First published August 22, 2015.
This is a photograph of Lyman B. Husted, or at least a photograph of someone with the name Lyman B. Husted written on the back. We found this photo in the box of pictures belonging to my great-grandmother, so I’m going to assume that this is indeed Lyman B. Husted, her grandfather and my great-great-great-grandfather. I was very excited to find this picture because it was very old, on a piece of metal and there was a name on the back. Recently I’ve been reading Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen Taylor. It is a very good resource and I thought I would use some of the techniques in the book to decode this picture.
The bottom of the photograph is full of clues. “TIMPE”, I believe is the photographer and the picture was taken in Davenport, Iowa. Lyman B. was still living in Connecticut in 1860 according to the 1860 Federal Census. I’m not sure why he moved to Iowa, but he at least was there by 1877 when he married his wife, Sarah J. Staton, in Iowa. Lyman B. died in 1897, so I’m thinking that this photo was taken at some point between 1861 and 1897.
This photo is a tintype photograph, which were introduced in 1856. They fell out of fashion by the end of the century because of the advent of paper photographs. This doesn’t help too much with dating the photo.
Based on the information provided in Family Photo Detective about dating fashion I think that this picture was taken between 1860 and 1870. The collar looks like a standard folded down collar that is worn today. In the decade prior, men wore popped collars that almost touched their cheeks. In the decade after, men wore thicker collars. Also during this time period, men had facial hair and their hair was parted to the side and a little bit longer. Deciphering mens fashion is difficult so I could be totally wrong about this. However if this photo was taken in this period he would be between 30 and 40 years old, which I think is accurate based on how old he looks.
I don’t know why Lyman B. took this photo or why he moved to Iowa, more family mysteries to solve.