Preserving Your Family Photos

by Lena Grey

One of my favorite past times is visiting antique stores. I love to admire the items there which hold memories of our past and while nostalgically recalling the ones which were used by my parents or grandparents in their every day lives.

I especially love admiring old photographs. With a mixture of pleasure and sorrow I realize that they are probably there because no one knows who they are. Sadly, there are often unidentified photos left behind when a family member dies. Because they can’t be identified, these photos are often thrown away or if they are really old, sold to antique stores.

Robert Clayton Forrest and Mary Topping ForrestAs I gaze at the old family portraits, scenes of what once were happy memories of better times, marriages, births, family gatherings, I can’t help but be saddened by how tragic it is that their identities have been lost forever.

Through these sad experiences, I’ve become acutely aware of the importance of keeping track of these precious memories. I’ve begun seeking out and documenting old and new photographs, writings and other family memorabilia in order to preserve them for the future.

The most efficient way to ensure that your family history is not lost is to document and share your photos with others; It’s the key to protecting your family history. Extensive distribution of these documented photos, among family members and friends, will greatly increase the probability of these photos being around for future generations to enjoy and treasure.

Before the digital age, most families only took a dozen or two photos a year; now almost everyone use digital cameras and may take hundreds. Preserving digital photos have their own unique set of problems. The importance of backing up your photos can not be overemphasized. Online backup storage is a reliable way to protect them, but the best backup for digital photos is old-fashioned, reliable prints. However, if you’re like me and take hundreds of photos a year, making prints of all of your photos, besides being totally overwhelming and impractical, would be very expensive as well. A more sensible solution would be to choose the very best photos and only make prints of these. Don’t forget to document their names on the back each.

Please review these Logan County unidentified faces and see if you recognize any of them.

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One Response to Preserving Your Family Photos

  1. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Excellent post, Lena! Thank you for the reminder. Once I got a computer, I backed up all my old photos and saved on floppy discs. Now I don’t even have a computer with a floppy disc drive. I now have most of them on data CDs, which will probably be obsolete before long. You are abosolutely right-Prints are still the best way. Thanks again for the reminder.