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Help me to date some photos?

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  #1  
Old 07-21-2005, 08:07 AM
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Caitlin Caitlin is offline
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Help me to date some photos?

I have just gained access to an old cigar box that contained the few letters and scant photos kept by my grandfather, who died 30 years ago.

The box contains some mysteries - most of which can probably never be answered. He was a reticent man, who never spoke of his past, or the reasons he left his home as a young man and changed his identity, moving to Australia, presumed dead by his family.

Because his past was something of a mystery, and his wife died when my mother was still very young, my mother is unable to identify any of the photos in the box. I am trying to make some educated guesses on who some of the people may be, based on the little I do know of his family.

I suspect the couple may be his wife's mother and an unidentified man (brother, husband?), and the other woman his wife's grandmother, but I suspect that the boat full of young men may be friends or brothers of his. Given that almost all the photos in the box are of his wife's family, this may be wishful thinking on my part, and he may not have kept any photos from his past.

If anyone was able to make some educated guesses on the age of these photos it could help a great deal in identifying who the people are.

Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2005, 08:32 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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caitlin,

you might want to check out this thread http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/history-conservation-repair/10922-very-old-photograph.html or pm marylynn to get her to look at this. she helped me with mine. there may well be other threads in that forum that could help too.

also, post a description of what these photos reside on, the type of paper, thickness, sizes and any markings you might find on the front or back. the more information, the better.

just as a quick guess and a very limited knowledge of all this, i'd say your first one is 1920'ish, based on clothing and that vase on the table. but, it could be a bit earlier. not sure.

the 2nd looks to be earlier, maybe even before the turn of the century, but not much before. the clothing looks victorian to me, but that might just be a remnant of that style and i'm certainly no expert. but i'd guess around 1900 to 1915 or so.

the last one, the gentlemen in the boat, i'd say is the most recent, but still pre-depression. so, maybe also in the '20s, but a bit later than the first one.

but, like i said, i'm no expert, and barely even an amateur on dating these things. i'm mostly just taking guesses to see how close i might be when someone else more qualified comes along

but, i do know that the more data you can provide, the better.

Craig
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:42 AM
MargaretM MargaretM is offline
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Fascinating stuff. Here is a good link that uses clothing to date - http://www.familychronicle.com/phototip.htm
Good luck! Margaret
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:14 AM
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A little bit of extra information:

The photo of the couple has a stamp on the back reading 'The Ulster Studio, 25 Royal Ave', is printed on light cardboard, and has a postcard layout printed on the back. The photo of the lady is also is printed as a postcard on light cardboard, with a stamp reading Megahny & Johnston, 88 Bridge st Belfast, and handwritten '1868' (doesn't seem right?) The picture of the young men is curled photo paper, very yellowed and damaged, with no markings. (The Glasgow and Belfast marks makes me believe they are relatives of my grandmother, as my grandfather was from England, and my grandmother's parents were from Scotland, emigrants from Ireland.)

Thanks for the help so far Craig & Margaret. Your guesses certainly match mine Craig, and would match my personal theories.
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:04 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Caitlin,

The Irish Potato Famine was in 1846-1850 (approx), and a great many Irish families emigrated around that time, so perhaps the date of the photo at 1868 is not so far wrong.

Obviously the clothes will give a good indication, as long as you are researching what was in fashion in Glasgow and Belfast, and not elsewhere.
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:11 PM
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You could also ask deadants .... here is a link to the RootsChat site he is a member of ....
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:29 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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the cardboard dates this fairly well, if i'm not mistaken. and whereas i dont know the exact dates, i'd say 1910 to 1930 as a guess, but might be a tad later up to 1940 or so...not sure.

but, if someone did to these like one of my mother's, the photos could be photos of photos and your cardboard ones could just be reprints. one of her tintypes was copied over onto a cabinet card. the original tintype we placed around 1870 to 1880 or so, but the cabinet card would have been much later and it was the exact same photo.

and the one of the young men on curled photo paper, makes me think later than my original guess. could very well be post-depression, but likely not post-wwii, though not impossible.

hehe, better find someone that knows this stuff better than me. i'm all guesses and little facts

still, shld be fun hearing what deadants, as flora suggested, or marylynn or others might put them.

Craig
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:54 PM
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just a couple of comments about the men and boat picture... the boat is not in water. it is propped up. at first i thought maybe it was even up on a trailer of some sort with wheels and a back axle, but that's inconclusive. however, under the right settings of adjustments, you can see that the middle part is propped up with some sort of frame, maybe a sawhorse or makeshift wooden props. i also believe i can make out a stone at the bottom middle of the picture near where one prop would extend down to the ground.

i also tried to make out the writing on the building, but couldnt get it. too blurred.

Craig
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Old 07-21-2005, 04:32 PM
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I was hoping the men's floppy hair cuts could be a hint of the age of the boat photo, but to be honest even if I work out when I still probably won't know who! Though if it turns out to be 1910-15 (Which is what I am hoping) it could be my grandfather with his brothers, or friends.

So the photos printed as postcards are called cabinet cards?
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Old 07-21-2005, 04:42 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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caitlin,

my understanding of a cabinet card is based on some photos i have here which other folks called these cabinet cards based on my description of them. they are roughly 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 inches, and they are not printed on paper or cardboard precisely, but a sort of thick, stiff pressed paper or cardboard. i'm not sure which. it's almost an eighth of an inch thick, though. they often have a studio mark on them. mine are in red also. and mine have no borders or frames to speak of. if that's what a cabinet card is, and that's what you've got, then sounds like it is a cabinet card.

and yes, the hairstyles would be pertinent to dating the photo. i just am not informed enough to say what is when. where also might be important in that regard. do you know where these were taken?

Craig
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