Dating old photographs family history

The closest US census to the date of this image is 1900.Using the advanced search features on genealogy websites such as and My Heritage, you can search records in a specific place with just a last name, or without any name at all.I’d start with the surname Findlay and the town in Iowa as a place of residence, then look for families of parents, three boys and two sisters.Of course, it’s possible that not all of this family’s children are in the picture and/or that some of these people are spouses, so Barbara can broaden her search to households that are close but don’t exactly match.Barbara has researched her family’s roots in the Midwest, and she thinks this might be her Findlay family of Iowa.She should list the places (including towns, if possible), where the family might have lived.Always judge by the younger women in the photograph if possible.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.

Then she can see if the family overlaps with her family dating series runs from the September through to November issues and each feature is illustrated with images that reflect the kinds of photos surviving in many family collections.These should answer some of your photographic queries and hopefully the ability to date images more reliably will help with identifying some of those mystery family members.The other women in the photo also have full upper sleeves, characteristic of the mid- to late-1890s.My book Family Photo Detective helps you “read” clothing clues to date old photos.

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It made me think of our feature on postcards in our Christmas issue written by photo dating expert Jayne Shrimpton that included a Christmas postcard from her collection.

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