Dating old photos clothing

The carte de visite gained popularity quickly during the Civil War as soldiers and family exchanged photographs. Cabinet cards and carte des visites CDV are often confused. Like the CDV, the cabinet card was also an albumen print on thin paper and mounted on thicker paper. The primary difference is the size. The cabinet card reached its peak popularity in the s but was used into the early s. Have you ever remembered when a photograph was taken of you based on your hairstyle or on the clothes you wore?

Narrowing the date range a photograph was taken will narrow down the potential candidates the people can be. The photograph below the cabinet card from above dates to the early s. This photograph of Mary Elizabeth Scott below was taken in the early — mids. Notice the center part with the bangs. Her hair is pulled into a bun in the back. The bodice of her dress along with the narrow sleeve is also indicative of this time period. She wears a typical hairstyle of the day with a middle part and the hair styled over the ears.

How to Date Old Photos - Daguerreotype, Cabinet Card, Tintype - Geneal

Her full skirt and the fuller sleeves were common in the fashions of Civil War women. Where do you find examples of hairstyles and fashions from different time periods? What type of photograph is it? Research the hair and clothing fashions you find. With this information, you will be able to estimate the date your photograph was taken and begin to narrow down who could possibly be in the photograph.

Lisa believes researching your genealogy does not have to be overwhelming. All you need is a solid plan, a genealogy toolbox, and the knowledge to use those tools. Passionate about genealogy research and helping others find resources and tools to confidently research their genealogy, Lisa can be found at LisaLisson. This is a great article. I only wish I had images as old as Daguerrotypes in my family collection. They must have been handed down to the wrong descendents not me if there were any at all.

Hi please help me know the year in which this photo of our grandmother has been taken. It has been taken somewhere in Ghana, west Africa. Thank you so much. This is such a great article on dating old photos. I have one more suggestion — I have been successful in dating some of my cabinet cards by cross referencing the photographer in the city directory of the time period, noting what years that photographer appeared at the particular address printed on the card.


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Thought you might like to see the earliest in my collection, a carte de visite taken in , my great-great grandmother, Katherine Sheets Faust, age 17 luckily for me on this one, her name and age had been written on the back. Your email address will not be published.


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  • Dating and Identifying Your Old Family Photographs | The Photo Organizers.
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  • Old Photo of Mourning Clothes.
  • Notify me of follow-up comments by email. To persons reading this - from a genealogical point of view I am able to put you in contact with the owner of this picture if necessary. And thank you Lindsay for allowing me to use such lovely examples as these beautiful old photographs on my fashion-era web site. All these individuals work hard to help others understand the nuances between costume. The photograph shown here is an example of a crowd scene at the turn of the 20th century.

    It's a wonderful picture and I am showing it here to enable you readers to see how to analyse your own picture. My technique of using the costume as the main point of reference, may help you to date your own picture to within 5 years. In this example I believe that I have dated this photograph to within one year.

    To do this can be something of a tall order, because a photograph such as this might take several days of thinking time. Then after I have mulled over it, several hours of actual close study of the detail. This picture of old Hebburn was kindly sent to me by Norman Dunn who has a website of old photographs he has been collecting for many years. All pictures enlarge on this page and this picture is superb when enlarged. I've been studying this photograph now for some hours, because it really does interest me in getting the date right.

    Even at first glance, it is clear that this picture is a superb representation of Edwardian middle class folk, with some working class folk; the key point is that all the people are dressed in the fashions of the day. The scene suggests they are either waiting for someone special to visit, such as the King or Queen, alternatively, that they are awaiting with serious intent for bad news of some accident, such as a mining or factory disaster.


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    Another possibility is that they are awaiting transport to take them on a trip for the day. If the year was slightly later I might think they were seeing men off to war. Another point to be aware of is that at least some of the crowd may old fashioned, and behind the times in their dress. I'd say the photograph was taken in Spring as they all wear coats, but also fashionable Spring-like hats, which could be Easter Bonnets for Mothering Sunday.

