We remember our ancestors by their photos, which provide small glimpses into their world, and bring them to life once again. If preserved properly, photos offer lasting impressions for future generations.
When looking at old photos of our ancestors, it's easy to wonder what they were thinking at that moment. Their ambiguous expressions leave us questioning. Were they happy? Were they sad?
There’s nothing like that first family photo with a precious new family member. New parents are so excited to get that perfect shot, showcasing their new bundle of joy.
I remember taking our baby to the photo studio for our first family portrait. It took hours to find the right outfits to wear. After much effort to feed and dress the baby, we finally made it out the door. By the time we got to the studio, we had to start the whole feeding and changing process all over again!
This is why I have come to appreciate the effort involved in taking that first family photo.
Recently, the Royal Family released their first family photos of the Duke, Duchess, and Prince of Cambridge. They were taken by the Duchess' father, Michael Middleton, in their family garden earlier this month. There is one image of the Duke, Duchess and baby George together, and another that includes their two family pets, Tilly and Lupo.
Relaxed and natural, everyone can see their absolute happiness as a new family. This is a great example what a first family photo should look like.
We look forward to seeing more family photos of the Royal Family and Prince George at his upcoming christening at the end of October.
Do you have a first family photo? What is it like?
Viewing old family photos brings up nostalgic memories. Whether it’s a wedding, a picnic in the park or goofing around at home, it’s important to preserve those family moments.
We have wonderful old photos from our ancestors, yet it’s also important to document our lives and cherish today's family gatherings and events.
However, it can be difficult encouraging the kids and and the entire family together to sit for a portrait. That’s why - as part of our “Treasure Family Photos” global initiative - we are offering tips to save and share your family story.
We’re delighted to announce the launch of our global “Treasure Family Photos” initiative to help you uncover new information about your family history through photos and preserve them online.
August marks the start of our ongoing campaign, which will offer exciting activities and competitions. Read on for details.
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s oldest wedding photo competition. All the entries were fantastic and captured the beauty and significance of the person’s special day. The oldest entry was from 1846!
With over 40 photos received, participation was above our expectations. It was great to see the lives of your families and the rich history brought to life with the stories that accompanied them.
A piece of family history can be found in a library book.
As a young girl, I spent a lot of time at the iconic New York Public Library – with those stone lions out front - working on school projects. I once found a book I needed and opened it. Out fell an old-fashioned photo postcard with my grandfather’s picture on it.
He was in the army and had sent the card, with a message, to his sister. She had likely stuck it in the book and forgotten about it, until I found it decades later.
I wasn’t a genealogist then, and in what I now believe was a misguided act of responsibility, I put the card back in the book. Perhaps the owner would come looking for it?
When I got home, I told my family about it, and everyone said I should have brought it home. Fortunately, we found a copy at another relative’s home much later.
Have you ever had to clear out the home of a deceased relative or had to help move an elderly relative to a retirement or nursing home?
Checking the dusty corners of a large home, or even a small apartment, can produce family treasures that would otherwise be lost forever.
Photographs are a great inspiration to see family similarities from past and present.
Argentine photographer Irina Werning's photography series - "Back to the Future" - shows us a new way to explore and preserve photographic memories.
Like many of us, Irina loves old photographs and preserving family memories. In a way to document the present family, she take an older photograph from childhood or from the past, and replicates it with the same people years later.
Together, the two photos show family history coming alive in the present, and is a great way to link memories from our childhood to adulthood.
Have you ever tried to give a recent photo a vintage look or emulate an old family photograph? If so, share the photograph or link to your photo in the comments section below, or share on our Facebook page, Twitter or Google +.
One of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress. A hot topic there centers on personal digital archiving, and much of that relates to family history and genealogy.
The LOC’s Mike Ashenfelder, who writes online articles about personal digital archiving, digital preservation leaders and developments in digital preservation, writes on preserving personal genealogical collections in a digital age.
The popularity of genealogy websites and TV shows is rapidly growing, mainly because the Internet has made it so convenient to access family history information. Almost everything can be done through the computer now. Before the digital age, genealogical research was not only laborious and time consuming, it also resulted in boxes of documents: photos, charts, letters, copies of records and more. Online genealogy has replaced all that paper with digital files. But the trade-off for the ease of finding and gathering the stuff is the challenge of preserving it.
About genealogical databases, Ashenfelder writes:
that relational databases are the engines that drive digital genealogy. Databases make it possible to quickly search through enormous quantities of records, find the person you’re looking for and discover related people and events. And when institutions collaborate and share databases, statistical information becomes enriched.
And, considering some demographics of family history aficionados, digital estate planning now a popular topic. What happens to our digital possessions after we die? And what can we do to preserve them? Getting your digital affairs in order offers much practical information.
In the back of a high closet shelf, in the basement, in your attic, you have some kind of a container.
It may be an old metal box that held cookies a lifetime ago, an old shoebox or hatbox, a modern plastic container with a snap-on lid, or even a handy-dandy sealed plastic bag stuck in a drawer.
The contents may include dried flowers, holiday and life-cycle event cards, and many old photographs. If this is your personal collection, you'll likely know who the people were and when the image was taken. That's good.
However, these treasured possessions may have belonged to your great-grandmother. She, if you are very fortunate, may have written lightly in pencil on the back. The lady in the strange hat is Cousin Helen, you learn, but you've never heard of anyone with that name.
If you are even luckier, the inscription may indicate that it's a holiday gift from "your dear brother in London." You've never heard of anyone who had a brother in London.
If your relative was somewhat obsessive, he or she may have recorded the names, dates and places on each photograph. In this case, your genealogy colleagues around the world will congratulate you on your good fortune!