Additionally, the new wife's children, sporting a different last name than my great-grandfather and listed great-grandpa’s stepchildren, were all born before my great-grandfather found himself on the other side of my great-grandmother's door. Good stuff, eh? But, I digress.
Alas, we finally arrive at this installment of the wonders of ancestry-ness and explore the earlier realms of photography.
The tintype, also known as the ferrotype or melainotype, was a process of developing photographs in the latter half of the 1800's. Unlike the photographic paper used in the 20th century, the tintype process used a thin sheet of black enameled iron and was a slightly more durable photo than the ambrotype of the mid 1800's, which used a glass plate. At that time, the ambrotype was preferred to the previous daguerreotype, so named for one of its inventors, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. The daguerreotype used a polished silver surface with silver halide and iodine vapor.
I had no idea of tintypes until a recent trip to see my family in the United States. With the passing of his parents, my father came into possession of many family photos, including several tintypes. Fortunately, the subjects of all but one of these photos had been identified.
I say "fortunately" as there are many families coming across these photos in attics and basements with no accompanying identification. More unfortunate is the discarding of these images for lack of knowing who is who.
My father's only unidentified tintype is the image below of two lovely ladies. Lovely being a relative term. I gotta say, I don't care much for the haunting feel of some older images. A little extra light would've gone a long way.
My father and I decided to see what more light would do, but we were concerned about the effects of flash photography or the light of a scanner on the tintypes. As it was a weekend and reputable photography businesses were closed, we took it upon ourselves to test the corner of a tintype on the scanner with no ill effect. The scans produced clear reproductions so there will be no need to subject the tintypes to this kind of light again.