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Old Photographs - What Can You Do With Them?
Do You Have Old Photos Hidden In A Box
Old family photos are a wonderful source of family history. Unfortunately, they are also one of those tasks that gets delayed until the kids start school, or you retire, or when you have a bit more cash to buy good photo albums.
The advent of digital cameras, scanners, photoshop and digital storage has created a totally new way of taking, storing, and displaying photos. It has solved the storage of photos, if used properly, but it has created some new problems. These include the number of photos taken as the cost per photo has decreased. Many photos that are taken currently never end up as a paper copy for people to look at, and display in their homes.
I would like to encourage you to have a look at the photos you and your family have in your homes, and see if they are being treated as an important part of your shared family history.
A Wonderful Shot, But Who Is He?
What Old Photos Do Your Parents Have In Their Attic?
I have been studying our family history for many years, but most of the information I have had, until recently has been in text. This has included birth, death and marriage certificates, or other facts that tell us who was born when, and how they are related to me. Photos had not been an important part, as I did not realize how many photos we had.
At the time I first started collecting information, I was getting details from my grandfather. He has been dead for 20 years now, and my mother is now 75 years old. Two years ago she started to look at the photos she had in her possession, many of them given to her by her parents. We then began to look at these photos and store and save them for the future. Most of the people in those photos were unknown to me, and so it is important that she identifies everyone in the photos.
How Can I Save Old Photos?
I contacted my brothers and sisters and told them that we had a large collection of photos, some over 100 years old. I asked if they wanted a copy of them all if we copied, and got some very enthusiastic yesses. A number of them also took an interest in the photos when they visited my mother, and got some copies for their own use, at that time.
I have been scanning the photos onto my laptop. I am not going to go into the technicalities of copying the photos as this will change over time, and with the software that you have. I do suggest that you copy the photo at the best quality as you want to use your copy as a long term record of the photo. There are a number of videos on youtube, showing what other people have done to create a digital record of their photos.
When you are ready to copy your photos, get advice or look online to decide what is the most suitable scanner, software, and format for keeping the photos. Decide how you are going to store the photos long term, as this is going to change over time. Options include storing on your computer (with backup of course!), on computer discs, organized into a slideshow and saved on a DVD, on an external hard drive, or on a portable device such as a flash drive or memory stick. New storage products are becoming available all the time, so do your homework before you start.
I saved all my photos on an external hard drive, and also on CDs. Recently I plugged my external hard drive into my computer to hear a very unhealthy click click, and my first thought was "thank goodness i have another copy on disc". If you have gone to the effort of copying your photos, do have more than one copy to avoid losing them.
My mother and I have spent many hours scanning the photos, and identifying and naming everyone in them. There were some little surprises such as "Grandma had another admirer?" and "That is where we all got that nose from!".
Genealogy And Photography Make Great Bedmates.
- Locate Genealogy Photos of Your Ancestors
So many memories can be stirred with just a glance at an old photo. We've created this index to search across our own data, along with some sites with identified photo collections.
What Can I Do With Individual Photos?
You may not want to build up a large collection of digital photos of your connection, but you may want to do something with single photos. I have put together a list of ideas you can try:
- Take the photo to a local photography centre. They can scan and reprint the photo, and give you a negative.
- You can ask many photo centres to make repairs to the photo. if it is torn, bent, water marked, it is amazing how good your phot will turn out. They can also crop, or enlarge your photo.
- You can get the photo copied on a t-shirt, mug, or mouse pad.
- You can choose 12 of your favourite photos and turn them into a personalized calendar.
- Instead of spending thousands of prints for your home, choose a beautiful photo and get it copied, enlarged and framed.
- Instead of getting your photo put onto photo paper, you can get it printed onto canvas.
- Talk to someone who uses Photoshop. There are many effects that you have on your photos. Examples include giving the photo a paint appearance or different colours for an Andy Warhol type effect.
- A collection of photos can be placed on one poster for a collage effect.
A Picture Paints A Thousand Words.
I have chosen a number of photos to share with you. They each tell a story, or give details of what was in fashion at the time of the photo, or are just cute.
Photos you have in storage can give information about family members, any occupation and interests they may have had, and any family likeness.
If you have elderly relatives, sit down with them and show them your photos. Even if you have asked them details previously, photos can jog their memories. They may recognize someone they had previously forgotten, and even remember when the photo was taken. It is quite possible that you will get a great story telling session, so make sure your afternoon is free.
A Great Studio Photo.
An Important Family Event.
A Child's Studio Photo
The Hair And The Chair Are Fascinating.
The Outfits Are Wonderful.
One Mean-Looking Baby
A Flapper Wedding
Life Was Definitely No Joke.
Have You Checked Out Your Photos?
I hope that I have inspired you to have a look at all those old photos you have around the house. As you can see from the photos I have shared with you, it is a great way to take a trip down memory lane, learn something more about your family, and just have a laugh.
There are also opportunities to use these photos as artwork, or to create personal gifts for family and friends. These photos can also bring your family history to life as you find out exactly what Uncle Harold looked like.
If you have seen the TV program Antique Roadshow, you may recall the amazing prices that some people have been quoted when they have brought along the letters, photos and artwork of a famous relative, or event of historical value. Even if you do not have any famous family members, your family history is still precious and unique to your family.
Check out your photos now. Call your elderly relatives. Identify everyone. Leave me a comment with your story, or better still, write a hubpage with your story.