Showing posts with label photos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photos. Show all posts

Saturday, December 30, 2017

YOU Are Part of Your Family's History

Remember that YOU, the family's historian, are an integral part of your family's history. As much fun and as rewarding as it is to research the family's past, it's also important to record the family's present-day doings for yourself and for future generations. There are so many ways to do this. Let me share two of my favorites.

Every year, I create one or more photo books showing family gatherings, travels, and other adventures that my hubby Wally and I have had. This has been my tradition for more than a decade. I also make individual photo books for special events like a big birthday or a wedding in the family.

My preference is to capture each year in photos chronologically. I explain where we are and who we're with, including detailed captions so that our descendants will be able to identify family members and friends.

One more tradition, for the past dozen years, is slotting old and new family photos into a calendar to give to close relatives. We designate each person's birthdate on the calendar with a head shot, as well as marking anniversaries with couples' photos. We also remember loved ones who are no longer with us, by including their faces among the calendar photos.

This calendar is so eagerly awaited and treasured that someone from the next generation volunteered to take over the creative duties last year. She decided there wasn't enough room for photos so she chose a larger format for the 2018 calendar and included even more photos of ancestors! Lucky me to have so many hands helping to share the family's past and present.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday's Tip: Photo Captions with Context

Identifying the people (and their relationship) in old family photos is a must. But often that's not enough to convey the what, when, where, and why of the photo. That's why it's important to include some context when captioning photos, with future generations in mind. I often write a page of explanation to file with the photo, and when digitizing, I add info right on the image.

For example: When I captioned the photos from my parents' wedding, I included not only their names, but the hotel/city, date, and a description of what was happening in the photo. (In my printed version, I explained more about their ages, occupations, my mother's gold lame dress, and everything else I know about the wedding.)

In this photo, Mom and Dad were reading congratulatory telegrams they received during their wedding luncheon. Telegrams? Yup, I labeled the activity, because with ever-changing technology, younger relatives don't ordinarily encounter telegrams in daily life. How could they know what's happening in this photo? So I added that context.

Now future generations will have an idea of what a telegram looks like, and the light bulb will go on (an LED light bulb these days).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Passing My Parents' 70-Year-Old Wedding Album to Heirs

Saving my parents' wedding album by making a photo book for their 3 grandchildren
On November 24, 1946, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, my parents, Harry Burk (1909-1978) and Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981) were married at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City. Today would have been their 70th wedding anniversary!

After so many decades, their wedding album was pretty beat up-looking (see below). So I decided to preserve it and share it with Harry & Daisy's three grandchildren now, along with the story of their courtship and marriage. This is also an easy way to be sure that a single heirloom album can be enjoyed by multiple heirs for many years to come.

Here are the steps I took, little by little, to make a pretty and romantic photobook from the wedding album:

1. Remove each 8 x 10 inch photo from its sleeve in the binder and scan it at high resolution. (I could have scanned without removing the photos, if the album was too deteriorated, but not necessary in this case.)

2. Clean up the images electronically and upload them to a photo book website (I like Shutterfly but others are also excellent).

3. Arrange the photos in sequence, adding the story of courtship and wedding as captions. Also, identify everyone in the photos by full name and relationship (so these details aren't forgotten by future generations--keeping family history alive!).

4. Add a touch of color to each page for visual interest (younger folks may find an all black-and-white book a bit boring).

5. Press the "order" button to buy multiple copies for multiple heirs.

6. The original wedding album will be passed to an heir in the next generation, as designated in my "genealogical will."

On Thanksgiving, I'm feeling thankful for my parents' wedding 70 years ago.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Put a Sleeve on It!

Before I become an ancestor, I want to caption all the old family photos in my collection. I'm on my way, but it's going to be a process not to be finished in a day.

First, I bought archival boxes to lay photos flat, organized by family, rather than having them filed vertically in a folder. Next, I put every single photo into a clear, acid-free, protective sleeve or resealable envelope for long-term storage and protection. (Vendors who offer boxes and sleeves are mentioned on a number of sites, including on Cyndi's List.)

The recommendation to "put a sleeve on it" comes from multiple expert sources, such as:
Now when I have a few minutes, I choose one of the sleeved photos, write a caption on a separate adhesive label, and stick it to the front or back of the protective sleeve. Later, I'll type the captions, print them, and put them into the boxes with the photos (not inside the sleeves or touching any original photos).

The caption on this photo explains not only who the boy on the pony is, but why a pony is standing on the sidewalk in front of a Bronx apartment building, circa 1919. Future generations may not know that entrepreneurs brought ponies to street corners, offering "photo opps" for kids of city dwellers at a low price.

I really want my heirs to know! And for now, a scribbled caption is better than no caption at all, right?

PS: Don't forget to inventory the photos. See "sample templates" on the tab above right.

