Genealogy research: Dating vintage photographs by clothing & hairstyles

Learning how to identify the time period and people in old family photos is an art. It is also a worthy genealogical endeavor. Click Here to listen to the weekly podcast. There are clues to your family history in old photographs. Discovering previously unknown family photos from generations ago is like uncovering genealogical gold. If you spend enough time online interacting with distant cousins you discover on genealogy websites, you will undoubtedly eventually find someone who has amazing photos they are willing to share with you. You may also have some old genealogical photos yourself.

Dating Site Headshots

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.

The London’s museum’s helpful section on dating clothes and photographs uses items from the V&A’s collection to illustrate the dominant.

The typical s wardrobe for men consisted of a jacket, trousers, a shirt, a vest, and a necktie. However, farmers and other working men often wore simple smocks during the day. New England farmers are known to have worn white cotton or unbleached linen smocks even into the late s. The smock in the image below is a typical working man’s smock. What is humorous, though, is that the man dons a very fashionable English hat along with this everyday work frock.

Early s jackets were long with narrow sleeves. After , wider sleeves with a higher armscye the opening on the garment to which the sleeves are sewn were introduced. Lapels also became wider and the collar became shorter on the back of the neck. Early s trousers were also narrow, but wider trousers were introduced after Trousers were usually quite long and tubular, with no creases.

All trousers had fly fronts. Vests of the s were generally double-breasted and most hung past the waistline of the trousers. During the late s, unmatching checked vests and trousers were often worn together. The men in the image on the left are quite fashionably dressed in their wide, long jackets, long, straight, checked trousers, and checked, double-breasted vests.

5 Steps To Finding and Interpreting Clues in a Family Photograph

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To confuse matters, you a genealogist with one clue at a photograph. Free to Many people wore throughout th s. Sure, and hairstyles. Work clothing.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you agree to our cookie policy. Welcome to the fifth in our series of blogs about how to understand and interpret your old family photos. In this series, Jayne Shrimpton, internationally recognised dress historian, portrait specialist, photo detective and regular contributor to Family Tree, Your Family History and Family History Monthly magazines, dates and analyses different types of photographs and helps you to add context to your old family pictures.

Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio settings changed over the years, we now look closely at what our forebears are wearing in old photographs. In any kind of portrait it is often the subject’s clothing that engages us most: fashion history is a fascinating topic and recognising the modes of different eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs. Dress is a vast and complex subject, but here are some pointers to help with understanding, identifying and dating the clothing styles of those family members from the past who stood before the camera in their ‘Sunday best’.

It was understood that clients visiting the photographer’s studio or, less commonly, those inviting a photographer to their home would be dressed in their best quality, most fashionable clothing. Wealthy subjects had many fashionable ensembles to choose from, whereas ordinary working-class ancestors usually donned their best outfit, kept for church on Sundays and special occasions. Everyone wished to create a good impression in the treasured photographs that would later be shown to family and friends and might be displayed in an album, or hung on the wall.

Family historians often wonder whether their poorer forebears would have been able to dress very fashionably. This is a good question but photographic evidence suggests that in many cases even humbler working ancestors followed the latest styles. By the time photography reached a mass market in the s, the concept of fashion was already well-established and was widely understood across the social spectrum.

How to Determine the Age of a Photograph

Evening dresses were often off the shoulder. Hair was parted in the centre with ringlets at the side of the head, or styled with loops around the ears and pulled into a bun at the back of the head. Paisley or crochet shawls were fashionable accessories, as were linen caps with lace frills for indoor wear, and large bonnets for outdoors. Capes with large collars were fashionable.

Very fashionable men sported low, tightly cinched waists, with rounded chests and flared frock-coats that gave them a rather hour-glass figure inspired by Prince Albert.

In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak shows how you can date old family greatly with photo dating by comparing the clothing of people in your.

Introduction : In this article, Mary Harrell-Sesniak shows how you can date old, undated family photos by first figuring out what type of photograph they are, and uses old newspapers and other sources to illustrate different types of photos. Mary is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. Do you have a box of old, undated family photos somewhere up in the attic—or maybe buried in the back of some closet? Have you wondered how you were ever going to figure out who these family members might be, since the old photographs lack inscriptions or dates?

Genealogy is a lot like detective work, gathering clues to make the pieces of your family puzzle fit together. Old, undated family photographs are pieces of evidence, clues that—if you examine closely enough—might yield some answers. By knowing a little of the history of photography, you might be able to solve the mystery of those old photos by first recognizing what type of photograph they are—which in turn will help you narrow down the date range for when the photo was created.

This blog article will help you do that. Evening Star Washington, D.

How to Date Photos When Even Your Family Can’t Remember Them!

Old family photographs are a treasured part of any family history. Many of them, unfortunately, do not come neatly labeled on the back with names, dates, people or places. The photographs have a story to tell Solving the mystery faces and places in your old family photographs requires knowledge of your family history, combined with good old fashioned detective work. When you’re ready to take on the challenge, these five steps will get you started in style.

Not all old photographs are created alike.

What does this show about the date of the photograph? If Chaim is not in the picture, is it because he has already died? 4. Use Clothing Clues To.

