Since I'm no fashionista, I turned to websites such as Family Chronicle, which also has published two books on dating photos, for help in matching styles with a particular era.
Consulting experts such as Maureen Taylor, whose website includes a blog and provides teleseminars, are also a good resource.
In my photo, both men are wearing loose-fitting jackets with wide lapels.
The elder man is wearing a collarless shirt — too bad, because it's easier to date men's collars and neckties.
Knowing the type of photo can still leave a large time period, but if you know the subject of the photo, your genealogical research should be able to help you narrow that. I now turn to fashion to see if what these men are wearing can help me narrow the date range of the photo.
Close examination of sleeves and collars can provide valuable information.
A style of photograph first introduced in 1863 by Windsor & Bridge in London, the cabinet card is a photographic print mounted on card stock.
For men, look at vests, neckties, the fit of a jacket (loose or fitted) and how it is buttoned.In the early 1870s, Michael would have been in his twenties and Peter in his teens and both were living in St. Timothy would have been too young to be either brother.Therefore the photo is more than likely Michael and Peter, perhaps taken before Peter left for Kansas to live with relatives, leaving Michael behind.On the back, in my grandmother's handwriting, is written "Grandpa King's brothers." At least I've got some information to work with, but I'm eager to learn more: When was the picture taken? Which two of my great-grandfather's brothers are these? Type of photograph To learn more about my mystery photo, I checked examples of photos in the collections of Andrew J. Both websites detail the history of photography, including samples of various types of photography, such as daguerreotype, cabinet card and tintype. You may not think to look on the Internet for help in dating old photographs, but actually it's the best place to go.The photographer may have been using up old card stock, or the cabinet card may have been a re-printed copy made many years after the original photo was taken.Two young men stare out at me from a small old photograph. A variety of websites offer tips and tools, and they have the great advantage of being able to provide visual aids.The name might come from the fact that tin shears were used to cut the iron plate.Cabinet Cards The larger version of the carte-de-visite, these images were mounted on heavy card stock to keep the photos from curling.The cabinet card is similar to the smaller Dating a Cabinet Card: Details of a cabinet card, from the type of card stock to whether it had right-angled or rounded corners, can often help to determine the date of the photograph to within five years.It is important to note, however, that these dating methods aren't always accurate.Cabinet cards, popular in the late 1800s, are easy to recognize because they are mounted on cardstock, often with an imprint of the photographer and location just below the photo.There are similiar card-type photographs, such as the smaller which was introduced in the 1850s, but if your old photo is about 4x6 in size then chances are it is a cabinet card.The image is on a silver clad copper sheet which was then sealed inside a wooden case or a frame under glass to protect it.