Most family historians have THAT box. The box always looks roughly the same. Not long after I took up genealogy in , I began inheriting boxes and bags like those, and they all had lots of photographs - old ones. The photographs from the latter half of the 20th century are easiest to identify. Most times, I know the subject; if not, the bell-bottoms or dark wall paneling scream As you move back in time, what gets harder to identify are the black-and-white photographs. Some have dates printed along their white borders; others have dates stamped on the back.
Morris and Robert Vaughn. Both websites detail the history of photography, including samples of various types of photography, such as daguerreotype, cabinet card and tintype.
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Another extensive online resource is the Library of Congress. Enter a photo type into its search engine and you will see many examples that may turn out to be similar to the photograph you are researching. Based on its size and composition, I confirmed that my picture was a tintype, a photographic technique that came into use in the mids and lasted until the turn of the century.
Knowing the type of photo can still leave a large time period, but if you know the subject of the photo, your genealogical research should be able to help you narrow that. When was the subject born?
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Did he live in a city or a small town? What work did he do?
Both the men in my photo are young, but one appears to be older than the other, and he has arm slung around his younger brother's shoulders. Both are holding cigars. The elder is wearing a watch chain and a pinky ring. Sadly, the age difference doesn't help me much.
Jun 27, In our latest post about dating your old family photographs, Colin Harding shows you how to identify cartes de visite-an ubiquitous collectable in the 19th century. To help you date your old family photographs, so far I've shown you how to spot daguerreotypes, collodion positives and ferrotypes. Sherlock COHN, The Photo Genealogist. Ava COHN, aka Sherlock COHN, The Photo Genealogist is the only professional genealogist to specialize exclusively in the analysis, dating and interpretation of Jewish family photographs, 19th & 20th centuries; Eastern European & American. Member of Association of Professional Genealogists. Great post, as usual. Fashions changed in the 19th century just as they did in the 20th. The changes were more subtle, though, and we're just not as familiar with the fashions of former centuries as we are with the 20th and 21st (please make skinny jeans- especially on guys- disappear!).
Michael was seven years older than Peter, who was seven years older than Timothy. But it does help me rule out a pairing of Michael and Timothy.
The site for the university's Landscape Change program offers a wealth of information about dating vintage/antique vogue during the 20th century. century in shoes; Photo dating by. DATING CARD MOUNTED PHOTOGRAPHS © [email protected] - HOME - Comments Card mounted photographs from the 19th and early 20th century, such as cartes-de-visites, cabinet cards and stereographs can be generally dated by their format and mount type. Having your photo taken was an event and wearing an out-of-date dress was unthinkable. To confuse matters, a few people, usually older ones, will occa-sionally be seen in an old dress. General Rules for Dating Old Photographs Try to work with one clue at a time. If there are both men and women in the shot, always start with the women.
I now turn to fashion to see if what these men are wearing can help me narrow the date range of the photo. Close examination of sleeves and collars can provide valuable information. Other things to look for on women are the presence and size of a bustle and the fullness of the skirt. For men, look at vests, neckties, the fit of a jacket loose or fitted and how it is buttoned. By examining the style of fashion worn by the subjects in an old photograph, it is possible to deduce the approximate date it was taken.
Since I'm no fashionistaI turned to websites such as Family Chroniclewhich also has published two books on dating photos, for help in matching styles with a particular era. Consulting experts such as Maureen Taylorwhose website includes a blog and provides teleseminars, are also a good resource. In my photo, both men are wearing loose-fitting jackets with wide lapels. The elder man is wearing a collarless shirt - too bad, because it's easier to date men's collars and neckties. The younger man is not wearing a necktie, but his shirt has a pointed, flat collar.
The jackets seem to indicate a photo taken in the s, but I'm still not certain. This is the time to turn to common sense. I knew from my earlier research that all three of my great-grandfather's brothers eventually wound up farming in Kansas, after stops in Washington, D. The tintype was taken in front of a painted background - hardly unusual for tintypes, but more likely found in St.
Most times, I know the subject; if not, the bell-bottoms or dark wall paneling scream As you move back in time, what gets harder to identify are the black-and-white photographs. Some have dates printed along their white borders; others have dates stamped on the back.
Dating 19th century photos
Great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles can also be identified, if not on sight, then by context. Then, you get to the most interesting photographs - the tintypes, the cabinet cards, and the carte-de-visite CDV photographs.
These are the photographs you wish you had had when your grandparents were alive to see them.
Sometimes, you can pick out some family resemblances and these provide valuable hints. Sometimes, you get really lucky and someone, long ago, labelled the photographs for posterity.
This photo of the King brothers is a tintype probably taken circa You may not think to look on the Internet for help in dating old photographs, but actually it's the best place to go. A variety of websites offer tips and tools, and they have the great advantage of being able to provide visual fatgirlnmotion.com: Tracee Hamilton. Dating Ancestor Photos Through Clothing and Hairstyles Civil War Era Fashions for Women Hair oils, Macassars, or pomatums were used by almost all men during the mid 19th century and gives the appearance of a wet look to the hair. This is how men achieved the various wings, swirls and rolls often seen in their hair in images of this period.
So, what do you do? In or so, I got a stack of tintypes one appears above, to the left from an aunt, who had gotten them from my grandmother 20 years earlier.
I had researched some genealogy at that point and knew that that branch of the family had come to Lowell in from Manchester, England. I also knew that tintypes like the one above spanned a fairly wide range of years, from to about or so.
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So, I knew that the photograph could be either English or American and that the woman could be an ancestor from any one of three generations. I looked for more clues. With a range of for the photograph, though, I still needed more clues to determine her identity.
Enter fashion. The same can be said for the 19th century. Instead, she wears her bangs in a style more prevalent right around I needed a little more confirmation before I set about looking for women born around in my family tree. I looked at the other photographs, and came across this one, in a different box. I recognized the background immediately - the bridge, the mountains.
I put the two photographs next to each and decided I had a match. Both photographs came from the same studio, most likely.
I was even ready to assume they had been taken on the same day. So, the woman from had a two-year-old child. From what I knew about the branch of the family, the most likely choices were Lowell, Massachusetts or Manchester, England.
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Do you recognize the background? I did too.
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Also see some sketches of vintage hairstyles here. If I needed more data points, other style cues I could research would be the fit of the dresses, the hairstyles, and their jewelry. By way of example, your relative might have been a trendsetter or perhaps she cared little about fashion and was always a few years behind.
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.