Photo Identification Services


Yours truly, taken by a modern tintype photographer in 2015.

Welcome!  My name is Mark A. Wentling, M.L.S.  I am a professional genealogist with an archival education background.  I offer photo identification services online without the need to send your originals through the mail.

If you’re like most genealogists, at some point you’ve probably held an old unlabeled family photo in your hands and your mind has been full of questions….

  • Who is this person?
  • When was this picture taken?
  • Where was it taken?
  • Why was it taken?
  • What can this picture tell me about my family?

Too often our ancestors have neglected to write down these important details, or no one has ever thought to ask the questions—until you did!

Fortunately, not all is lost.  There are clues in old photographs that can often yield surprisingly solid answers to these questions and more.

I can help you find the answers….

What you’ll need to provide

Just follow these five simple steps:

  1. Prepare – If your picture is in an album, carefully remove it so that you can get a good view of all sides and edges.
  2. Measure – Lay a ruler along the length and width of the photo to show its size.
  3. Photograph – Using a good-quality digital camera, such as an iphone, take a clear picture of both the front and back of your photograph, as well as one of the edge next to the ruler to show thickness.  If you can do this on a flatbed scanner, that’s even better, since the resulting images will contain more detail.  If the photo is in its own case (as with daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and some tintypes), please send snapshots of the inside and outside of the case and of any photographer’s initials or markings.
  4. Describe – Describe any details you know about the picture, including where it came from, who owned it, and how you got it. If you think you know who the picture depicts but aren’t sure, list any vital details you know, such as birth, marriage and death dates and places of residence.
  5. Order – Email the images and details to me and send payment via PayPal using the links below.

If you would like me to compare a photo of a known person to a photo of an unidentfied person to help determine if they are the same person, then please repeat all of the above steps for each picture.*

What you’ll get back from me

Using my archival training and 20 years of experience with old photographs, I will evaluate your picture and provide you with a report containing:

  • identification of the type of photography used
  • an estimated time frame (as narrow as possible) in which the picture was taken
  • an explanation of any significant props or decorations used in the photograph
  • location where the photograph was taken, if discernible from the photo
  • conclusion about likely identity of the person, if you’ve provided vital statistics and/or a photo for comparison

How to Order:

  1. Email the materials outlined in the 5 Steps above to
  2. Send $36 for each photo you are requesting identification of using the PayPal button below.  The fee covers up to 30 minutes of research and reporting per photo.

If you are including one or more photographs for comparison, please count each as a separate photo when ordering, since each will need to be evaluated in order to provide you with an accurate comparison.

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You’re done!  I strive to deliver my report to you via email within two weeks of your order.

Thank you for your order!