Mark Twain

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Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, August 2, 2010

#4 Photo Family History

Some goals are hopefully life-long activities (walking, Tai Chi, stretching), and some are long-term. spanning years to complete.

An important long-term goal for me is the completion of my family's photo albums. When I retired it was #1 on my to-do list, and I had grand plans. Scrapbook everything!! With enthusiasm I went to the craft store, bought specialty paper, stickers, paper punches, special pens, idea books. It was a fun fest, but when I sat down to do the first page I realized it was not do-able. My old albums were falling apart, old sticky album pages were damaging my photos, and the idea of "scrap books" faded very quickly. My focus changed. Scrapbooks weren't for all your pictures - just for a single topic or person. One page of a scrapbook would contain a single picture or two surrounded by artistic elements and could take a day to design and complete. Forty years of pictures would take 50 years of scrap booking (well, maybe not really, but way longer than I wanted to do). And many of the pictures wouldn't make the scrapbook - too many would be unused. What I wanted was as many of the memories in these pictures as I could capture, not the art work.

Over the last 40+ years, I have taken pictures - lots (just ask my kids). Pictures document family history in a way that print can't capture. I started to consolidate, crop, label, cull (how many pictures of elephants in a zoo do you need) and re-mount these pictures into new photo albums - albums that are simple and are archival. It has been a JOB. So far I have completed the albums up to the early 1990's - with dates, peoples' names and locations. And I still have many years of pictures to process - hard copy and electronic.

My goal is to complete the photo mounting/archiving, and then begin the process of writing diary-like entries in the album so that if someone enjoys seeing and knowing the history of this family during my time as a part of it, they will have the details. The expect that this whole process should take several more years.

And as for all the scrap booking supplies?? Well I haven't totally given up the idea of a single scrap book at some point. I just need to narrow the focus.


  1. That is one BIG project. I have lots of photos, they are all in photo albums where I put them at the time I took them. Not many of them are labeled but at least they are in order! :-)

  2. Yes, I have already put considerable work into it and there is much more to do. It might not have been such a big job, if I hadn't decided to start from scratch and discard the old albums. Had no choice - they were self distructing.

    What I really want to avoid is having photo albums with no identification of who, what, where and when. I have several old family albums from family members who are long gone. The pictures are mounted but there is no way of knowing who is in the pictures or dates. Very frustrating.


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