Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Who's in your photos?

One thing that I have learned throughout the whole process of my family research is how extremely important it is to preserve and protect all those family photos that are lying dormant in a dark closet, either in shoeboxes or in those very ancient photo albums. How terrible would you feel if God forbid, one day there was an unexpected disaster and they are all destroyed? Once lost, they can never be recaptured! Yes, it is an overwhelming process to sort them all out, scan them in, organize them in files & save in a digital format. Plus, as we get older, how well are we going to remember everything about those pictures? I will always be eternally greatful to my Grandma Martin for diligently taking the time to write notes on the backs of most of her pictures. If you have some like that, don't forget to scan in the backsides too. Secondly, I will address the proper method to store those photos and one of the best methods for attaching notes. I am not an expert by no means, but in the past several years, I have learned a thing or two. I also make a point to subscribe to a few online newsletters written by experts in the field.
No, before you ask, it is not a major investment that will break your piggy bank. The following list of items can be purchased for the most part even at your local Wally World. Here is what you will need.

  1. Acid free or Archival quality photo albums or boxes
  2. A stack of 3X5 note cards
  3. Acid free ink pens
  4. Photo safe scotch tape
See, that wasn't too bad. When you are ready to put short notes to go with your pics, first write the info. on the note card using the special pen. (These pens contain archival quality ink that will stand the test of time, even up to 50 years!) Then, it is your choice whether to tape the notecard to the back of your photos, or place them beneath the photos in the album, facing out on each page. 
Would you like to know what happens to our treasured family photos after we are dead and gone? With no clue as to who the people are in our pictures, they end up either in the trash, or donated to antique stores or thrift stores. It won't be your children who do it, but your grandchildren or their children. There are many people who have come to understand the importance of the family connection and their ancestral pictures. They rescue the pictures, scan them in and post them to websites in hopes that someone, somewhere will be searching, and will recognize them.
By the way, the photo I posted at the top of this page, was taken at the 2-family house that my parents shared with my Aunt Alice & Uncle Victor (from my dad's family). It was the summer of 1957. From L-R, Aunt Alice Guerin, my mom-Joan Guerin, and me about 18 months old.

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