DISCLAIMER: Although I own several of PhotoTree’s books, I purchased them myself through the years at various genealogy conferences. I have received no compensation or complimentary products from them at any time.
I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted a commercial website as a GeneaGem, but PhotoTree is an exception. I have a number of old photos, some of which are of unidentified people and time periods. Through the years, I have amassed a small collection of “how-to” books to help me date the pictures by photo style and fashions of the people in the pictures. Several of my books are Kwik Guides, which are published by PhotoTree, and are often on sale at vendor tables in genealogy conference expo halls.
However, if you have never visited PhotoTree’s actual website, you are missing out on a fabulous research toolbox full of great information.
There are multiple categories on the tool bar near the top of the screen: History, Identification, Gallery: 1,000 Images, Case Studies, Photo Care, Books, Articles and Resources. This is literally a mini-encyclopedia of knowledge about all aspects of photography, except maybe for purchasing a camera!
The History tab gives an overview of types of early photographs with picture examples of each.
The Identification tab has tips on identifying the type of old photo you might be trying to learn about.
The Gallery of 1,000 Images is just plain fun to browse. The images are sorted into categories down the left side of the screen with Favorites displaying wonderful old pictures.
Case Studies shares a couple of stories about how these old photos were identified. For anyone wanting a “how-to” lesson, this is the place to look.
Photo Care is one of the most important tabs because if your old photos have survived this long, you certainly don’t want to be the one who mistreats them! Tips included care and storing along with cleaning.
Books is the place where you can purchase PhotoTree’s line of publications. Some, but not all, are available in both hard copy and Kindle versions.
The Articles tab offers a wide range of topics about subjects relating to photography.
The last tab, Resources, has links to product reviews, genealogical organizations (although the calendar hasn’t been updated since 2014) and tools and supplies.
I haven’t come across many commercial websites that have a research toolbox as terrific as the one on PhotoTree. It is well worth a visit.