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Tips For Dating Old American Photographs
Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:21 pm
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:45 am
That’s an interesting subject and a frustrating one. I have a couple of carte-de-visites that I just know are important, and that they’re 1870s, but there’s absolutely nothing on them. They could have been taken in Australia, Scotland or England or on the Moon for that matter.
It’s distressing when families have let photographs slip through their fingers and you see them in albums and frames in auction rooms, second-hand shops etc. and nobody knows who they are.
Some people buy these as “Instant Ancestors”, and they would be interesting to own, but I wonder what confusion it will bring to their descendants when they find them, a few generations hence, in the old plastic trunk in the attic.
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:22 am
Your post can serve to remind everyone that we need to date & name all our photos. Its so sad to see someone's photo in an Antique Shop for sale as an "Instant Relative"
I have a remarkable little story here regarding old photos. My great Aunt Josephine left the contents of her home to my three sister and myself in her Will. Oh there were so many pictures with no names what so ever. We put those in the "Who Are You" folder. Mixed in with her papers was my gg gf's guestbook from his funeral. Listed as one of the guests, was John Morning's niece, Florence Carlson and she included her address. For the heck of it I did a reverse lookup of the address and the phone number of Florence's father was still listed in the 2004 phone book. I told myself this had to be a mistake because Florence's father had passed in 1986. You won't believe what happened next.
I then dialed the phone number and a frail male voice answered. So I stated my business and explained that I was researching the Morning family and may I ask why Charles Carlson's phone number was still listed in the phone book 25 years after his passing?
Stanley explained that he was Florence's boyfriend and how he had inheriated the home when she passed on. We chatted a few minutes and I asked if he had any old photos of the Morning family? How surprised I was to hear that he had an oil painting of Mary Morning which she had given to her husband as a wedding present in 1907 and that he had promised Florence
to take care of it. I could have fainted when he asked if I would like the painting! ? Stanley was true to his promise and sent me the painting along with several old photos in their original frames and several books including a family bible....
This has to be my most surprising discovery in with my family research so far and I'll treasure them for the rest of my life and yes, their names on now on the back. But have no fear they will never wind up in an Antique Shop.....
Another photo that was discovered in Aunt Josephine's collection was of a dog sitting on a chair and written on the back was "Letty's Dog"
See Letty's dog here http://talkingscot.com/gallery/displayi ... ?pos=-1332
No picture of my great great great Aunt Letitia, just her dog.
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:50 am
What a wonderful story and good on Stanley for passing the treasures along to you. I would be in my glory if I were ever to stumble upon such a find. I think I just might start checking for telephone numbers...or at least start to write a few letters to those who just might be distant relatives
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:15 am
The whole point that I'm making is never to leave a stone or clue unturned. One of my sister's reaction was when I told her that I was going to make the revearse search, she told me that I was crazy.
Oh yeah, well you now know the ending to that story......
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:17 am
Good advice for all of us to take, Marilyn...I'm going to take a page out of your book and see where it takes me...can't hurt!
Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:21 am
Great story Marilyn,
Your Aunt Letitia is in that photograph, but she's off to the side just out of view, or, more likely, she's standing next to the photographer and the dog's looking right at her.
Not really a photo of Aunt Letitia but maybe the next best thing.