Get Clues from the Old Family Photographs


At times, we have a single photo to start our genealogy research or examine, but that one photograph can acquiesce various valuable clues.

Start with these easy steps:

Step #1: Digitize and “restore” the photograph (if required)

It is used and recommended to use advanced software for editing the old photos and reinstate them to their best form. Doing this will bring even the tiniest detail, hidden underneath the fading, out in the light.

Step #2: Verify the Photograph’s Attribution

Where the photo came from? Who had it before you? How did the photo come into your home? Finding how you came to have a particular photograph or who had it before you can help confine which family line to start searching with.

Step #3: Find out the type of Photograph

Is it a cabinet card or carte de visite? Whichever types you have, narrates what was its manufacturing year. It can also specify who your family members were in that specific year.

Research as much as you can on the photographer. Back in days, photographs used to have the name of the photographer or the studio address or name on the back. Look for this small clue. If you find it, it’s easy to visit that place or location with the help of internet.

Step #4: Determine the hair and clothing fashions are worn in the photograph

Fashion trend can be a helpful key to determine the era in which the photo was clicked. Take a close look at the jewelry – most possibly – heirloom jewelry.

When you are busy, working with manifold old family photos, do things a bit differently. Start by placing the photos on a table. A dining table will do great work too.

To help determine which photo belongs to which family, take a close look at the following questions:

  • Can I place an individual person in a similar family-based on physical characteristics?
  • What props are included in a photo? Are the same people appearing in various photographs? Were the photographs taken in the same studio?
  • Is there any special jewelry being worn? If so, you can place the photo in the right family group.

So figure out these questions to get the right clues from your old family photographs.

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