History of Photography: Identifying Old Family Photos

New online vintage hat archive helps date old family photos. To be honest, I almost didn’t finish writing this blog post. Yesterday, I discovered an online tool to colourize my old family photos — and I have been distrac. Dating old photographs provides clues to identifying your ancestors in the old family photos. The type of photo indicates the date a photo was taken. Learn more from the Photo Detective about her most popular topics: identifying historical photographs, Civil War photography, 19th century fashion and more.

Genealogy research: Dating vintage photographs by clothing & hairstyles

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.

Clues To Dating Old Photographs. There are a number of ways that can help you to pinpoint the age of a family photograph. This short video presented by the.

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. I had to determine how when a photograph was taken in order to be able to narrow down the possibilities of who the individuals were. Dating old photographs is a topic many of you are interested in based on the emails I receive. It is one of the most common questions I receive about photographs.

How to Date Old Photos

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.

Check old directories (Sands for Sydney and Sands & McDougall for WW2 aerial photos of Sydney and some suburbs can help date buildings and.

Introduction : In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak shows how you can date old, undated family photos by first figuring out what type of photograph they are, and uses old newspapers and other sources to illustrate different types of photos. Mary is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background.

Do you have a box of old, undated family photos somewhere up in the attic—or maybe buried in the back of some closet? Have you wondered how you were ever going to figure out who these family members might be, since the old photographs lack inscriptions or dates? Genealogy is a lot like detective work, gathering clues to make the pieces of your family puzzle fit together. Old, undated family photographs are pieces of evidence, clues that—if you examine closely enough—might yield some answers.

By knowing a little of the history of photography, you might be able to solve the mystery of those old photos by first recognizing what type of photograph they are—which in turn will help you narrow down the date range for when the photo was created. This blog article will help you do that. Evening Star Washington, D. It was created with a camera obscura, a device used by artists to project images on a wall or screen.

After a long eight-hour exposure time, the image became affixed. Perhaps your family pictures are identified—but in all likelihood many are not, so narrowing time periods for the creation of each photo is important in trying to date them. Some of my earlier GenealogyBank Blog posts provided other tips for dating undated photographs, including one showing how historical newspapers can assist greatly with photo dating by comparing the clothing of people in your undated photos to clothing styles shown in old newspaper advertisements.

See a list with links to these photography-related blog posts at the end of this article.

Using Women’s Collars to Date Old Family Photos

Commercial portrait photography began in the s and old family photographs can portray ancestors from the early-Victorian era onwards. Many historic photos surviving today are undated and unidentified and we can use various methods to work out their time period:. This can help, but studio data may be elusive, patchy or too broad to pinpoint a close date for a given photograph. All available evidence should be considered, but often most useful for accurate photo dating are the picture clues, especially the fashions worn by their subjects: clothes, accessories and hairstyles.

Most genealogists have a box full of unidentified photographs, usually passed down from generation to generation. Dating your photographs can possibly help​.

Being able to determine the approximate date and time of photographs may confirm existing research or lead you to discover new ancestors in your family tree. Betty has selected a handful of beautiful photos submitted by our community members and has provided her insights below to help color in the story of their ancestors.

I would date this picture about because of the huge circumference of the hat. One thing to note, when fashions reach their most extreme they usually change dramatically to the exact opposite. In , triangular shaped hoops had replaced the bird-cage shaped hoop skirts of the Civil War Era. For little girls, long pantaloons were out of style, replaced by loose drawers which showed an inch or so under their skirts.

Historical Fashion Expert Helps Time Date Your Old Family Photos

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.

When you’re ready to take on the challenge, these five steps will get you started in style.

Here are sites that can help you put your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the Vintage fashions – dating photographs – genealogy years old | | | s | s | s | s | s.

Dating an old photo is key to correctly identifying the person in it. I sat down with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective , for her tips on where to get started when dating old photographs. Maureen also discussed the importance of researching the photographer. City directories can be a big help in this. How can you tell in a black and white photo? Maureen explained to me that blue eyes show up pale in black and white photographs.

Good to know! Disclosure: the link to Amazon is an affiliate link, which means that I earn a little bit when you purchase through there. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Uh-oh, you mean this could become addictive? I just bought my first flea market bible because it had old photos inside, in great condition. No names, but I had to see if I could find out who they are and maybe connect them to a living family member!

If you received my previous email from tonight, I apologize.

3 Things to Look at When Dating Old Photos

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.

Dating and Identifying Your Old Family Photographs If you need help organizing and preserving your lifetime of photos, videos, and.

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. In the century before most people did not even have the luxury of a camera and relied on special trips to the photographer for family portraits. These might be a once-in-a-lifetime visit for some families and there are plenty who could not even afford that once.

If you do have old family pictures, hopefully with some form of identification as to the people in them, then take care of them. You have to remember that in Victorian times styles of clothing made some people look much older than they were. Children often wore similar styles to their parents and with the penchant for beards among men until almost the end of the century it could be difficult to tell whether two men were father and son or brothers.

AF-025: Identifying Old Photographs: How to Do It and How It Can Help Your Research


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