Tips for Genealogical Research



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 year)

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 photographs are:

More information can be found in "Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs," by Karen Frisch-Ripley and Unlocking Secrets in Old Photographs (Review by DearMYRTLE)

Thanks to Nan Wolf for submitting the above information to the Arrandol List. The author is unknown.

Return to Randolph County Research Links
Return to Randolph County Homepage