The most common question I receive regarding old family photographs is how to date them. I’ve asked this in the past as well. After all, dating a photograph is the first step in being able to identify the individual(s).
These are some of my favorite and “go-to” resources for dating photographs.
Top 10 Resources to Help Date Your Old Photographs
- PhotoTree.com– The Gallery and Case Studies section is fantastic for helping you identify your ancestors by fashion.
- Library of Congress: Photos, Prints, and Drawings Collection – The LOC is a good place to find period photographs for comparisons.
- Researching Old Photo Studios to Identify 19th Century Photographs by Ancestral Findings
- Pictures of the Civil War on the NARA website
- Daguerreotype Flickr Group – Almost 2,000 daguerreotypes. Includes a discussion board to ask your questions.
- FamilyOldPhotos.com – Over 32,000 vintage photographs to search by surname and location.
- Gentleman’s Emporium – Good site for learning about men’s fashions through the decades and using fashion to date photographs.
- Fashion-Era.com – Good site for learning about women’s fashions through the decades.
- Pinterest – Lots of boards on specific fashion eras can be found on Pinterest. Simply enter your search terms and find your results. (Example: Search for “fashion 1860’s” for Civil War era fashions.)
- Maureen Taylor books – Maureen has written fabulous resource books on dating old photographs. Examples include Hairstyles 1840-1900 and Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats, 1840-1900
Now get out your photographs. Get to work dating them and you are on your way to identifying those unknown individuals.
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