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Figuring out your photos at the library

We all have them, those photos full of strangers who might be our relatives…or maybe just their friends. The Ontario Genealogical Society has amassed such a collection of mystery photos, we’ve even started a Lost Photographs Service.

But we also have books to help you at least sort out WHEN these photos were taken even if they are less helpful in letting you figure out WHO is in them.

Dating Old Photographs, 1840 – 1929 and More Dating Old Photographs, 1840 – 1929
By Andrew J Morris, published by Family Chronicle Magazine
These two volumes show examples of photos from different time periods allowing you to compare your mystery photos with the clothing and hairstyles of the dated photos.
The second volume has an introduction by Maureen Taylor, noted conference speaker and author of Preserving Your Family Photographs

Dating Twentieth Century Photographs ~ By Robert Pols, Published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
This book focuses on photography in the 20th century and offers tips for dating photos with regards to the evolution of film technology, fashion, and changing trends in photography practices.
It includes dating charts to help the reader date their own photos. Some of the information supplied is very England centric.

Understanding Old Photographs ~ By Robert Pols, published by Boyd Publications.
This publication goes in to more depth about photographs. The process of sitting for a photo is explained as well as details of the creation of the item itself. The book also suggests ways to analyse photos in order to determine more about the people in them than just when they lived.

Photography for Family Historians ~ by Robert Pols
Now that you’ve sorted out your mystery photos, this book gives advice on how to become a great photographer and take family history photos of your own. It also suggests methods to document your photos and details to include in your descriptions so you avoid leaving mystery photos to your descendants.

Find these books and more by searching the Library Catalogue

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