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Old family photographs are a treasured part of any family history.Many of them, unfortunately, do not come neatly labeled on the back with names, dates, people or places. Solving the mystery faces and places in your old family photographs requires knowledge of your family history, combined with good old fashioned detective work.If you're lucky, the photographer's imprint will also list the location of his studio.

Look for the family house or other family possessions in other photos for which you do have names and dates.

You may also be able to find a published directory of photographers working in your specific region, such as by Linda A. Ruby (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1999) or this online list of Early St. The setting or backdrop for a photograph may be able to provide clues to location or time period.

Early photographs, especially those taken prior to the advent of flash photography in 1884, were often taken outside, to take advantage of natural light.

Pay special attention to waist size and styles, necklines, skirt lengths and widths, dress sleeves and fabric choices.

Women's clothing styles tend to change more frequently than men, but men's fashions can still be helpful.

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