I have a lot of opportunities to talk with folks about their family photos, and one commom lament is, "I don’t have anything. It was all lost in a (fire/flood/tornado)." Or, "My third cousin 'borrowed' them all years ago, and we haven't seen them since." Or simply, "My family didn’t keep any family photos.”
Then we get to talking a little more, and I ask, "You have a picture of yourself, right?"
"Of course I've got pictures of myself."
"What about your parents? Do you have any pictures of them? Or your children?"
"Well, yeah, I've got lots of pictures of them. But I mean family history pictures. I don't have any OLD pictures."
Let's stop right there. Remember, the first word in family history is FAMILY. That includes you, and it includes now! And, as with anything, when you are just starting out, the best approach is start simple, and go from what you know (or what you have) to what you don’t know (or what you don’t have). So let’s start with what you do have:
Start your Pictorial Family History:
- Make a list of your immediate family members – parents, children, spouse – and look to your own pictures to find an image of each person on your list. You don’t need to start with a lot of pictures – in the case of family history preservation, one picture is infinitely better than none.
- If the images you have chosen are not already digitized, scan them, or have someone to scan them for you.
- Add your grandparents and their other children (your aunts and uncles) to your list. Do you have photos of them? Scan those too. Also, make a list of what you don’t have. (We’ll discuss how to deal with that in an upcoming installment.)
- Create a file on your computer labeled “Family History Images” (or something like that). Copy all of your family history images into that file. (If you have a lot of images, you may need to create sub files.)
- Upload your images onto your free Family Photoloom account, and tag all the individuals. Then go into the “Relationship View” and drag each individual into the relationship setter. You now have a 3-generation chart complete with pictures on your screen, with the potential for literally infinite family lines and relationships.
Next week: Protecting Your Precious Family Photos
Free genealogy tutorials and classes for beginners:
- GenTutorials (Great series of tutorials, presented by GenWriters)
- Finding Your Ancestors (BYU Independent Study Course)