22 Online Historical Photo Databases
Old family photographs are a treasured part of any family history. Many of them, unfortunately, do not come neatly labeled on the back with names, dates, people or places. The photographs have a story to tell Solving the mystery faces and places in your old family photographs requires knowledge of your family history, combined with good old fashioned detective work. When you’re ready to take on the challenge, these five steps will get you started in style. Not all old photographs are created alike. By identifying the type of photographic technique used to create your old family photos, it is possible to narrow down the time period when the photograph was taken.
A Practical Guide to Scanning Old Photos
Here are several sites that can help you put your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on the right branches of your family tree. Here are some places where you can pick up a few style cues to help you ID your own vintage family photographs! Wikipedia The collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia provides a nicely detailed collection of articles about the many eras of clothing fashion.
A number of books have already been published that describe how to date old photographs but they rely almost entirely on descriptions: Family Chronicle’s book.
From the atelier of J. The collection of the National Technical Museum in Prague. Advertising specimen of the company, on Autotype paper. Thanks to developments in photographic technology in recent years, the creation of technically perfect photographs is becoming a simple matter, even for those with no specialist knowledge. Digital photography can now be used very easily for purposes of information and documentation, and traditional photography can hardly compete with it in this area.
Of course, if we examine the potential of digital photography for individual artistic creation, it soon becomes clear that formulaic photo-editing programs, and the essential sameness of digital prints, even when the photographs are of completely different types, lead to a certain predictability in the results. The photographs are perfect, but all very much alike.
The easier it becomes to take digital photographs and prepare them for printing, the more likely it is that people will want to return to the techniques of traditional photography for their creative efforts, or to combine the techniques of digital and traditional photography, especially when producing the final version of a photograph — in the creation of a unique, artistic original, or in other words, in the actual process of transferring the picture to paper.
One of the basic characteristics of traditional photography, based on the sensitivity of silver salts to light, is the fact that the photographer can carry out many of the processes himself, adding his own creative touch. The final photograph can take many different forms. Each picture is a unique original. This variety in working methods, the utterly individual character of the result, and the fact that we are always producing an original work, will undoubtedly enable traditional photography to hold its own, though now in the role of an artistic technique.
These are in fact revived historical techniques dating from the beginnings of photography. In the USA, there was an increased interest in the s, but this has increased further in the last few years.
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Subscriber Account active since. The technology of photography was invented in fits and starts in the early s. Looking at the earliest photos across the United States offers a sense of where the country was at the time, what the landscape looked like, and what its people looked like. But it’s not always easy to tell what the oldest photo is from each state. The photos are often portraits of important people and, for the more western states, often landscapes and construction scenes.
If you’re lucky, you know what your ancestors looked like from old pictures of African-American Photographs, which gathers images dating back to the.
A tintype , also known as a melainotype or ferrotype , is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the s and s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty and fine art form in the 21st.
Tintype portraits were at first usually made in a formal photographic studio, like daguerreotypes and other early types of photographs, but later they were most commonly made by photographers working in booths or the open air at fairs and carnivals , as well as by itinerant sidewalk photographers. Because the lacquered iron support there is no actual tin used was resilient and did not need drying, a tintype could be developed and fixed and handed to the customer only a few minutes after the picture had been taken.
The tintype photograph saw more uses and captured a wider variety of settings and subjects than any other photographic type. It was introduced while the daguerreotype was still popular, though its primary competition would have been the ambrotype. The tintype saw the Civil War come and go, documenting the individual soldier and horrific battle scenes. It captured scenes from the Wild West, as it was easy to produce by itinerant photographers working out of covered wagons.
It began losing artistic and commercial ground to higher quality albumen prints on paper in the mids, yet survived for well over another 40 years, living mostly as a carnival novelty. The tintype’s immediate predecessor, the ambrotype , was done by the same process of using a sheet of glass as the support. The glass was either of a dark color or provided with a black backing so that, as with a tintype, the underexposed negative image in the emulsion appeared as a positive. Tintypes were sturdy and did not require mounting in a protective hard case like ambrotypes and daguerreotypes.
Publisher’s numbering scheme Other clues. Pioneer Era Although the world’s first picture postcards date from the s to the mids, most of the earliest American picture postcards extant today are those that were sold at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, starting on May 1, These were illustrations on government-printed postal cards and on privately printed souvenir cards.
were taken on old school disposable cameras, date stamp and all. Selena Gomez posted one such photo when she participated in the March.
Over , photographs exist in collections at the National Library of Scotland, dating from the s to the present day. Mostly the photographs are part of the Archives and Manuscript collections , but others are held in our collections of maps , rare books and music , and in general collections and the Moving Image Archive. Often they are associated with other material — for example, in personal or organisational archives. Scotland played a key role in photography from early on.
The National Library’s forerunner, the Advocates Library, began acquiring books illustrated with original photographs in the s, when photography was in its infancy. Images dating from the early days of photography capture day-to-day scenes, chart social and economic changes in Scotland between the s and s. The collection includes original photographs by some of photography’s pioneers — such as Hill and Adamson, Thomson and Ross, and Thomas Annan.
There are also examples of the work of some of Scotland’s successful commercial photographers, along with daguerrotype portraits and handmade albums. In the papers of James Nasmyth is a photograph of a Paris rooftop, annotated by Nasmyth as dating from If the date is correct, this print would have pre-dated Louis Daguerre’s announcement of his ‘daguerreotype’ process to the public in The scope and scale of our photographic material means that our collections are strong in several areas, such as:.
One of the most substantial photographic collections is part of the Church of Scotland World Missions Board archive.
I’m just now starting to archive all the photos my Mom has. Most of the ones we are doing now are the real old ones—her family photos and my Dad’s family photos. The problem is she can’t always narrow down the date enough to come up with a year.
The earliest identified photographs in our collection date from the early s with tens of thousands of separate images dating from the 19th century alone.
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How to Identify People and Places in Old Photos Using the Internet
Tintypes, Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes c cycleback , all rights reserved. Tintype : Early image on a thin iron plate resembling tin. By far the most common of the three for sports subjects.
Nowadays we often refer to any old-looking, sepia-tinted photograph as a ‘daguerreotype’. But the Above: Early calotype camera with lens dating from c.
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