Sometimes images from this period can be identified by a greenish cast.
Gelatin papers were introduced in the 1870s and started gaining acceptance in the 1880s and 1890s as the gelatin bromide papers became popular. A true black-and-white image on a cabinet card is likely to have been produced in the 1890s or after 1900.
Identifying photographs incorrectly not only leads to serious errors in compiling our visual family tree, but can also obscure what the pictures are actually telling us – visual pointers to what may be fascinating truths about our past., we have a special three-part series of photo dating articles explaining all about the different photos that crop up in the family picture collection.
Starting with the first luxury studio portraits of the 1840s and ending with casual snapshots of the 1950s, each issue covers a few decades and explains the main features to look out for, including identifying the photographic format, dating the card mount, investigating the photography studio and dating the pictorial details, especially the fashion clues.
The rest of the collection has not been digitised, but you can request a free search to find out what aerial cover we have for your area of interest.
photo dating series runs from the September through to November issues and each feature is illustrated with images that reflect the kinds of photos surviving in many family collections.
These should answer some of your photographic queries and hopefully the ability to date images more reliably will help with identifying some of those mystery family members.
Dating old photographs accurately is the only way to begin incorporating them into our family history research in a meaningful way: after all, we wouldn’t dream of accepting any undated or unidentified printed records or manuscript documents as serious evidence.
And yet photographs aren’t always subjected to the most rigorous evaluation: too many of us seem satisfied with roughly estimating the time period of our old photographs and guessing at who they may portray, or simply go along with family hearsay, without double-checking the facts.