There are genealogists in the field who can look at a photograph and glean enormous amounts of information from it. You don’t have to be a professional to catch the extra tidbits from a photo. You just have to know what to look for. We’ll give some pointers in this post that will have you identifying photos like a pro in no time!
When examining a photo, there are questions we ask ourselves. Is this a professional photo taken in a studio? If so, is the name of the studio identified anywhere? Is there a date? Look on the front and back of the photograph. What information is on the back? If you know the name of the studio you may be able to identify the location where the photo was taken.
Is there any writing on the back of the photograph? It’s a great gift to a genealogist for someone to have written names or dates on the back. This may help you to know which census records to look for.
Is there anyone living who knows about the photo and can tell you any information about it? Do they have any memories about the day the photograph was taken?
Here are some excellent resources for finding out about professional photographers in the Upper South as well as guides for unlocking the secrets of a photograph:
- Photographers in North Carolina: The First Century, 1842-1941
- Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs
- Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation
Most likely it will be of great help to understand the timeline of photography. This could aid in determining the date of the photograph.