Photo-dating at Who Do You Think You Are? Live

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27 February 2013
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imports_CKEditor_ann-mckenzie-j-burton-228x300_51734-47428.jpg Photo-dating at Who Do You Think You Are? Live
Every year at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live family history show our photo-dating expert Jayne Shrimpton dates hund

Every year at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live family history show our photo-dating expert Jayne Shrimpton dates hundreds of family photographs on the Family Tree stand. Here she shares just one of the photographs she saw this year.

Many visitors are regular readers who bring a few photos along each year, while others are newcomers to genealogy. As ever, I saw a wonderful array of photographs, ranging from 1850s cased or framed glass ambrotypes, through metal tintypes, Victorian card-mounted cartes de visite and cabinet prints, to 20th century postcard portraits and amateur snapshots.

It is a real pleasure to meet so many enthusiastic genealogists and to hear the myriad family stories behind their treasured photographs – poignant or uplifting tales of love, pregnancy, marriage, emigration, disappearance, death, adoption, hard times and success. I feel very privileged to be allowed a glimpse into so many families’ pasts and always leave Olympia at the end of the third day feeling enriched in many ways.

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One of the first visitors to the Family Tree stand at the show on Saturday was Ann McKenzie, who brought along this photograph – an early carte de visite dating to the 1860s. Ann knew who these ancestors were, so my date estimate supported her knowledge: the little boy wears a miniature suit comprising trousers and the picturesque bolero-style zouave jacket introduced for young boys during the 1860s, while his older sister wears a juvenile version of adult female fashions of the era.

The print is beautifully presented on paper with an unusual decorative gold leaf and orange painted border. Beneath is a stamp bearing the photographer’s details – John Burton & Sons of Derby, Leicestershire & Birmingham, who appears to link up with another Family Tree reader’s ancestry. Mike Casselden is a descendant of John Burton, photographer and his photograph queries have been featured in Family Tree recently, in the October 2012 and March 2013 issues.

Jayne has also been blogging about photographs dated at the show on Tumblr. Visit her blog here.