Your Own History
Mining family history from old photos
Old family photos can be a gold mine of information about your family history. Time to venture into the deep dark recesses of the basement and shed some light on those snapshots of times past. Label the photos by writing lightly on the backs with pencil, or use sticky tabs (stuck to the back only). Never use pen or write directly on the surface of the photo as this can damage it. You can also number the backs of the pictures and write the information on a separate sheet. Ask family members, friends, or neighbors to help you identify as much information as you can about the photos. Start by recording the full names of the people in the photo and how they are related, then move on to the date and location of the picture. If more information is available, you can write down the story behind the photo. Was it taken on Mom and Dad's first date, or in front of Uncle Ed's store that later burned down? Note any other significant information you see in the photo. Perhaps Grandma is wearing the earrings that she passed down to you, and that you will someday pass on to your own children. Finally, if you are writing your own personal history, write down any feelings the photo evokes in you. Photos can be a wonderful springboard for memories. Do your children and grandchildren a favor by keeping good records of modern-day pictures as well. Family history is more precious than gold, because once it is lost, it can never be replaced.
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