The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Clues in Photographs: Men’s Clothing

Men’s Clothing, 1900-1950 

What trends existed in men’s clothing during the 20th century? Knowing what clothing was popular in which decade can help you pinpoint when that family photograph was taken and who possibly is pictured. Some trends by the decade include:  

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

1900s – The frock coat from the previous decades was being pretty much replaced by the sack coat, especially when it came to daywear.  A man might wear plaid trousers, a solid color jacket, and a vest of a different but complementary color. The turn-cuff in trousers was introduced, as was the front crease in pants. Shirts collars were very tall and stiff, often turned down into pointed wings.  

1910s – The vest was collarless and fastened lower on the chest. The flat cap and newsboy cap were becoming popular. Spats or gaiters made their appearance.  

1920s – Casual dress was emphasized, and Hollywood and the military uniforms of World War I were the greatest fashion influences. Lapels were narrower at first, becoming wider later in the decade. Pants were straight and narrow, cuffed and shorter, revealing the socks.  

1930s – The Great Depression that ushered in this decade resulted in the loss of the bright colors in clothing that had been popular for two decades. Sportswear abandoned knickers early in the decade in favor of casual pants. Neckties were the only colorful relief for this decade and included stripes and other geometric designs.  

1940s – Hollywood ruled fashion in the 1940s, as the suits of the 1930s became more exaggerated, resulting in heavy chest padding, double-breasting, wider shoulders, and billowing trousers. The most exaggerated form, the ‘zoot suit’ had a longer coat, high waist, and pegged pants.  

1950s – Teens and young men were favoring white tee shirts under leather jackets. Jeans were becoming popular as well. The businessman was wearing business suits that were single-breasted, narrower in form, with less shoulder padding. The vest was falling out of favor.  

Men’s clothing during the 1900s can hold some helpful clues in your genealogy research. Our “Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects” course will offer you insight to help you answer questions you have about your historical family photographs.  

Women’s Clothing 1900’s

Women’s Clothing in Photographs: The 1900s 

What were women wearing in the decades of the 1900s? That answer is important as we look at family photographs. Here’s a few trends seen in the 20th century.  

 

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

1900s – The styles of the late 1890s continued into this decade. The skirt developed a train, was full below the knee, and became more ornate with pleats and smocking at the hipline. Evening dresses revealed more body, sometimes with sleeveless or off-shoulder cap sleeves.   

1910s – Many daywear dresses took the form of very feminine suits. The main change in dresses was that the hem came up to the ankle during this time, and it never went down again. Hats were often veiled.  

1920s – Women’s clothing became unfitted, with simple bodices at first, gradually being accented with seaming and paneling. Necklines were scoop or V-shape and usually collarless. Sleeves varied from long and straight to bell-shaped. Dresses were very ornamented with pin tucking, braids, embroidery, and beading – which was very popular – particularly for evening wear.  

1930s – It was in this decade that Hollywood glamour began to have its lasting impact on fashion. By the end of this decade, shoulder pads were becoming fashionable, a trend that would continue into the 1940s.  

1940s – Hollywood ruled fashion in America beginning in the 1940s and after the end of World War II, its influence spread again outside of America.  In 1947, Dior’s “new look” arrived featuring full skirts at a longer length (mid-calf), and round shoulders, a full bust, with narrow waist and full hips. 

1950s – The full skirt was in high swing but required crinolines to maintain their circle shape. Skinny “pencil” skirts were also popular. Evening wear featured ball gowns in short lengths called “cocktail dresses.” Hats were a necessity during the day, as were gloves.  

Have you ever wondered what time period a photograph of your great-grandmother or grandmother was taken? With our “Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects” course you will learn about hidden clues found in your family photos.  

Clues in Photographs: Women’s Clothing

Women’s Clothing 1830 – 1890 

When researching the lives of our ancestors in photographs it’s hard not to notice all of the changes happening through time. Some changes were big while others were small and may go unrecognized.  Take for instance women’s clothing during the 1800s.  

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

1830s – It was the ending of the “romantic” era, and women were wearing the hourglass silhouette, which consisted of very full sleeves, very wide necklines, a v-shaped bodice, and wide ankle-length skirts.  