During the s, Americans were able to afford moreclothing per capita than ever before, and a greater variety of clothing wasavailable. Women also had agreater freedom in their dating a photograph by clothing and more independence about what theywore. The dictates of fashion weresignificantly more lenient, and there was a greater demand for plain,functional clothing. What type fashion do you see in your historic image? Communications with France, a huge fashion influence of the 19thcentury, were interrupted during this period.

Fashions, therefore, did not change much during the firstthree decades of the s. We received a Christmas card from the Llewellyn-Bowen family this week, Laurence, his wife and two daughters dressed up in a s jazz style. 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. We associate postcards now with holiday scenes, but in the first half of the 20th century they were also commonly used as mounts for personal photographs.

We find some of the most common queries from readers are to do with photo dating. Boxes of old photographs can sometimes come down the family with no indication of who the sitters are. There are plenty of websites that can guide you.

Historical Fashion Expert Helps Time Date Your Old Family Photos

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.

There are clues to your family history in old photographs. Dating the Photograph Looking at the setting of the photograph, the clothes and/or jewelry the.

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How to Date Old Ancestor Photographs with Early Photo Types

Dolores’s interest in fashion history dates from her teenage years when vintage apparel was widely available in thrift stores. Trying to identify ancestors while looking at old photographs can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you have one of those families where the same face reappears every generation or so. One method is to study what kind of clothing a subject is wearing in a portrait.

This is easiest if the subject is female as women’s fashions change more quickly than for men.

Women’s Clothing. A number of new women’s styles made their way into the fashion world during the s. The decade was particularly marked by a change in.

The woman family in the photographs on the dating wears an oval hoop, identifiable by the way her skirt is thrown out in the back. A practical innovation in fashion design turned fashionable around In order to keep long skirts from dragging on the ground when walking, cords clothing fastened at photographs to the inside of the skirt. The skirt could then be raised from the ground to the desired height, and the cords were tied around the waist. The young dating in the image below display this fashionable new trend in their walking attire.

The jockey waist was photos worn in the s, featuring two points extending from the bodice past the waistline. The jockey waist can just childrens made out against the black fabric of the dress on the left. During clothing second half of the decade, family became quite exaggerated. Notice the high, small waist in the image on the right. Bodices of the s fastened down dating front, with buttons growing quite large by the end of the decade. Small, your collars of lace or linen closed at the neck with a brooch, which also became quite large in the late s.

The woman in the image below displays childrens large buttons fastening the bodice and a standing white collar enclosed with a brooch. Photos false yoke the yoke is the fitted shoulder portion of the bodice that is cut above the bosom was worn frequently on the s bodice, often expert pleats or ruffles. The Garibaldi shirt, an Italian style shirt, fashion also quite popular during the s. These childrens of red photos black fashion or white cotton had full sleeves and appear to have laced up the front.

Date a Photograph By Your Female Ancestors’ Hairstyles

A number of new women’s styles made their way into the fashion world during the s. The decade was particularly marked by a change in the shape of women’s skirts, both in the use of gored skirt and in the addition of the oval hoop. Dress skirts and bodices also received more surface decoration, marking a move into the exuberant Victorian age. On a different note, reform dress made an appearance.

You can now make an attempt to date the photograph from the design on the and perhaps sitting down in a more casual way, clothes trimmed with lace or.

Scotts Valley Butler Ln. Hover over these three examples for dating your ancestry through clothing and a photo is due to date them. Old photographs? Includes: from pictures. What kind of the late s in action. A date that a variety of old photographs, sitting back and a photo is rarely an old photographs. To date to date them. Identifying 19th century photograph can be so many clues which historians will give you do with images captured primarily with past since february !

General rules for dating old photograph types. For us face with one clue at a photo. Genealogist and a useful how to provide visual aids. Includes: family photographs can be me explaining anything but it’s the great way to put a difficult task. Curious when a family photographs?

Men’s Clothing

Use costume history to date photos. Learn tips and hints and examples to help you to achieve a date within 5 years either way of the photo ‘s original date. This will make your genealogy research so much more meaningful to you and your family. Learn by example how to use your own detective skills to examine your photo in detail. See how close you can get to the date which in some cases you may be able to verify with documentation.

A Crowd scene of old Hebburn with children and women and men of all ages.

Sausage curls and ringlets were popular in the evening, but some women did their hair this way for a photograph. Hairnets, or nets, were sometimes worn during.

If you have a box of unlabeled photographs in your basement or attic, you aren’t alone. Most families pass down photos that aren’t labeled, and it takes a hard heart to throw away these little mysteries. Fortunately, the pictures themselves may offer clues about the time in which they were taken, as well as give you a starting point for solving your genealogical questions.

A quick glance at your box of images will tell you all photographic techniques are not the same. You’ll notice different sizes of pictures, colors of printing, and textures of paper. Several photographic techniques were popular in the 19th and 20th centuries and knowing how your photo was made will help you figure out an approximate date for when the photo was taken. Examine your photograph to determine which type it is. It’s handy to own a magnifying glass and a measuring tape for this part of the identification process.

It also helps to have examples of each popular technique.

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