Tips for Identifying Old Family Photos

tips-for-identifying-old-family-photos-find-more-genealogy-blogs-at-familytree-comWho is the unidentified person in your old family photo? There are several things you can do that might help you solve that mystery. You might be overlooking some important clues that are in the photo. It might be time to make use of some resources for photo identification.

Ask Your Relatives
Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best one. Post your mystery photo onto your Facebook page and ask your relatives if any of them can identify the person who is in the photo. There is a chance that somebody knows exactly who that mystery person is (and can tell you the person’s name).

Or, a relative might have a good guess about who that person might be. Either way, you could end up with just enough information to do some genealogical digging around.

Post the Photo on Dead Fred
Dead Fred is a genealogical photo archive. Currently, the Dead Fred’s Photo Archive only contains photos that are older than 1960 and are of subjects since deceased. It is also possible to post a photo of a person that you cannot identify. Those photos get posed to the Mysteries page. Someone else might know what the person in your photo is.

Contact the Photographer
Professionally done photos, such as the ones that were taken at weddings, might have the name of the photographer on the back side of the photo. Or, it might have the photographer’s logo. If you can find the name of the photographer (or the name of the studio the photographer worked for) there’s a chance the person that took the photo might still have some information about it.

Professional photographers often make a note of the names of the people who are in each photo. Contact the photographer (or their studio) and ask if they can help you identify the person who is in your mystery photo.

Use a Photographer’s Loupe
A photographer’s loupe is a small magnifier that you can use to see the tiny details in an old photo. Some genealogists might use a jeweler’s loupe for the same purpose. This tool magnifies portions of the photo that are not easily seen with the naked eye.

It is possible that one, tiny, detail might be the clue you need to figure out who the person in the photo is. Perhaps the child is wearing a name tag. Or, maybe an adult is wearing a work shirt, or a bowling shirt, with his name embroidered on it. A person wearing a shirt with baseball team’s logo on it might give you a clue about where that person lived.

Related Articles at

* Photo Types in the Late 1800’s

* Fashion Helps Put Dates on Photos

* Edit Those Vintage Photos

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