1840s – The styles of this decade were still feminine but more conservative, with colors becoming darker and more somber at first before turning to prints and plaids by the end of the decade. Sleeves were now fitted to the arm, skirts were fuller and floor length. 

1850s – In the mid-1850s, the crinoline (a lightweight, hoop-like cage) expanded skirt width even more. Shawls and capes were worn. 

1860s – The bodice was shortened more during this time, but the shoulders were the same as in the 1850s. Square necklines became popular for daytime wear. The neckline was embellished with ruffles, lace, shirring, and or braid.  

1870s – In the early part of this decade, shoulders and sleeves joined at the point where they normally do to this day. Necklines remained high. The bodice was a cuirass, which was a long-wasted, form-fitting corset composed of whale bones or stiff bonelike structures that extended down to the hips. Cloaks and short capelets were worn as outerwear.  

1880s – The cuirass bodice continued in the 1880s, as did the high neckline and the tight sleeves. The skirt was pleated, draped, layered, aproned and often had a train in back.  

1890s – Evening gowns had elbow-length sleeves. Necklines were very high and were supported by boned collars. While the bustle was gone, layers of gathered fabric remained in its place throughout the 1890s. The skit eventually become slim over the hips and then were gored and flared out for a more circular appearance.  

Something as simple as the style of sleeves or even the placement of buttons can offer clues in historic family photographs. With our “Photography: Clues Pictures Hold Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects” course you will learn more about those hidden clues in your ancestral photos.  

Identifying Military Uniforms in Photographs

Military Uniforms in Photographs 

To correctly identify military uniforms in photographs, it is necessary to read reference books and related websites about the particular branch of the military in its specific country during the correct historical time period. There are absolutely no rules about how a military designed its uniforms over time, although there are a few observations that can be made about military uniforms in general.  

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

A country did not always automatically give uniforms to its military personnel. In some cases, a soldier or sailor had to supply his own uniform, as was done in the case of the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War. Uniforms, like other clothing during the early years of photography, were often handed down from father to son.  

More often than not, the higher the rank of the individual, the more ornate the uniform was. The uniform almost always included headwear, so the style of the hat or helmet is a further indication of rank. The insignias worn on uniforms provide further information about the individual. 

It’s easy to miss clues when viewing the photograph of an ancestor in military uniform. With our “Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects” course you will learn more about locating and identifying some of those clues within your photographs.    

Why did you Trace Your Ancestors?

Why would you want to trace your ancestors?

Well, there are a number of good reasons, but let’s face it, most people trace their ancestors for curiosity’s sake. Others trace their ancestors because they want to know about their different ethnic backgrounds. Others want to trace their roots simply for an increased understanding of just who they are and where they came from. Someone else may need proof of their heritage to gain special benefits from their government.

Tracing your ancestors should not be considered a tedious task. Do not think it’s an overnight project either. It could be a worthwhile hobby that you find interesting and fulfilling. There are many reasons why you may want to research your roots, but whatever your reasons are you will find that, as time moves on, what started out as an interesting little hobby will become a  passion and you will enjoy every minute of it.

With our Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started course you will receive the knowledge and steps moving forward in your adventure. 

Who has Grandma’s Photo?

 Family Albums, Friends and Neighbors

Obviously, knowing where a photograph came from is always helpful. Because of social media and genealogy websites, you may have access to family photographs posted by a family member or even a friend of the family. That person’s photograph collection may include more pictures of the same ancestor taken at different times or with other relatives.

Family albums are repositories of photographs of friends, neighbors, and relatives by marriage. It is possible that a photograph of your grandmother may turn up in an album belonging to her former neighbors. Those neighbor’s grandchildren may now have that photograph album in their possession.

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

As you document that photograph and its provenance, you might also want to note the photographer who took the image. The names of photographers and their studio locations are sometimes indicated inside old union cases. In later studio portraits this information is sometimes printed right below the image. This is often the case with Cabinet Cards. These photos can include quite an ornate photographer identification or it may simply state, Merchison Studios, Eligin, Illinois. Most people did not travel far to have their picture taken, so their photographer of choice was right in their neighborhood.

