is there a way to estimate the year a photo was taken?

+3 votes
119 views
I have an old photo that I'm was taken in the late 1800's. I have the original photo, frame and all, but there are no names attached to it. My grandmother thought the photo was of her grand mom's family. Another cousins, that I recently got in touch with, has a copy of the same family. However her mom thinks its a photo of a different side of the family. I have no way of knowing which side of the family is correct. If I could get an independent estimate of when the photo was taken, this might help me solve this mystery. I've heard that there are people/professionals that can identify when a photo was taken based on the style of photo and what people where wearing. Is this the case, and how do I find these folks? Thanks in advance for any help!
in The Tree House by Alex Stronach G2G6 Pilot (312k points)
If you upload the photo to a profile or free space page, then put the link to it in your question, there are people on WikiTree (I'm not one of them, though) who are very, very good at estimating age of photos and one or more of them will probably be able to give you some good advice.

1 Answer

+2 votes
Start with the photo itself and the frame. Is the frame one of those folders that come from the photography studio or a regular frame the photo has been put in? If it is a folder, examine it carefully for the name of the studio. Next, very carefully, examine the edges and back of the photo itself. Sometimes you will find either the name of the studio, a location, or at least a logo. If you can figure out the studio, you can research that and try to narrow down both the location and the time frame in which the photo was taken. Both are important.

Now as to finding people who can help you identify time by dress and the like, start by locating an archivist. Is there a university or large public library near you? They may have an archivist.  Or look for a local genealogical society. You may find someone there who can help you identify the time period of the clothing.

Other hints can be found in the way the photo itself has aged.

Look for a local photo restorer.  They may be able to help you on that angle.

If you are good at noticing differences and similarities yourself, you can look at old vintage clothing website and maybe narrow it down some yourself.
by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (97.9k points)

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