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Family Photographs, 1860-1945: A Guide to Researching, Dating and Contextuallising Family Photographs (Public Record Office Genealogists' Guide) Paperback – February 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in photography of family history" --Black and White Photography

About the Author

Robert Pols is a long established expert on understanding historic photographs. His previous titles include Dating Old Photographs, Understanding Old Photographs, and Looking at Old Photographs.

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Product Details

  • Series: Public Record Office Genealogists' Guide
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The National Archives (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903365201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903365205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,145,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I wish the second review had been posted before I bought this book! I was expecting a much more "manual" type book, with reference listings of various clues based on costume, photo type, etc. This book is written as a history, more or less, and you really have to page all through it to look for the information you need. There are no charts summarizing information whatsoever.

As noted, it has a UK point of view, and although this often doesn't make a difference, sometimes it does. For example, one paragraph talks about the advent of photo postcards and how you can date them depending on what the postal code required to be printed on them. However, this would be UK postal code, not US, so for my purposes useless.

One very aggravating aspect: although there are many, many photos throughout the book (at least one per page) they are not captioned with the date taken, but only referenced in the text, and often on a completely different page than the photo. I'm tempted to go through and note the dates on each photo, but I'm annoyed that I should have to do so. It seems a simple and obvious thing to omit, considering most readers are likely trying to date photos and would appreciate viewing the huge photo collection to link photo clues with date taken. They are printed in no chronological order either, so you can't even assume a photo placed later in the book was made after one that is placed earlier.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you want to take a closer look at old photos handed down through generations, you also have to take a closer look at the history and nature of portrait photography itself - and there's no better resource to turn to than Family Photographs 1860-1945. Other books focus on the history of portraits with an eye to photographic insights or artistic analysis: this instead blends in important facts unique to genealogical research, such as changing family roles, changing fashions, and how to date and interpret images given little extra information. These aspects make FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS 1860-1945 an invaluable genealogist's tool.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Semashko on May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be helpful in researching family photos, however it has drawbacks. The book is very detailed about the history of photgraphy but far more detailed than I needed for help to date photos. Also the examples are from the UK not the USA. I would search for another source that is geared for an American interested in dating family photos.
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