Victorian and Edwardian Photographs - Roger
Vaughan Personal Collection -
Some Frequently Asked Questions on Photographs
Q. I have a photograph of an ancestor taken by the same photographer as one on your site,
can I find out who this person is?
A. As over 100 years have now passed it is unlikely that the information has survived.
If the photo is a carte de visite or cabinet card it may have a negative number hand-written on the back
something like 23853 or Ab2236a. This is done if the photographer remembered to do it or if a reorder was
likely and refers to the Negative Number. This should have been written in the Negative Book with the name
of the person who commissioned the photo (not always the sitter). But what has happened to the book now?
Usually they are thrown out when the company closes but a small number will have gone to a nearby
Reference Library, National Museum collection
or Local Record Office, though very few have as yet turned up - if you find one let me know!
More Good News: The Negative books for W.S.Spanton, Bury St. Edmunds (Spanton-Jarman collection)
are, I am told, at the Suffolk Record Office, Bury branch. So if you have a photo from this studio
with a number written on the back, it may just be possible to name the person in the photo.
I am told that the records from the studio of Allison and Allison of Belfast have survived.
The day-book collection is almost intact and in the care of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).
All of their photos were inscribed with a number which may be looked up on a visit to PRONI. (thanks China King).
A better route is to fix a rough date for the photograph and the age of the person, and you know the general
area from the information printed on the back, then try to fit the person into your family tree.
Q. I have a Victorian carte de visite and I want to date it?
To date a victorian or early 20th century lady from her clothes
Go to My Date a Carte de visite Page