Archive for December, 2011

Most of us have a collection of pictures stored somewhere in our homes, and maybe they are even labeled with the names of those people shown. If  we are really lucky they may also be dated. Possibly you may also have some photos that are unidentified.

Unidentified or under-identified pictures can sometimes be tracked to a time and place by looking closely at the clothing and hair styles. Hair style and clothing can help you narrow a time period down on older photos. If you have an old picture that is unidentified the following clues may help.

  • Study the picture – If you can identify one person and their approximate age, you may be able to  use a timeline to identify the others. This is easiest if the photo is a formal family group.
  • If it is a group of unknown people, look for any landmarks. Was it taken at Grandma’s house? Is there a gate, or street lamp visible? An automobile in a photo may help you pinpoint an approximate time period.
  • What event would have been taking place? Was it a wedding, a funeral, or maybe a graduation or reunion? Who would have likely attended that particular event?
  • Jot down your thoughts on the photo and think about who else in your family might be able to help with identification. [I send mine to my sister-in-law Sandra who is great at dating old photos].
  • Once you identify the photo, make a note on the back [with an archival quality pen] and if possible write as much as you can  gather on the event and store it with the picture. Today’s technology will allow you to scan or otherwise digitize the photo and attach a note to it with all the known information.
  • Make copies of your photos and store the originals in a safe, preferable dark place.
  • Make additional copies and share them with others. The more generous you are about sharing your photos the more likely you will be able to get copies if yours are lost of destroyed.

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