Is it possible to determine whether a photograph was taken in the last years of the nineteenth century or the first few years of the twentieth century?
Dating a photograph requires you to use your best genealogical research techniques, but it can be done.
In my photo, both men are wearing loose-fitting jackets with wide lapels.
You need to research every photographic clue and follow the leads to uncover the truth that is usually hidden in the elements of the photograph.
Photographs offer many clues about ancestral lives, if you know what to look for.
In order to accurately date a photograph based on clothing, it is important to compare your photograph with others taken around the same time.
Two young men stare out at me from a small old photograph. A variety of websites offer tips and tools, and they have the great advantage of being able to provide visual aids.
The image is on a silver clad copper sheet which was then sealed inside a wooden case or a frame under glass to protect it.
Tintypes This inexpensive photo process was similar to the Ambrotype, but instead of using a glass plate, the tintype image was processed on a thin sheet of blackened iron – not tin.
When dating an image, bear in mind that it takes several pieces of information to assign a date, and one definite piece of data is not enough.
This becomes essential when trying to work with an image that is a copy of an earlier photograph or a picture in which the costume clues imply one timeframe but the genealogical information suggests another.
See also: Safely store, display your old family photographs.
Another extensive online resource is the Library of Congress.
The year 1900 featured many types of clothing details, so look for these clues when examining your family photographs: If your photograph contains the name of the photographer, one of the first things you want to do is research when they were in business.