Dating Twentieth Century Photos

Posted on January 13, 2023 by Admin under Uncategorized

Dating By Design Volume 2 – Stephen Gill

If you ever had struggled to put a date to an Edwardian or Early Twentieth century photo then this is the book you need. Written as a follow up to Dating by Design 1840 -1915 this goes from 1900 to 1975 and looks at all aspects of working out a date by clothes, style of photo and other details.

Available, as is volume one, from the Federation of Family History Societies it makes an ideal gift or just as an aid to you genealogical research.


Dating By Design, Volume two – Twentieth Century

Recent Talks Feedback

Posted on January 24, 2022 by Admin under Uncategorized

After a talk in London Ontario

Very thorough and practical presentation by an engaging speaker – Great topic, well delivered! 

The presentation included so many things to think about that seem obvious after the fact, but really needed to be set out. I have a whole new appreciation and new tools for examining photographs. 

Fascinating … what an engaging speaker and what a unique opportunity, for us to listen to such an expert. Well done, identifying and inviting him! 

I found Stephen Gill extremely knowledgeable and easy to understand. He used photographs himself which contributed to the excellence of his presentation. 

I was totally engrossed in his entire presentation, and learned so much, I stayed on to the very end of the many thoughtful and relevant questions. 

Knowledgeable, friendly, engaging, enthusiastic speaker. Appreciated he took extra time to answer questions. Would enjoy other presentations by Mr Gill. 

Stephen is an excellent speaker! Clear and concise information in the presentation. Thorough answers to all the questions. 

Good choice of speaker. I would listen to him again and again. 

Stephen was a great presenter! Very easy to listen to, very knowledgeable, and extremely engaging. 

Our family has a HUGE collection of old photos, many unidentified. This presentation has provided extremely helpful information that can be applied to our identification process. 

Actually before I attended I doubted it would be very relevant, and almost didn’t register. However immediately he assured me that there was a lot I needed to learn, and this snowy afternoon in Nova Scotia will be spent digging out my photos and gazing at them intently! 

There was no one thing that would fit the “most useful” category. Rather, the entire presentation was well done, and was packed full of relevant information that broadened my knowledge regarding family history photos. 

My husband also watched this presentation and has ordered both of the speakers books from England from the speaker at a better rate of postage than ordering the books separately from two sources. 

That I was missing so much more interest and information on the old photos. I went back and looked at one photo of 3 young girls from Bracebridge and saw that 2 were wearing the same style dress and wearing watches. Interesting that they had enough money for watches in 1877? 

Everything! 🙂 

Stephen’s answers to questions from the audience and the information about his two books. 

The emphasis on looking at a photo for some time with a magnifying glass at more than the ace to spot clues about the date of the photo, the location, and the reason for the photo. 

Wanting to research and preserve the family photos is a daunting task, yet Stephen with his vast knowledge somehow broke it down so we beginners are encouraged to get started and keep learning on the way. That is not easy. 

the extent of his knowledge. I volunteer at a local museum and will use this information there as well as my own collection 

To always look for the squirrel 

Being educated about “Cartes-de-visites”; I have many but never thought to wonder about the context of getting photos taken that way. Thank you very much for permitting outsiders (from other provinces, non OGS members) to attend. 

I have ordered the presenter’s book (the one you have pictured here) and I am very excited to see what clues my photos hold. 

How much did Stephen Gill charge for the presentation? I ask because I would like to engage him to speak to the members of our Branch. Considering he is in the U.K., how did you make arrangement for payment. Just a cheque written on your Canadian bank account? Your advice would be greatly appreciated Sheila. Bob Allebone, Acting President, Southeast and Winnipeg Branch, Manitoba Genealogical Society 

I really loved this presentation. Thank you to the London-Middlesex OGS for putting it on, and to Stephen Gill for sharing his knowledge. 

Dating By Design

Posted on December 20, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

Have you ever struggled to put a date to an old family photograph? Most family historians have at some time or another. My new book Dating By Design aims to help all those struggling. Immensely readable as well as being informative and beautifully illustrated it has easy to follow guides as well as a comprehensive timeline of costume and style details. With a chronological illustrated guide of fully colourised images to aid you understand the changes in style from 1840-1915.

