How to Date Old Photographs

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

1. Start by Dating the Most Recent Photos

2. Find People You Know, From Long Ago

3. What To Do With the Rest?

When I First Tackled My Stack of Tintype Photographs

Using Clothing to Date Photographs

It’s pretty easy to date photographs from the late 20th century. All you’ve got to do is study what people are wearing, or how they’ve fixed their hair.

Look for Other Clues Hidden in Old Photographs

I looked at other photographs, and came across this one, in a different box. I recognized the background immediately — the bridge, the mountains. And, that same shaggy carpet on the studio’s floor.

Putting All the Clues Together

On the back of the CDV, I found the photographer’s mark, which you can use to date a photograph too. Armed with a set of city directories, I figured out that the photographer, Napoleon Loupret, was at that 51 Central Street address in Lowell, Massachusetts from 1885 to 1893.

Photos Add Life to that Dusty Old Family Tree

THAT box — with the old family photos — holds family history, stories of good times and bad, stories of ancestors we knew and ancestors they knew. Old family photographs add life to the dusty old dates and places recorded in those family tree charts we all have.





Writer / Photographer / Linguist / MBA

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Ryan W Owen

Ryan W Owen

Writer / Photographer / Linguist / MBA