Learning how to examine the content and identifying a photograph is a must for the family historian. With our Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects course you will learn more on how to accomplish this.

Who, What and Why?

Basic Questions

How do you learn more about a photograph? Here are some basic questions to help get started.

Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects

WHO is in the photograph?

It would seem that this is a simple question to answer, but identifying people in photographs is not always that easy, especially if there are no other photographs of that person and no living person is around to make the identification. In that case, it may be necessary to rely on a name written on the photograph.

WHAT is in the photograph?

Some photographs have clues that can help identify the subject and the place, even the date, of the photograph. There are numerous things that can appear in a photograph:

  • Houses
  • Commercial buildings
  • Schools
  • Storefronts
  • Cars
  • Street signs

Even Mother Nature can help out if the landscape is studied.

  • Are the trees bare?
  • Is the ground covered in snow?

All of these items are clues to the time of year in which the photo was taken.

WHY was the photograph taken?

Before snapshot cameras became popular around 1900 or so, people did not usually have their photographs taken very often (if at all). So when they did have their photograph taken is was for something special such as a birthday, an engagement or wedding, their arrival in America or in a new town, or a funeral.

Keep in mind that 19th and early 20th century engagement photographs can look almost identical to wedding photographs as most women wore their best Sunday dresses when they married.

It is very helpful to know the basic history of people, places, and things when examining old photographs. These are just some of the topics covered in our Photography: Clues Pictures Hold, Editing, Digitizing and Various Projects course

Research and Collaboration

Collaboration and Brick Walls

Many of us tend to work on our genealogy research alone. It is an independent activity where we can lose ourselves for hours on end. In some cases, family members actually work together to solve a common research problem. It is these situations that can benefit us the most.

Photo by Gena Philibert-Ortega. Used with permission.

But what can we do if we do not have someone in our family that shares our passion? There are several different options available.

  • Society Meetings & Conferences

Folks who attend these meetings and conferences are just as interested in genealogy and are probably willing to listen to the story about great-aunt Elsie, of which your children and cousins have grown tired.

  • Social Networking Websites

There are many popular websites that allow you to “friend” or “follow” other people, from family, friends, coworkers, etc. to others who share similar interests (such as genealogy!).

  • Message Boards & Mailing Lists

Although these tools have been around for ages, they are still popular among genealogists and are a great place to ask brick wall questions.

  • Online Family Trees

Having your tree online makes it possible for cousins or others researching your family to get in touch with you.

  • Blogs

Blogging also lends itself to reaching a broader audience than a genealogical publication, and, because it is online and searchable, you stand a good chance of attracting others.

Remember, it may take multiple strategies to find the answer to your research question. Sometimes you just need to step away from a research problem. With our Skill-Building: Breaking Down Brick Walls course we will give you the tools and techniques needed to break down that brick wall.

Recording Your Information

Recording your information

The Pedigree Chart (or Ancestral Chart) will record your direct line ancestors’ information. In other words, you will record the dates and locations of births, marriages, deaths and burials from one father and mother to the next father and mother. While the potential is there for an endless number of ancestors, most of us in the beginning only have knowledge of two or three generations.

Genealogical Numbering Systems

The Sosa-Stradonitz genealogical numbering system is very common. This system assigns a number to ancestors, beginning with the descendant. So your pedigree charts start with the first line, labeled number 1. Number 1 is the name of the person whose genealogy you are doing. So, if you’re doing your own genealogy, your name will be on line number 1. The abbreviations used on the form to record places and dates include:

  • B for date of birth
  • M for date of marriage
  • D for date of death
  • P for place or W for where (location of above events)

The number 2 person on your chart, if number one is yourself, will be your father’s name and his factual information. Number 3 will be your mother’s name and her information. Number 4 is your father’s father, in other words, your paternal grandfather and number 5 your paternal grandmother. Numbers 6 and 7 are your maternal grandparents. Numbers 8-15 are your great-grandparents.  Notice that all the even numbers indicate your male ancestors and all the odd numbers indicate your female ancestors.

