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I've been trying to figure out if there's any information I could dig out of this photograph. Family lore says it's a photo of my great-great-grandfather. He's rather a man of mystery and this is one of our only leads on him. My great-grandfather (his son) was born in 1905 in Chicago. If it is a photo of my great-great-grandfather, I'd assume it was taken sometime during the Spanish-American War. We have a theory that he may have been a member of a Wisconsin regiment, but we're not completely sure.

I don't know anything about military uniforms, badges, etc, and I've struggled to find resources online.

Does anybody know how I could date, decipher, or figure out any information from this photograph?

There appears to be a resource for UK military photos where experts can help identify dates, regiments, and other information, but I've not found anything like that for the US. I'm sure that the right person could get some kind of info from this.

1 Answer 1


This is a general answer that may be added to later as I find more resources.

For the United States Army, one of the major websites is the U.S. Army Center of Military History. A basic reference there, available as a PDF download is "Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements" by David Cole.

The "Survey of U.S. Army Uniforms, Weapons and Accoutrements" by David Cole, was compiled as a classroom reference for the Army Museum System's Basic Curatorial Methods Training Courses. This document may be used as a reference to assist in identifying Army material culture.

I looked at Cole's bibliography to see what sources he used, and to get the regulations, I used "Uniform of the Army of the United States" as the basis of a search on Google Books. The official regulations from the Quartermaster's Office do not have illustrations, but they could be useful while looking at illustrations and photos to direct the viewer's eye to the relevant points to check.

You could also try looking for similar photos using these resources:

Related questions at GenealogySE:

General resourses:

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