Friday, March 8, 2013

An interesting family history day

Last Saturday at our family history group morning session, Jenny Joyce showed us how to use the new Familysearch website
Recent changes have made it easy to narrow down the search to only look at relevant records by narrowing down the search by country and then narrowing down the results to only the collection you are interested in. 
We also looked at how to Browse the collections, and looked at some of the collections that are only available as images, not as the result of an indexed search. 
Group leader, Jo Harris then showed us a few other websites, like Papers Pastwhich allows searches of historic newspapers from New Zealand, and an English site about primitive Methodists. 

In the afternoon session, Jenny gave a talk about how to date photographs. She started out by discussing the main types of photographs that have been used since the first photo studios opened in England and Australia in 1841, and their distinguishing characteristics. The types discussed were daguerreotypes, calotypes, ambrotypes, tin types, carte de visites, cabinet prints, platinotypes and postcard photos. 
Several members of the group had brought photos, which Jenny did her best to help date. One of the photos we were lucky to see was an ambrotype, something that not everyone has in their collection.
When Jenny couldn't provide a date for a photo (like one that was shown of people in swimming costumes, and another of a vintage car) she pointed out what aspects of the photo could be investigated to help narrow down the date.

A key message that came out of the talk was the need to take the mount of a photograph (if there is one) into account when dating photos.
We were reminded that if we scan photos, we should make sure to include the mount, including the corners of the mount as these are also dating clues.

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