Monday, March 7, 2016

The 21 Day Genealogy Challenge - Day 11: Photographs

Faded photograph, covered now with lines and creases.
Tickets torn in half.  Memories in bits and pieces. 
“Traces” by Bobby Buie, J.R. Cobb, Emory Gordy, Jr.

Welcome to day 11 of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  Today is a follow up post regarding your ancestral photographs.  On day three we took out pictures and sorted them according to what we wanted and what we were willing to donate to relatives.  We also sorted photos that had no identification. 

How has your sorting process gone so far?  Remember to reach out to relatives who may be able to help you identify the unknown people in your pictures.  The sad reality is that you may never be able to identify everyone in your photos, but at least you will have given it a try.

Now, what to do with these pictures.  First, you will want to scan all the photos, and place the ones you can identify in your family tree.  If your photo has five people in it, and you know who all five people are, attach that photo to each of their profiles in your tree.  If your program allows you to tag the individuals, it would be a good idea to do that.  Give a caption to the photo even if it merely states the date and place the picture was taken.

You can also create a family album in social media such as Instagram or create a Family Reunion page on Facebook where you can include these photos to share with others.  If you would rather not make the page social, you can set the privacy setting where you are the only person who can have access to the pictures.  Using a company such as Shutterfly or MySocialBook, you can then print out pictures in book form in any manner you choose.  Perhaps a book of Christmas memories through the years.  Or, create a family history photo album based on one particular side of the family.  Whatever you choose to do will be right for you.

Now, about those pictures you could not identify.  There are sites on line that can help.  Facebook has groups page titled Random Acts of Genealogy Kindness and Random Acts of Kindness Photo Restoration Group.  While the members in these groups may not be able to tell you who is in the picture, they are great at helping identify the year the picture may have been taken and give clues for where you can look for further information.

Another site to look into is  In this site, members upload photographs and give what information, if any, they have regarding the picture.  Viewers of the site can peruse the photographs and if they recognize someone in the photos, they can post or contact you to let you know.

In previous posts I have mentioned reaching out to the historic societies of your ancestor’s hometown.  Even small towns have someone interested in local history.  Check to see if the town you are researching for your ancestor has a historic society or even a homepage.  It might surprise you that these sites will have photographs and information dating pretty far back.  It is worth taking the time to look.  Reach out to the individual who maintains the site and let them know you are conducting research.  If they can’t help you, they might know someone who can.

I mentioned above about scanning and sharing the photographs.  You will also want to save those scans on a thumb drive or other removable device – perhaps a hard drive – and keep it in a safe place.  I personally keep mine in a safe to protect from fire and water damage.  You may also want to save copies on extra thumb drives and send to relatives.  By doing so, you have more than one copy that is kept secure should your drive be damaged or lost.

Here is your five point review:

  • Scan the photos you have decided to keep.

  •  Share the photos of your ancestral relatives on your family tree.

  •  Save the scanned images on a flash drive or removable hard drive.

  •  Upload the images in a printable album to share with others or at least to have an enjoyable ancestry photo book to look at.

  •  Search sites that might be able to help you identify unknown individuals in your photographs.

Congratulations! You have completed day 11 of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in the Blog Comment section below.  Invite your friends to join this challenge by sharing this blog with them on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.  The share icons are just below this blog entry.

Thank you for joining this challenge and remember…..

History not shared is History forgotten!