Want more detail on "how to" sort photos, preserve them, and decide what to keep/what to give away? Please check out my new book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over, Week 3: Who the Heck Is That? (Photos and Labels)

I'm inventorying each box of documents for the Do-Over. That means listing contents, labeling who's who, and putting items into archival sleeves with identification on the outside.

After inventory, I'll know what I have so I can do research in the next phase of the Do-Over.

Yesterday I began on the Burk box, my father's family, and included was this photo of three people and a piglet. Only last year, I connected with my second cousin in Montreal and she quickly identified the mystery man at right as her father, Dad's first cousin.

Colleen of the wonderful Leaves & Branches gen blog asked how I label photos. After investigating and experimenting, I decided to:
  1. Scan (at 300 dpi or higher) and then put each photo (or small group of related photos) in its own sleeve or archival bag. 
  2. Type up a detailed explanation, including names and relationships, date, place, and any other specifics I've learned about the photo.
  3. Put the explanation on the outside of the photo sleeve so the paper doesn't touch the photo. Above, a photo of how I tucked it in and taped it to the reverse of the archival bag holding the actual photo.
  4. Inventory and then file all photos/explanations in an archival box, arranged by surname.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: More Mystery Photos to Puzzle Over

My grandparents and parents saved these photos for decades. Were these cousins or uncles or other relatives? Close friends? Neighbors?

First, a studio portrait of a couple. She's wearing a ring with a stone on her "wedding ring" finger. He has a ring on his right hand. The other photos are guys in uniform. When? Where? And who?

Taken at Spachner & Berger Studio, 12 Ave. B, NYC

Closeup of "possible WWI" photo, shown below.

Is this during or after WWI? Insignias, uniforms, document?
Marked only WWI on the back, in modern handwriting.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sorting Saturday: New Mystery Photos from the Bronx and Brooklyn

Four more photos from my "unknowns" box. Please take a look at the mystery tab for more "unknowns" awaiting identification. Anyone look familiar? Thank you!
  • A gent with a cigar and topcoat (top row, right), photographed in Brooklyn
  • Two little girls (left column), both probably photographed in the 1920s, judging by their high-button shoes (both in Bronx studios)
  • A dapper gent with dark wavy hair and a mustache, photographed in Beldegreen studios, where the Kossuth Society was photographed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Invite Relatives to View Mystery Photos Online

Formerly a mystery photo - now identified as Meyer & Tillie Mahler and family
My friend's family has begun a private blog to chronicle their genealogy adventures. One clever feature of Casey's blog is a page devoted to mystery photos. Already, a number of family members have enjoyed clicking through the photos, searching their memory banks, and coming up with names, dates, places, and occasions. They've identified a number of people and told new stories--solving mysteries and providing new clues to help in the search for ancestors!

I'm copying Casey's idea with a new landing page devoted to my mystery photos. Above, one of the first entries, a photo taken in the Francis Rogers studio in NYC. I'm assuming that the mystery photos are related to either my Farkas family or my Schwartz family.** [See update below--this is a Mahler family portrait.]

With a landing page devoted to mystery photos, relatives (or possible relatives) can look at their leisure, night or day, and get in touch with their ideas. Otherwise, any photos I post in a regular daily message will eventually drop too low to be seen by the casual visitor.

If and when someone identifies a photo, it will move from the mystery page to a family landing page. I'll add new photos from time to time as I continue to scan my "unknowns."

Wish me luck!

**UPDATE: One day after I put up this post, Cuz Lois called to say she has the identical photo shown above. It must be the Mahler family.

We think the lady in the light-colored dress, standing 2d from left in photo at top of this post, is my grandma Henrietta. We can even put a rough date on the photo: Patriarch Meyer Mahler, the gent seated at right in that photo, died in January 1910. So this large family photo is pre-1910, and probably pre-1906, when my grandma Henrietta was married.

In the photo, Meyer's wife, Tillie Jacobs Mahler, has her hand on his shoulder. Tillie's mother, Rachel Shuham Jacobs (who died in 1916), is seated in front with a young girl in her arm. The boy standing at far left is probably David Mahler and the boy at far right would be his younger brother, Morris.

The other Mahler girls in the photo are Sara (with a locket around her neck), Ida (at far left, holding a doll), Dora (probably the tiny girl in Rachel's arms), and Mary (seated in the wicker chair). The lapel pin in Meyer's vest (see closeup at right) might be a clue to pursue, as well.

By 1912, when the photo at left was taken, Henrietta had 3 children. But there's a clear resemblance between Henrietta in the photo below and Henrietta in the light dress in the photo at top.

Thank you, Cuz Lois! More mystery photos will be posted soon :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Costumed mystery ladies

Apparently getting photographed in a studio wearing fun or impressive getups was a favorite activity of my ancestors in early 1900s NYC. No names were on the back of this, although I believe one of the ladies is Margaret Mandel. Anybody recognize a relative or costume or year? Thanks for any leads.
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