2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 19, 2018 1:54 PM by Alex Daverede Branched from an earlier discussion.

    How to find information on how to date a military picture?

    Myra Michel Newbie

      Can anyone direct me on how to find information on how to date a military picture? I have a picture of my great grandfather on a navy ship but I don't know what year or if he even served in a war because I can't find any info on him.

        • Re: How to find information on how to date a military picture?
          Holly Rivet Adventurer

          Ms. Michel,

           

          Thank you for contacting the History Hub!

           

          You may be able to request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) from the National Archives in St. Louis.  This record series consists of Navy servicemen retired or discharged between 1886 and 1994.  The files contain basic biographical information as well as military training and bases where they served. Often times they also include identification pictures and personal correspondence.  Many of these records also contain a negative of their ID picture which we are happy to put onto a CD for you.

           

          These records are releasable to the public when the date of separation becomes 62 years from today’s date.  You may request these OMPFs to view in our Research Room for no charge or complete an SF-180 form and send it to the following address:

            

          National Archives and Records Administration

          National Archives at St. Louis

          ATTN: RL-SL

          PO Box 38757

          St. Louis, MO 63138

           

          Sincerely,

           

          Holly Rivet

           

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          • Re: How to find information on how to date a military picture?
            Alex Daverede Adventurer

            Ms. Michel,

             

            Photographs can contain clues as to the date they were taken.  Uniforms, insignia, and decorations worn can suggest a range of dates of when the photograph was taken because the Navy (as do all the Services) had regulations that specified how sailors should be dressed--those regulations have dates.

             

            Similarly, if enough of the ship is included in the photo, a reasonable guess as to the age of the picture can be made.  The ship's configuration, weapons, even paint scheme, can all give clues as to when the picture was taken.  Warships seldom looked the same throughout their careers, and visual details about the ship can give clues about the years the ship held the configuration suggested in your photo.

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