Tuesday, February 17, 2015

53 Weeks of Genealogy - Week 31 - Photographs

As part of her 52 Weeks of Genealogy, Shauna has chosen Photographs for her topic for Week 31.  In her blog Shauna asks "Are photographs genealogical records? Do they actually tell us any useful information other than giving us someone’s likeness or an image of where they lived? If someone has written on the back that can be very useful, especially if it tells us who, when and where. Sadly most of my photographs do not have anything written on them making identification difficult, if not impossible."
How well are your photos notated??  Are they in albums with names, dates and places attached?  Or are they like most of my family snaps, tossed in a shoebox and largely unidentified?  Who in your family will look after them in the future?
My parent's wedding day, scanned from a slide.

I have been lucky enough to amass quite a collection of family photographs, combining original photos, copied photos, digital photos and slides (any relatives out there please note - I am always happy to swap and share).  A few years ago I acquired a neat little device that could attach to my computer and scan old negatives and slides, creating nice digital photos and I spent several weekends busily scanning away, hugely expanding my photo cache.  Many I waved in front of my parents, seeking details of when, where, what and who, and have made notes on each of as much information as I have.  Like Shauna, many of the photos I have acquired have little information noted on them to help.
Other photos I have acquired from relatives - some quite distant and whom I have never met in person.  Again, I have noted what I can, but sometimes its pretty sketchy.  Who is in the photo - can each individual be named?  When and where was it taken?  What was the occasion?  I want all these details but rarely have them all.
Then, during the cleaning out of a wardrobe, I can across a box with dozens of old photos inside.  And I could have cried as I sifted through them, turning over print after unidentified print, with not a note or a date on any of them.  Several were easy to identify, but others are still a mystery to me, and I have no clue who is in them, when they were taken and why they were included in that box.  A mystery to solve.
So please, if you have a spare moment consider having a browse through your family photos and see how many are labelled and what information you can add, for yourself and for whoever will be custodian of them in the future.

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