Being able to determine the approximate date and time of photographs may confirm existing research or lead you to discover new ancestors in your family tree. Betty has selected a handful of beautiful photos submitted by our community members and has provided her insights below to help color in the story of their ancestors. I would date this picture about because of the huge circumference of the hat. One thing to note, when fashions reach their most extreme they usually change dramatically to the exact opposite. In , triangular shaped hoops had replaced the bird-cage shaped hoop skirts of the Civil War Era. For little girls, long pantaloons were out of style, replaced by loose drawers which showed an inch or so under their skirts. So, that is when I think this photo was taken. The key style clue here are her fancy pleated sleeve cuffs. In the mid s to early s, there was an emphasis on creatively designed cuffs that covered the mid-arm to the wrist. Her hair is surprisingly plain for such a fashionable outfit, leading me to guess that this photo was taken about , before plain, center-parted hair was replaced in the late s by hair that was fluffy on top with feathery bangs.
How to Date Old Ancestor Photographs with Early Photo Types
Tintype: Early image on a thin iron plate resembling tin. By far These metal and glass photographs were the dominant form of photography until albumen prints. The glass plates do not bear dating marks as with the Daguerreotype plates.
Most family historians have THAT box. The box always looks roughly the same. Not long after I took up genealogy in , I began inheriting boxes and bags like those, and they all had lots of photographs — old ones. The photographs from the latter half of the 20th century are easiest to identify. Most times, I know the subject; if not, the bell-bottoms or dark wall paneling scream As you move back in time, what gets harder to identify are the black-and-white photographs.
Some have dates printed along their white borders; others have dates stamped on the back. Great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles can also be identified, if not on sight, then by context.
How to Identify an Old Tintype Photo
Do you have a box of old family photos tucked away somewhere? Are they labeled? Do you know your ancestors pictured or where they fit on the family tree? If not, knowing a bit about the History of Photography may help you identify when the photo was taken and who the ancestor may be. Before , there were five types of photographic formats: Daguerreotypes , Ambrotypes , Tintypes , Carte-de-Visite and Cabinet Cards.
Below are descriptions of each format and the dates when they were most popular.
and new postcard photographs, the nineteenth-century ferrotype/tintype photograph was also current in Tintypes (images on thin pieces of iron) were often.
Do you have questions about your vision health? Two young men stare out at me from a small old photograph. On the back, in my grandmother’s handwriting, is written “Grandpa King’s brothers. At least I’ve got some information to work with, but I’m eager to learn more: When was the picture taken? Which two of my great-grandfather’s brothers are these?
Michael and Peter?
Developing skills for identifying vintage photos
Here are several sites that can help you put your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the right branches of your family tree. Here are some places where you can pick up a few style cues to help you ID your own vintage family photographs! Wikipedia The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia provides a nicely detailed collection of articles about the many eras of clothing fashion.
Shop for-and learn about-Antique Tintype Photographs. Tintype is the Martha Topping Photo Album dating help Prt 3: Metal Photos/Tintypes? themuse2 years.
Although not exactly like pictures we encounter today, tintype photographs set the stage for photography in our era. Tintypes began in when an Ohio chemistry professor Hamilton Smith patented the tintype image. Before tintypes existed, the two main types of photographic images, the daguerreotype and the ambrotype, were created by treating glass with light sensitive collodin. The process to create these images was expensive and difficult.
When tintypes became available commercially, photographers were easily swayed by the durability, inexpensiveness, and easier emulsion process of the tintype which led to the downfall of images on glass. Tintype images are taken on iron plates which are treated with an enamel to prevent rusting. Earlier tintypes are noted to be treated with a black enamel while later ones were treated with a brown enamel.
History of Photography: Identifying Old Family Photos
The tintype was an early Victorian photographic process which enjoyed huge popularity in the United States of America after its introduction in the late s but it never achieved the same acceptance in Great Britain. Note the crazing of the collodion surface across the plate and the bubbling and rusting around the outside perimeter. In contrast, in the International Center of Photography in New York staged a dedicated exhibition entitled America and the Tintype which featured several hundred examples from both the Permanent Collection of the I.
Further more, the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, currently includes a prominent display of tintypes in its history of photography gallery, directly adjacent to an American daguerreotype and also a calotype by D. Hill and Robert Adamson who formed the first Scottish photographic studio.
Fantastic hand colored antique tintype photo of a man and woman couple. This portrait is truly wonderful and would look fabulous in a frame. This dates circa.
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.
Reach out to those distant cousins. Skipping this step is tempting, but avoid that temptation! Could the photograph s be of her sisters, parents, or cousins? Check with your cousins, aunts, uncles…. You may not have much oral history in your family or a large extended family to ask.
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?
A look at the history of tintype photography and how photographers can start Group portrait taken at Pease’s Nantasket, date unknown.
Such cards usually have square corners. Men wore lounge suits with matching waistcoats by the middle of the decade. The photographs look like they are wearing heavy furnishing rather than dresses. The cardboard is thicker and old less flexible than a playing card and the printing on the date is typeset with clothing but usually one large word, and how a border, and the rest small and coloured inks may be used and a logo may appear.
These photo from the s. Some still show full length and a carpet in the early s. Norfolk jackets were popular as were more casual clothes. Ladies wore tight fitting jackets, high white collars or ruffs a brooch at the neck, lots of buttons in rows, tight fitting photos, odd little hats, fashion plain or curls usually pulled back.
The date of the card is quite filled with print, with medals, famous photos, branches, and could be artistic. Studio furniture and chairs look as if from a fine country house.
DATE AN OLD PHOTOGRAPH
A tintype , also known as a melainotype or ferrotype , is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the s and s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty and fine art form in the 21st. Tintype portraits were at first usually made in a formal photographic studio, like daguerreotypes and other early types of photographs, but later they were most commonly made by photographers working in booths or the open air at fairs and carnivals , as well as by itinerant sidewalk photographers.
Because the lacquered iron support there is no actual tin used was resilient and did not need drying, a tintype could be developed and fixed and handed to the customer only a few minutes after the picture had been taken. The tintype photograph saw more uses and captured a wider variety of settings and subjects than any other photographic type. It was introduced while the daguerreotype was still popular, though its primary competition would have been the ambrotype.
in , iron tintypes beginning in , and cartes de visite (or card photographs) There are so many clues that can help you date this old photograph: the.
Date antique photographs by the presence of a tax stamps. Learn more about tax stamps and when they were used to narrow the time frame of that photo. In your family history research, have you found old unidentified antique photographs in your collection? Are they daguerreotypes? Cartes des visites? But knowing who is in that photograph is another story. You must take time to learn about antique photographs and their distinguishing characteristics before you can start dating antique photographs and figuring out who is in that photo.