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logoProformat News                  ISSN 1833-9514
No 14
April 2007

April/May seminars

14 Apr: Accessing the secondary research stream Flinders University at the State Library 9:30am - all day

28 Apr: Interpreting the record Flinders University at the State Library 9:30am - all day

9 May: Tracing your Scottish ancestors WEA Centre Adelaide

12 May: Climbing the genealogy barriers Flinders University at the State Library 9:30am - all day

20 and 22 May: Walking tour of Houghton (History Week event) 2:30pm—details in next newsletter

23 May: Introduction to FH research (over 7 weeks with sessions of 1.5 hrs each) WEA Centre Adelaide 6:00pm

26 May: Pitfalls in Family History Fleurieu Peninsula Family History Group Seminar Day from 10:00am (session 3)

LDS libraries and
Negotiations for free public access to to be retained at many LDS Libraries has broken down
. The Generations Network, Inc, the owner of,,,, and Family Tree Maker, has released a statement about recent negotiations with the Family History Centres of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The company is stopping the practice of giving free access to to all Family History Centres.
The only material to remain of interest to SA researchers will be the indices for the ENG/WLS 1841 to 1891 censuses.
This decision will not affect the services offered by the State Library and SAGHS for free public access to

A number of readers will be aware that I am not a strong advocate for the material offered by that for obvious reasons I cannot outline in this newsletter!

In this issue:

• April/May seminars
• LDS libraries and
• Video
• SA Shipping database

Delving into old family photographs


Adelaide Proformat
5 Windana Mews
Glandore SA 5037

Tel: +61 8 8371 4465
Fax: +61 8 8374 4479


Drafting charts
Locating documents
Seminar presentations
Writing & publishing
SA lookup service
Ship paintings

For many years while waiting to give a seminar presentation I used to display a funny poem about confused relationships. You can now enjoy it set to music on U-Tube

SA Shipping records database
sourcesSources for SA shipping records 1836 to 1842 is a database designed to provide the researcher with a collection of all the sources of records for each voyage into SA waters in the one listing.
The period holds the most comprehensive listing of assisted arrivals and the names of all the applicants including those who eventually did not take up the offer are included as a subsidiary database that can be searched in conjunction with Sources for SA shipping records 1836 to 1842 or independently.
This production is the sixth CD in a proposed series of information databases on the earliest days of the SA colony compiled by Graham Jaunay and is available from Gould Genealogy.

Delving into old family photographs
Following a brief introduction to the history of photography, we will examine the common photographs of each decade of the nineteenth century starting with the 1860s. There is little point in spending much time in the previous two decades as very few of our ancestors could afford to indulge themselves in the earliest photography and many examples of this early era have not survived. Moreover there is little point in progressing far into the twentieth century as the advent of the Brownie box camera, took photography out of the hands of the professionals into the period of the snap shot and relative anonymity when it comes to determining the origin of a photograph. Thankfully most of us have memories that cover the bulk of the twentieth century and if we make it our task to identify these photographs now, our forebears will not face some of the problems we have had to contend with!
When it comes to dating photographs of the nineteenth century, it is the mount rather than the image that gives us the most assistance and that is why photocopies of old photographs are of little help to the researcher. Photography was a cut-throat business and proprietors just had to keep up with the fashion and hence in the larger population centres we see the latest technology in use. Of course the more remote regions did lag behind but surprisingly even the smallest country photographer managed to keep up with his big city counterparts.
Photographer’s studios were filled with aids to help produce that better image. To prevent blinking ‘eye rests’ were used.
Looking into the background of an image will also assist in dating an old photograph while the subjects themselves are often the least help. Most people and especially our poorer ancestors could not afford to be slaves to fashion and so while they are portrayed in their Sunday best, they are likely to be dressed in out-of-date fashions. This trend increases with the age of the subject. Young people are more likely to be in-tune with the current fashion, whereas the elderly are more likely to be dressed in clothes in which they feel comfortable! Probably the most evident example of this can be seen in women’s hairstyles where most older women settle for a style that suits their needs regardless of the current fashion!
To identify a photograph and thus date it requires the researcher to undertake the following detailed examinations:
1. Determine the type of photograph.
2. Analyse the mounting board itself.
3. Examine the back of the mount for printed information.
4. Examine the composition of the image—the pose and background.
5. Review the costume of the subjects.
Step1: What kind of picture is it? Is it a carte de visite, cabinet print, tintype, postcard, roll-film print? Is it something less common (eg ambrotype, daguerreotype, opal print)?

daguerreotype and calotype [from 1840 to 1860]

daguerreotypeThese are rarely found as they predate most commercial photography, and were expensive. They are easily scratched and therefore usually presented in a glass fronted case or frame often in leather. They are faint but detailed.
The rarer calotype is very poorly defined and printed on paper. The earliest known photographs of SA are 4 calotypes (2—Burra Mine 2—North Parade Port Adelaide) in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
ambrotype [from 1851 to 1880]
ambrotypeGlass negatives printed as one-off positives by blacking one side with velvet or shellac. These were cheaper to produce and uncommon rather than rare. Usually found framed in brass or pinchbeck and in a case of leather, wood, papier machè or thermoplastic [from 1854].
carte de visite [from 1858, very common 1890s to WW1]
carteAlbumen paper print mounted on a card, originally intended as illustrated calling cards that became the forerunner to cigarette cards with people collecting famous people and as a consequence also brought about the photo album.
cabinet printcabinet [from 1866 common 1890s to WW1]
A larger version of the carte de visite mounted on a card for framing and sitting on the mantle.

tintype [from 1856 to 1940s]

tintypeVery cheap poor quality reversed pictures on a thin sheet of iron and thus popular and able to be used by itinerant photographers rather than studios. Usually mounted in an embossed paper frame but not covered with glass.
postcard [USA from 1887; UK from 1894]postcard
Picture postcards were introduced according to relaxation of postal rules. They were slightly smaller than today’s versions.
roll-film print [from 1889]
No 2 cameraPre 1900 examples are rare, small and are round or square. 101 film was introduced to the public in July 1895 and produced an image 3.5" square. It remained available until 1956.
The No 2 Kodak (pictured) 1889–1897 had to be returned to have the film processed. From WW1 127 film was introduced.
The most obvious feature of these photos is the outdoor casual locations.
novelty prints

Stereo [from 1852, common 1860s, 1870s, 1890s]
camera Promenade prints [from 1875]
Patent Diamond Cameo [from 1864]
Mosaics and panoramas [from 1865]
Ivorytype [from 1855]
Opal glass prints [from 1865 to 1900]

To be continued.

Note: All photographs displayed except the daguerreotype are from the family albums of Graham Jaunay.

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