Dating clothing in old photos

The processing dates at the back of the photographs are sometimes engraved at the back of the photos, sometimes which could be overlooked if the photograph dates back to a very long time. However, upon careful scanning the missing dates could be revealed in many cases. Pay attention to details and you can date old photos accurately. Also, it is important to look at the packaging material of the photograph carefully, the date of issue could be found on the envelopes containing the photographs.


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The negative holders contain the date of the photographs taken; upon looking closely this could be of help when the dates are present nowhere else. The imprint of the photographer would also give the name of the studio which could be located upon knowing the city the photo was taken in, and also with the help of local directories found in the libraries. Each clue uncovered will help you date old photos. Organizing the photographs of an ancestor makes it easy to start studying the ageing process of the people present in them.

Dating and Identifying Your Old Family Photographs

Also, if the pictures are of some special accomplishments, or birthdays, there could be some clued present that would lead to the identification of the date of the photograph taken. The baby photos of an ancestor, the high school photos and the grad school pictures could easily be divided into different groups to create an album in chronological order. Not only would you have to study the ageing process of the ancestors in order to identify the approximate date of the photographs taken, but also the settings and the tiny details that usually go unnoticed in pictures.

The backdrop of the family photographs may contain objects such as the furniture, wall hangings etc that one could identify based on the era they were present in the house and these clues added with various other ones could lead to the date of the photograph of the ancestors. Another good idea which may help date old photos is to look at the vehicles and other items that surround the background of the photo.

Backgrounds often show vehicles, farm machinery, furniture, signage marketing, products or other which may help you pinpoint an era. A magnifying class can also be a useful tool to dive deep into your photo.

How to Date Old Photographs by the Costume

If you are in search of further help, the antique automobile club of america can provide you with lost of old car photos and a forum which can be quiet useful. Studying the costumes of these photographs of the ancestors could help in understanding the time and era of the picture taken, add the hairstyles and other accessories to it so to make it not only a knowledgeable but also an interesting experience to get involved in the lives of ancestors. Like the CDV, the cabinet card was also an albumen print on thin paper and mounted on thicker paper.

The primary difference is the size. The cabinet card reached its peak popularity in the s but was used into the early s. Have you ever remembered when a photograph was taken of you based on your hairstyle or on the clothes you wore? Narrowing the date range a photograph was taken will narrow down the potential candidates the people can be. The photograph below the cabinet card from above dates to the early s. This photograph of Mary Elizabeth Scott below was taken in the early — mids.

Notice the center part with the bangs. Her hair is pulled into a bun in the back. The bodice of her dress along with the narrow sleeve is also indicative of this time period. She wears a typical hairstyle of the day with a middle part and the hair styled over the ears. Her full skirt and the fuller sleeves were common in the fashions of Civil War women. Where do you find examples of hairstyles and fashions from different time periods?

Dating and Identifying Your Old Family Photographs | The Photo Organizers

What type of photograph is it? Research the hair and clothing fashions you find. With this information, you will be able to estimate the date your photograph was taken and begin to narrow down who could possibly be in the photograph. Lisa believes researching your genealogy does not have to be overwhelming. All you need is a solid plan, a genealogy toolbox, and the knowledge to use those tools. Passionate about genealogy research and helping others find resources and tools to confidently research their genealogy, Lisa can be found at LisaLisson. This is a great article.

I only wish I had images as old as Daguerrotypes in my family collection. They must have been handed down to the wrong descendents not me if there were any at all.


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  6. Hi please help me know the year in which this photo of our grandmother has been taken. It has been taken somewhere in Ghana, west Africa.

    Thank you so much. This is such a great article on dating old photos.

    I have one more suggestion — I have been successful in dating some of my cabinet cards by cross referencing the photographer in the city directory of the time period, noting what years that photographer appeared at the particular address printed on the card. Thought you might like to see the earliest in my collection, a carte de visite taken in , my great-great grandmother, Katherine Sheets Faust, age 17 luckily for me on this one, her name and age had been written on the back.

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