Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dating and Identifying Old Photographs

W. T. Booksh Sr. and Zimmerman family, belletisdale.blogspot.com
My Grandfather Wilton Tisdale Booksh, Sr. tells us about some of his photos.
Vera Booksh Zimmerman, W. T. Booksh, Sr., Dina and Erik Zimmerman. 1984
Photo by W. T. Booksh, Jr.

Next Monday, February 9, 2015, I will be doing my presentation on Dating Old Photographs for the Brevard Genealogical Society at 9:30 am at the Cocoa Library. The handout for the program is available by clicking on the “Dating Photographs” tab above.

It's hard to believe that I first put this program together 15 years ago as a slide presentation. Slides, you remember them, don't you? All tucked into one of those metal carousels? And lugging a big heavy projector in a leather carrying case? Now I just grab my thumb drive and I'm ready to go.

This program brings together two of my favorite subjects, photography and costume design. I got my love of photography from my paternal grandfather, Wilton Tisdale Booksh Sr. (1886-1985).  He built his own camera about the turn of the century. I got my first box camera when I was 10 years old and my first 35mm camera when I graduated from high school. I also got interested in sewing very early, starting out with a hand-cranked sewing machine when I was 5 years old. I got my love of sewing from my maternal grandmother, Sarah Gonzales Begue (1888-1965).  Of course, living in New Orleans the progression from sewing to costume design was only natural. I did extensive research on clothing styles in designing costumes for Mardi Gras balls.

These two subjects came together when I started copying Great Grandma Belle Tisdale Booksh's photo collection. Fortunately I became interested while Grandpa Booksh was still alive and he was able to identify most of the people in the pictures. Often the only way to figure out the dates of these old photos was to look at the clothing styles.

Eventually I put together the information I collected on dating photos into a slide presentation for my local genealogical society. I went digital about ten years ago and have updated my presentation each year. So if you're in the Cocoa, Florida area, stop in. If not, keep reading this blog as I plan to touch on the dating and identification of the photos that I post.