Tips for Genealogical
DATING OLD PHOTOGRAPHS
In searching for the identities of persons in old photographs,
sometimes it is helpful to first establish a time frame. Here are
ten ways to help date old photographs:
1- Many studio photographs have the name and/or address of the
studio printed on it. By using city directories, it is possible
to find out when the studio was in business at that address.
2- Clothing or uniforms--here are some Web sites that feature
some examples of period clothing.
3- Year and make of automobiles (also check license plates for
4- Arrangement in a photo album is many times chronological.
5- Look for correspondence that tells of vacations or trips, then
match photos with trips and get dates from letters or postmarks.
6- Architecture and decor of houses may also provide clues.
7- Match with other photos that have dates on them. See if you
can determine that the setting or person is the same as the
setting or person in a photo that has a date on it.
8- Look for photos within a photo that may provide clues.
9- Furnishings--check with antique shops.
10- Types of photos--Below are some photo types and estimated
years in which they were used.
- Daguerrotypes - 1840s to 1860s
- Ambrotypes 1850s to 1880s
- Tintypes 1850s to 1920s
- Pannotypes 1850s to 1860s
- Calotypes 1830s to 1880s
- Stereographs Civil War period
- Lantern Slides
- Albumen Prints 1850 to 1890
Other articles that may be helpful in identifying old
More information can be found in "Unlocking the Secrets
in Old Photographs," by Karen Frisch-Ripley http://ancestry.viamall.com/ancestry/unsecinoldph1.html
and Unlocking Secrets in Old Photographs (Review by DearMYRTLE) http://www.ancestry.com/columns/myrtle/april98/my980414.htm
Thanks to Nan Wolf
for submitting the above information to the Arrandol List. The
author is unknown.
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