying Old Family Photos

A fine Victorian family group but not much use unless you have some idea of the main people in the picture. Here we appear to have a Victorian patriarch, centre front, with his wife on his right , his sons and daughters possibly with their spouses and either his mother or his mother-in-law, next to the young boy. The young men all look to be in their 30s but probably range from 20 upwards.

Clothes can help identify the period in which a picture might have been taken — but not always. The stern preacher on the left is clearly dressed in the frock coat and clerical collar of the late 19th century — but he is still wearing the coat, below, 20 or more years later. This was not the case in the mid s when, even though cameras were used for family snapshots, every picture had to count on a exposure roll of film.

use to date old photographs. We offered to date up to submis- sions. We received about and, in fact, we responded to them all. We were not able to help.

Identifying an old photo isn’t as hard as you would think it would be. There are a few easy ways to identify old photos given how fast the photographic processes changed during the late s and early s. Here’s quick guide on How to Date Old Photos for photos from the ‘s – For more recent photos, you’ll need to rely on clues from the photo itself:.

Its popularity peaked in period from , and began to wane in the following years. The process involved polishing a sheet of silver-plated copper, treating it with fumes, and exposing it to a camera to fix the image to the metal — this resulted in an image that appears to be fixed on to a mirror. If you have a photo that is cased, has a mirror-like quality where the image changes based on the angle, and the back of it looks like it has some copper and silver elements, you have a daguerrotype, which means likely a photo.

There are ways to date the images inside this range, but let’s stick to the basics for now and move on to the next type: Ambrotypes. Ambrotypes are similar to daguerrotypes in that they were often preserved in similar cases.

How to Date an Old Photograph

Dolores’s interest in fashion history dates from her teenage years when vintage apparel was widely available in thrift stores. Trying to identify ancestors while looking at old photographs can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have one of those families where the same face reappears every generation or so. One method is to study what kind of clothing a subject is wearing in a portrait. This is easiest if the subject is female as women’s fashions change more quickly than for men.

In general, old photos of family members were posed and often taken by professional photographers. Even when people began to use their own cameras, subjects were often posed.

Many that can be dated and analysed fall into the mid-late Victorian and Edwardian eras and can help you determine who the person in the photograph relates.

Learn the basic techniques that can be used to date and identify old photographs. A methodology will be presented that includes techniques for analyzing the type of photograph, the subject and setting, the occasion, and the location of a photograph. Techniques will also be presented that can be used to identify the people in your old photographs once an approximate date has been established. Preservation supplies and techniques for storing and scanning old photos will be discussed. Attendees are encouraged to bring one or two photos of their own that they would like assistance dating or identifying.

Learn advanced research methods and techniques for identifying the subject and setting,. Read More. We will discuss the kinds of records that can be created when divorce occurs and we will also. Learn how to identify and date fashions from the midth to the early 20th centuries. Become your family’s archivist and learn how to identify, preserve and share your family’s artifacts.

Finding skeletons in your family history may be disconcerting, but can also provide an unusual. We will review the most common methodologies for research organization, and provide guidelines.

How to Date Old Photographs