OliveTreeGenealogy.com logo for Olive Tree Genealogy and its free free genealogical resourcesYour link to the past since February 1996! Search for your ancestors in free Ships' Passenger lists, Naturalization Records, Palatine Genealogy, Canadian Genealogy, American Genealogy, Native American Genealogy, Huguenots, Mennonites, Almshouse Records, Orphan Records, church records, military muster rolls, census records, land records and more. Olive Tree Genealogy Free Genealogy Database marks FREE genealogy records.
Olive Tree Genealogy Blog was one of MyHeritage top 100 Genealogy blogs, one of the 25 Most Popular Genealogy Blogs by Technorati and one of the Top 40 Genealogy Blogs 2011 & 2012.

See the list of Ten People All Genealogists Should Follow On Twitter




Check out the Genealogy Books written by Olive Tree Genealogy!

Organize Your Genealogy in Evernote in 10 Easy Steps is a must have!

Follow Olive Tree Genealogy on             

Death Finds a Way: A Janie Riley Mystery by Lorine McGinnis Schulze

Janie Riley is an avid genealogist with a habit of stumbling on to dead bodies. She and her husband head to Salt Lake City Utah to research Janie's elusive 4th great-grandmother. But her search into the past leads her to a dark secret. Can she solve the mysteries of the past and the present before disaster strikes? Available now on Amazon.com and the CreateSpace eStore
The Peer Family in North America in 6 Volumes are available for sale!
Genealogy Tips

Try an Ancestry.com Free Trial

Spread the Word
Share with other genealogists! Tweet this page!

Google Plus Proilfe page for Olive Tree GenealogyFollow Olive Tree Genealogy on Google+

Ancestor Search

Google Custom Search
Search Olive Tree Genealogy Family of Websites

Your Name in History
Find out if your Surname is part of the Our Name in History Collection! Just type your surname into the search box
Get Started in Genealogy
Search Military Records - Fold3

Dating Ancestor Photos Through Clothing and Hairstyles

Civil War Era Fashions for Women


Typical features of Civil War era women's fashions were
  • contrasting collar (easily removed for laundering or replacement)
  • wide sleeves and folds on the bodice give a sense of width at the shoulders and bustline
  • wide hoop skirt showing width at the bottom
  • gathers from the bodice and skirt into a narrow waist, which is emphasized by the contrasting width of the sleeves
1861 woman 1862 woman 1860 woman
clothing style 1861 fashion 1862 clothing ca 1860s
1863 hair 1870 hair 1900 hair
fashion 1863 woman 1870 fashion ca 1900


There was a universal hairstyle popular during the war. Hair was arranged very low on the crown of the head, and wider to the sides. Hair was always parted down the middle and slicked down on the crown, then pulled to the back and secured with pins into a bun or roll. Sausage curls and ringlets were popular in the evening, but some women did their hair this way for a photograph.

Hairnets, or nets, were sometimes worn during the Civil War era. Most often they matched the color of the woman's hair. Most were quite plain but some were elaborate constructions of ribbon, velvet strips, or braid with beading.
1863 civil war ribbons in hair Hair with netting
1863 Hair 1860s Hair with ribbons late 1860s Hair with net
1870s woman with ringlets 1871 woman 1880s hair
late 1860s early 1870s
hair with ringlets
1871 Hair much fancier 1880s Hair

Civil War Era Fashions for Men


There were four types of coats worn in this time period:
  • Men generally wore a frock coat, their equivalent of today’s casual suit jacket. It was cut straight across at the bottom.
  • The tail coat (where the back of the jacket was longer than the front) was only worn for formal occassions.
  • The cutaway coat was similar to the frock coat except the front was cut so that it flared back instead of being cut straight across.
  • The loose fitting sack coat was popular during this period
Most shirt collars were of the “turn down” variety rather than the earlier stand-up type.
Civil War Era Frock Coat Civil War Sack Coat
Civil War Era Frock Coat Civil War Era Sack Coat

Vest (Waistcoat)

Vests or Shirtcoats were often worn. They could be almost any style and material but in general were cut straight across at the bottom. They had a shawl or notched collar Trousers or pants were cut high on the waist and had button fronts as zippers were not in use at this time. Suspenders were usually worn to hold the trousers up.


There was a wide range of acceptable hair styles and facial hair styles in the 1860s. Men’s hair during the ante-bellum and Civil War periods tended to be longer, about collar length on the sides.

Hair oils, Macassars, or pomatums were used by almost all men during the mid 19th century and gives the appearance of a wet look to the hair. This is how men achieved the various wings, swirls and rolls often seen in their hair in images of this period.
1872 hairstyle 1870 hairstyle 1878 hairstyle
1872 hairstyle 1870s hairstyle 1878 hairstyle
1879 hairstyle 1880s hairstyle 1890s  hairstyle
1879 hairstyle 1880s facial hair 1890s hairstyle

Civil War Era Fashions for Children

Skirt and petticoats for girls were mid-calf and the pantaloon was ankle length. As girls developed a bustline, skirts and petticoats get longer until they were ankle length or longer. Pantaloons get shorter until they were mid-calf for young ladies.
Children Fashion Civil War
girl ca 1863 young girl 1863 young girl 1880s
boy 1864 young boys 1865 young boy 1886 dressed traditionally as girl
This is my grandmother's brother Ernest Simpson

View Ancestor Photo Albums | Identify Ancestor Photos: Types of Early Photographs | Hints for Dating Old Photographs | Dating Old Photographs through Clothing & Hairstyle | How Revenue Stamps Can Date Ancestor Photos

Genealogy Spotlight

Be sure to check out Lorine's Genealogy Books now available on Amazon and CreateSpace
Free Genealogy Trials
*Trial Access Ancestry.com
*14 Days FREE Ancestry.co.uk

Lost Faces Ancestor Photos from the 1800s

Wishing you had an ancestor photograph? See the 1800s photographs and ancestor photo albums on Lost Faces. There are over 2,500 photos in this growing genealogy collection

Don't leave without searching for your ancestors on Olive Tree Genealogy! Free Ships' Passenger lists, orphan records, almshouse records, JJ Cooke Shipping Lists, Irish Famine immigrants, family surnames, church records, military muster rolls, census records, land records and more are free to help you find your brick-wall ancestor. Build your family tree quickly with Olive Tree Genealogy free records

URL: http://olivetreegenealogy.com/           All rights reserved          Copyright © 1996-present
These pages may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without my written consent.

Home Philosophy Helping FAQ Link to Olive Tree Make Olive Tree Your Homepage Library Friends Search Store About Lorine Awards, Interviews About OliveTreeGenealogy

Contact Lorine at Contact Lorine of Olive Tree Genealogy