    When dating a costume picture by dress, I always seek out the most fashionable details, which are generally found on the younger women. These details refer not only to the garments themselves, but also the hairstyle, particularly hair partings and whether the hair fringes or sweeps up. Another source of clues are the hats, examine their width, height and snugness of fit.

    This photograph has no hairstyles to concentrate on, but it does have wonderful hats by the dozen. The fashion hats are the main clue here, as no heads are visible in the adult women. These hats are wide enough to be circa , but could be as early as bearing in mind some of the clothes. Even with magnification I cannot find one single woman without a hat or head covering. This picture is living proof that the era was still dominated by formality, even the ordinary people obey the rules of etiquette as you can see in the photography.

    That formality was swept away by the First World War when rigid rules of dress codes were broken down. And this point helps us to date a photograph as the early part of the twentieth century.

    How to Date Your Old Photos

    I've circled a copy of the original photograph as the detail is crisper and some circles will be used here to identify certain aspects of costume history details. Several factors amongst the images suggest that we should date the photograph after , up to the later dates of I don't feel this photograph is later than , even in an unfashionable town. The boys with bicycles in the left hand side background are wearing Eton style school-uniform jackets, and collars often featured in books circa The puffed heads on garment sleeves are very subdued so that dates the picture later than Other than where specified, I am in all cases referring to female adult fashionable dress.

    I can eliminate as a possible date as there simply is not enough fullness in the sleeves of any of these adult garments, moreover, the children's dress supports this view. I believe it is after and the factor that suggests this most is the rounded domes of the hats. You can see what I mean by looking at the many instances of hats, as in circles 6, 8 and Click thumbnail for a full enlargement. These detailed circled sections are beside the explanatory text. Let's look at the picture starting with circle 1. Elements of the coat could suggest it to be circa The sleeves with soft fullness at the head and the fitted silhouette suggest late Victorian styling.

    But the hat is too big for that date. Hats tight and neater, with less width, were dominant in the late s. Reference circle 1 left, is probably one of the best sections to use for generally dating the picture. The picture below for reference 1 enlarges fully. The coat is typically Edwardian, and because a waist is in evidence, I think it is before After that date waistlines were much higher following Directoire styles, and under-the-bust empire lines, but of course when women buy a coat they even now expect 2 or 3 years wear from it. In those days they may have hoped for even longer wear.

    The silhouette back of the coat in circle 9 shown right, is very straight indicating no swing-back sway, which was created by the S-bend style of Reference circle 5 above centre shows a typical tailor made suit circa The necklines and tailoring of refernce circles 1, 3, 4, 6, and 11 could all be as late as Hats in reference circles 2 and 10 right show veiling which may be mourning veiling or motoring veiling. The fashion designer Lucile had designed the original widow hat for an operetta in , but it influenced hat fashions for 3 more years.

    It was always black and encased in filmy chiffon or organdie and festooned in feathers. The children wearing straw hats in circle 13 are wearing early forms of straw cloche hats. They are not as close fitting as the later cloches, but they show early signs of the fashion. The cloche hat was not confined to the s as is often first thought. It was fashionable from to was one of the most extreme forms of millinery ever, with an appearance that resembled a helmet.

    Cloches existed in many forms including one with a beret like top. By hats became much smaller, although large wide picture hats were still worn for dressy functions. I think that there are too many garments with slightly puffed head sleeves for this to be as late as By all fullness in sleeve heads was well gone. The black hat in circle 14 is probably the most up to date hat in the picture.

    There are dozens of hats there, but that hat speaks volumes in terms of style and only she wears a hat like that. We will date the photograph by that hat and I think it is The hat she wears is an early form of the toque. So I will date the picture at I suppose bearing in mind your comment at the time of the war there is not much between and , but there are substantial fashion changes between and that eliminate those dates, now often known as the Titanic era. This picture leans more toward full late Edwardian styling than Titanic era styling.

    I'm inserting some of my hat drawing pictures. You can see how the last picture has elements like the black hat in the street scene and how the others have similar features. The lady in the picture wears a hat which is combination of all these I've drawn. It really is a wonderful picture of children in dress.

