Genealogy dating of old photographs
Always be very careful when removing a photograph that has been stuck into an album.Again, there’s lots of advice online (I particularly like the idea of using dental floss behind the photo and a gentle sawing action).
Clues can be found in the type of photograph itself, as well as what is contained in the image such as studio props and in the clothes worn by the sitter. This book seeks to familiarize readers with possible dating clues from the beginning of studio photography in the 1840's up to the years immediately after the Second World War.This card, sent from the Sudan in 1941, features a photograph of a soldier inserted into a festive mount.We find some of the most common queries from readers are to do with photo dating.Older women are much more likely to be conservative and still be wearing a favourite dress from ten years ago! This can be difficult as there were whole decades of the 19th century when women had a centre parting but when a new fashion comes in with hairstyle it is quicker for people to update than clothing. Of course, it is worth looking at everything that the men in the photograph are wearing but how you tied your cravat or the shape of your collar was something that was cheaper and easier to update than a whole suit, so more likely to reflect the date of the photograph. Dating military photographs can often lead to relatively precise results and this is when people with expert knowledge really come into their own.The National Army Museum runs regular photo dating sessions and there will be military photo daters at this year’s Who Do You Think You Are? It’s also worth posting images on specialist forums such as Victorian Wars, the Great War forum or our own WDYTYA? This might seem obvious, but if a photograph is stuck in an old album or framed up on the wall, it may be that nobody has looked on the back for years.
Boxes of old photographs can sometimes come down the family with no indication of who the sitters are.