My sister and I have boxes and boxes full of old photographs. These photos are from attics and basements of our many relatives who have left us long ago. They were fun to look through when we were cleaning out their attics and basements, but now they reside in our basement and we never look at them. The reason we never look at these photos is that we do not recognize most of the people or places in the photos!
This point was driven home the other day when we attended a 90th birthday party for one of our favorite relatives. His children went to great effort to sort through scrapbooks, photo albums and boxes of old photo’s, scanned hundreds of these photos and created DVD’s to show at the birthday party. It was great fun looking at the photos projected on the large screen – we all laughed at the hair, clothing, and bathing suit styles of way back then! There were some people who we recognized, but most we could not remember. I even saw my parent’s wedding photo. It showed the entire wedding party, but I was unable to recognize or remember the names of everyone in the picture.
Here are 5 suggestions for people wondering what to do with all those old photos you have in the basement or attic:
- Pull all the photos out, sort through and keep only one of every photo — eliminate and throw out the duplicates.
- Then take what’s left and find your oldest living relatives and spend a few hours going through the photos.
- When that person says, “Oh, that’s your Uncle Joe, he was married to my Father’s sister.”, write that information down on the back of the photo;
- Or, place a number on the back of the photo and on a separate piece of paper record the – who, what, and when, and cross-reference the description to the number on the photo.
- Then, scan the photo and burn the file to a CD. Use a software program that has audio recording and record the notations for each photo. You will be able to give duplicates to everyone in the family.
Now you have some recollection of the people and the history behind the photos that your relatives have saved throughout the years. It will take some time, energy, and patience to do this project, but what a shame it would be if their history and lives of your family and ancestors from several decades ago remains a mystery.