Published by the Federation of Family History Societies it is available online direct from them https://www.familyhistorybooksonline.com

Scanner v Camera

Posted on August 7, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

When I get asked why I don’t use a scanner I always answer because of the resolution but it’s also the ability to focus on the subject and not have a mount alter the focus position. This is a case in point. It’s a CdV Ferrotype from USA around 1862 and the image is approx 20mm x 15mm.

When scanned at 2,400 Dpi it looks like this:

Not only can you see the scan lines but it is also rather muddy. The highlights of the card surrounding the ferrotype has blown out even though it was recorded as a TIFF file.

This however is from a Raw file shot on the camera. The comparison is about 9,500 Dpi. The top one will reproduce an image of just 6 inches x 4 inches at 300 Dip. The one from the camera would go to 30 inches x 20 inches at the same resolution but is also showing a better tonal range as this one has come from bracketed exposures and Merge HDR done in Lightroom.

Thermoplastic Union Cases

Posted on July 26, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

This Ambrotype from about 1870 is housed in a well preserved case made of ‘Gutta-Percha’ which is an early mouldable plastic made from natural resins and wood pulp. It could be pressed into amazing designs. This example is fairly basic but still crisp an clear.

The inner is similar to the traditional wooden/ leather cases but the exterior is fully designed.

Online talks on Understanding your old photos

Posted on July 19, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

This week I have two more online talks – Manchester and Lancashire on Wednesday and Westbury on Thursday. I think Manchester will be a big one with people from all over the world taking part. I have books going out this week to Bristol and Denver, Colorado so it is a real honour to be able to help people from so far apart understand their old photos.

Book costume

School photos

Posted on July 11, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

Do you remember the old school photos of the entire school? They were long and thin with thousands of pupils. They often are rolled up so tightly they have now cracked and are badly damaged. This is one such roll. But by treating it first to relax the paper fibres it’s then to re-photograph it flatten it out, restore it and create a new version.

Vignacourt Images

Posted on by Admin under Uncategorized

During the first world war a couple in Vignacourt near the Somme turned a barn into a photographic studio. Many years later many hundreds of glass negatives were found including these two. The relatives of the couple were traced and they wanted them restoring. One is a double exposure, so the plate has been used twice. An almost impossible job to split them. The other was dirty and faded but they wanted it in colour. Here is the result. The negatives had been scanned many years ago in France and unfortunately have jpeg artefacts embedded in them causing them to be grainy.

The Genealogy Show

Posted on May 16, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

This July I am honoured to be one of the specialist speakers on the Genealogy Show. A month long exhibition and speaker event aimed at anyone interested in Family History. Click on the link for more details.


New books to help Family Historians and Genealogists

Posted on April 21, 2021 by Admin under Uncategorized

When we look at people in our old photographs we may well want to know more about them. Who are they, when was it taken, how was it taken? There are countless tomes out there that describe in detail some ways of discovering the answer. But I believe many of those books just aren’t readable. I decided to write a book based on my experiences as a speaker for Family History Societies answering the questions that I get asked and in terms that, hopefully, everyone will understand. I look at the past, present and future of family photography and how to get the most out of your photos. “The Family Detective ” is 140 pages packed with over 250 high quality illustrations plus plenty of reference guides.

Following it’s early success and reviews I decided to take it a stage further as one of the most difficult areas of family history is accurately dating old photos. Existing books on costume may well show great examples of Victorian and Edwardian costume but the reproduction of the images is such that it makes it difficult to pick out the details mentioned in the text. I decided to use my restoration skills and create new colour images from the old examples and really make the details stand out so even the amateur sleuth can see how style changed over the years and be able to apply that knowledge to their own research.

Written in clear chronological order it is easy to find how your own photographs fit into the timeline of style. “Dating by Design” will be available mid May at the special price of £15 plus P&P for advance orders.

See the page on www.photo-consult.co.uk to email and request your copies.