    However, the problem with the children's clothing is that it was often handed down. In the main it's typical Edwardian era clothing for children. I think they are very smartly dressed for a crowd scene and would really like to know more about the picture. He has since told me that Hebburn is about 5 miles from the North Sea, and stands on the south bank of the river Tyne 6 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne, making the people there 'Geordies'.

    The photo was taken in his hometown of Hebburn and is on card the same thickness of a Postcard.

    How to Date Old Photographs by the Costume

    Norman was told it was possibly an outing on Easter Sunday. He doesn't know anymore than that even though he has tried hard to find out more information. I did notice that one of the women in the photo centre has a selection of small badges on her coat lapels, typical symbols worn by members of church based organizations such as Band of Hope Temperance Society, or the Mother's Union sections. A closer look at the photograph also reveals that standing at the far left hand side is a man ina clerical collar, possibly the Church Minister.

    Clerical Figure shown right. Sir Humphrey Davey who invented the miners Safety Lamp went to Hebburn in and with gas from the 'B' pit he tested his lamp. All three pits were closed by the early 's. The Kelly's Commander was Lord Louis Mountbatten and every Armistice day he came to Hebburn to take part in the march up to the Kelly grave in our cemetery. Lots of Kelly men are buried in a mass grave after it was torpedoed in the North sea. Many Irish and Scottish folk flooded into the town looking for work. Before that there were Tin Miners from Cornwall going there for work.

    Some Welsh teachers went there to work in the Schools, so the Geordies really are a mixture. In the photograph the building on the right with all the windows is still there today. It was called 'The County Hotel' in those days and probably where Mountbatten stayed on his visits.

    Just behind it is St Aloysius Church. It and the Priests house in front of it were extended after WW1 so are still there, but looking different. No one can remember the properties to the left with fence leading up to it, but an Aluminium manufacturer had that land then The Bauxite Company. You can visit Norman's site showing hundreds of old photographs of the region and its people here at www. If anyone reading this knows more about the picture analysed here please write to me or Norman. For those interested in more about Hebburn, Norman has suggested they check out the site he uses called www.

    One thing I do know is that as I examined this photograph I felt a connection to real people behaving in much the same way we might whilst waiting for an event that happened almost years ago. I felt I would have liked to have known the lady with the most fashionable black hat.

    I just know we would have had much to chat about. I am sure she shopped until she dropped too. I wonder if anyone of the people in this old photograph could have envisaged that they each would be studied with such interest so far ahead in time. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of those small children were alive today and able to tell us about that special day trip they had. To read about fashions in mourning clothes and fabrics in Victorian and Edwardian eras see the Mourning Fashion web page.

    See also the Old Mourning Dress Photo I was recently sent this wonderful photo from with the request to research information about their costume and occupation from the photograph. The sender thought the women were wearing some kind of uniform related to their religion. All I was told about this old photo was the known date of It's always good to have a known date to the picture, but the sender needed to clarify ideas about the people in the old photo.

    My first reaction was women in mourning dresses and that this was a family photo taken after the death of perhaps the mother in the family. Since they are fully grown women it does not seem unreasonable that their mother had become ill and died. At this point I was not aware of their identical family surnames, neither did I know the birth dates of all three characters.

    Both women wear identical dresses of the era and this may be because mourning styles were limited in order to keep them fashionable. On close inspection they also both appear to be wearing a simple and limited tasteful amount of mourning jewellery. The dresses also have some decorative elements such as small pattern guipure lace neckline yokes and deep cuffs of lace, plus decorative button trim. The mourning dresses have moved beyond the untrimmed plainest of mourning gowns, indicating that this photo was taken more than six months after first stage mourning.

    You can read more about Victorians and mourning fashion on the mourning dress page. I also thought one other interpretation was that the two women were shop workers or reception staff or schoolmistresses and had to wear the same gown for uniformity. For example, they could have been the main housekeepers in a large manor house or hotel. Mourning jewellery was an important part of mourning dress. On the left we see a dark possibly jet brooch and on the right a black necklace made of black beads with a black cross.