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Top 10 Resources for Dating Old Photographs
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.
Victorian dress styles were complex, determined by age, status and location: fashion also accelerated between the s and s. Here is a brief guide to the main trends.
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.
Historical Fashion Expert Helps Time Date Your Old Family Photos
Print Reply. In other words is that his Wife? My Grandmother? On the wall next to him.
ating Old Photographs & More Dating Old Photographs Two Great Reference you will be able to compare clothing and hair fashions, the poses adopted by the.
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. People dressed their best for these portraits in new, fashionable garments. Pictures of younger women typically show contemporary style trends. Older women often stick to older styles. You may see this stereotype portrayed in older movies and TV shows where old women wore costumes that were a generation outdated.
If the subject of your picture lived in a city, clothing style will better reflect the style of the day than if she lived in a rural area. People on the higher end of the economic spectrum also appear more fashionable than the less well off. That is not to say that all older, rural, or lower class people were way behind the time. Sometimes the lag was only a few years.
How to date family photographs
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.
Vintage fashions – dating photographs – genealogy. Here are years old | | | s | s | s | s | s.
When photographs are passed down through generations of families, sometimes the stories of the people in the images become fragmented or lost. If you find yourself with a collection of photographs that lack contextual information, there are a number of clues you can look out for. The most effective way to date photographs is to combine historical analysis with knowledge of different photography techniques and materials through time. Here at The National Archives, we have teams who specialise in both areas and in this blog, Visual Collections Researcher Katherine Howells and Conservator of photographs and paper Ioannis Vasallos share their tips.
You can also look out for handwritten notes on the back of the photograph such as names, events or locations. Look also at sleeves — is there a puff at the shoulder? And hairstyles — consider the parting, fringe and accessories. There are plenty of online resources on the history of fashion which can assist you in identifying the different elements.
The presence of an individual in uniform can make the process of dating the photograph easier. This is the case for photographs taken in the 20th century, when uniforms become more standardised. However, for earlier photographs, uniforms can sometimes add to the mystery. These seemingly small details may provide a vital clue that draws your research together! Sitting down with somebody and giving them time to reminisce over a photograph may be the most fruitful thing you can do.
Tinder, the Fast-Growing Dating App, Taps an Age-Old Truth
It is best to call ahead or check with organizer’s websites to verify the status of any local event. Learn basic tips on dating your family photographs taken between – By the end of the session you’ll have the tools and confidence to help you with sorting through your photographs. Learn more about your Victorian female ancestors through this talk on women’s fashions.
You may have inherited old photographs in perfect condition or maybe a photograph of a photograph or Xerox copy and want to know the date. The very first.
I’m just now starting to archive all the photos my Mom has. Most of the ones we are doing now are the real old ones—her family photos and my Dad’s family photos. The problem is she can’t always narrow down the date enough to come up with a year. So that’s causing me to have a lot of photos with ’19xx-xx-xx’ as the date. There aren’t really any other family members who will know the answer so I doubt if the dates will ever be completed. Any suggestions as to how to handle situations like this so I don’t have a long list of ’19xx’ photos?
Patty, you are certainly not alone. I would suspect that most family photo collections have a considerable amount of paper prints that weren’t dated or even captioned. Back then, it was probably so easy to think you would always be around to tell someone anything they wanted to know about your photos. But, now we know that simply isn’t the case.
How Women’s Fashion Can Help Date Old Photographs
Use costume history to date photos. Learn tips and hints and examples to help you to achieve a date within 5 years either way of the photo ‘s original date. This will make your genealogy research so much more meaningful to you and your family. Learn by example how to use your own detective skills to examine your photo in detail. See how close you can get to the date which in some cases you may be able to verify with documentation.
A Crowd scene of old Hebburn with children and women and men of all ages.
In part II of our series on how to date old family photos, we discuss how to use women’s fashion to date old photos in your genealogy research.
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Family photos: what are they wearing?
If you can see her ears it is the later s. Such cards usually have square corners. Men wore lounge suits with matching waistcoats by the middle of the decade.
Being able to determine the approximate date and time of photographs may confirm existing research or lead you to discover new ancestors in.
Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio settings changed over the years, we now look closely at what our forebears are wearing in old photographs. In any kind of portrait it is often the subject’s clothing that engages us most: fashion history is a fascinating topic and recognising the modes of different eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs.
Dress is a vast and complex subject, but here are some pointers to help with understanding, identifying and dating the clothing styles of those family members from the past who stood before the camera in their ‘Sunday best’. It was understood that clients visiting the photographer’s studio or, less commonly, those inviting a photographer to their home would be dressed in their best quality, most fashionable clothing. Wealthy subjects had many fashionable ensembles to choose from, whereas ordinary working-class ancestors usually donned their best outfit, kept for church on Sundays and special occasions.
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A group for people who love old photographs and need a date for them. narrow down a time frame by using clues such as photo medium, clothing, hairstyles.
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? I started using Pinterest for my family’s Edwardian Hairstyles. Revues et ouvrages anciens. Josie, six year old, Bertha, six years old, Sophie, 10 years old.