Taking our course Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started will help with you learn more the charts and reports used in genealogical research.

April 2019 Virtual Meetings

Month by arztsamui/Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Have questions about your courses or your research? Virtual Meetings are a way for you to communicate with an instructor. These meetings are NOT mandatory, but a fun & interactive way to ask questions about courses/research. Below are the April scheduled sessions. Join us!
Wednesday, April 10th at 10:00 AM EDT – Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program – GENERAL with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Time zones:
Wednesday, April 10th – 10:00 AM Eastern; 9:00 AM Central; 7:00 AM Pacific; 3:00 PM in London, England;
Thursday, April 11th – Midnight in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Wednesday, April 10th at 11:30 AM EDT – Internet Tools with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Time zones:
Wednesday, April 10th – 11:30 AM Eastern; 10:30 AM Central; 8:30 AM Pacific; 4:30 PM in London, England;
Thursday, April 11th – 1:30 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Wednesday, April 10th at 1:30 PM PM EDT – American Record courses with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Time zones:
Wednesday, April 10th – 1:30 PM Eastern; 12:30 PM Central; 10:30 AM Pacific; 6:30 PM in London, England;
Thursday, April 11th – 3:30 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Wednesday, April 10th at 3:00 PM EDT – Methodology courses with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Time zones:
Wednesday, April 10th – 3:00 PM Eastern; 2:00 PM Central; Noon Pacific; 8:00 PM in London, England;
Thursday, April 11th – 5:00 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Thursday, April 11th at 11:00 AM EDT – Eastern European Records courses with Lisa Alzo
Time zones:
Thursday, April 11th – 11:00 AM Eastern; 10:00 AM Central; 8:00 AM Pacific; 4:00 PM in London, England;
Friday, April 12th – 1:00 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Thursday, April 11th at 5:00 PM EDT – English Records courses with Brenda Wheeler
Time zones:
Thursday, April 11th – 5:00 PM Eastern; 4:00 PM Central; 2:00 PM Pacific; 10:00 PM in London, England;
Friday, April 12th – 7:00 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Friday, April 12th at 7:00 PM EDT – Methodology courses with Brenda Wheeler
Note: This session has been set up for the convenience of our students in Australia and New Zealand; however, all students are welcome to join in.
Time zones:
Friday, April 12th – 7:00 PM Eastern; 6:00 PM Central; 4:00 PM Pacific;
Saturday, April 13th – Midnight in London, England; 9:00 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Wednesday, April 17th at 4:00 AM EDT – Australian Records courses with Kerry Farmer
Time zones:
Wednesday, April 17th – 4:00 AM Eastern; 3:00 AM Central; 1:00 AM Pacific; 9:00 AM in London, England; 6:00 PM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Thursday, April 25th at 10:00 AM EDT – Professional Development courses with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Time zones:
Thursday, April 25th – 10:00 AM Eastern; 9:00 AM Central; 7:00 AM Pacific; 3:00 PM in London, England;
Friday, April 26th – Midnight in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Thursday, April 25th at 11:30 AM EDT – Analysis and Skills Mentoring Program-Part 3 – ARTICLE REVIEW with Gena Philibert-Ortega
Please follow the directions found in your course material and read the article.
Time zones:
Thursday, April 25th – 11:30 AM Eastern; 10:30 AM Central; 8:30 AM Pacific; 4:30 PM in London, England;
Friday, April 26th – 1:30 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
Saturday, April 27th at 11:00 AM EDT – Canadian courses with Kathryn Lake Hogan
Time zones:
Saturday, April 27th – 11:00 AM Eastern; 10:00 AM Central; 8:00 AM Pacific; 4:00 PM in London, England;
Sunday, April 28th – 1:00 AM in Sydney, Australia
(Note: “Enter as a Guest”)
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Calendar of Virtual Meetings is at www.genealogicalstudies.com; top menu > INFORMATION > VIRTUAL LEARNING ROOM.
If you have not attended a Virtual Meeting before, read the Instructions at www.genealogicalstudies.com/instructions.pdf.
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