Organizing the Past Genealogy

Organizing the Past

Photo Madness


As if keeping all your notes and documents isn't enough work. What do you do with those old photos where you have no clue as to who is in the picture? And then when one of your relatives identifies an ancestor, but you forget to record the information.

I call this condition "Photo Madness." Of course, those who have this condition should consider themselves lucky. All too often genealogists are never lucky enough to even find photos.

You must recognize that photos will not last forever and need to be properly taken care of. Lyman Platt explains, "When you identify photographs, take care not to destroy them in the process. Note that writing on the back of some photographs will damage them," in his article, Using Photos in Your Research.

The popular "sticky" photo albums you can find in any store that carries albums are NOT the proper place to store your photographic heritage. Nancy Kraft warns, "If you choose to use plastic page protectors, purchase them from a recognized archival products company. Many "PVC-free" plastics that are available through discount stores are not archival," in her article, Helpful tips for preserving your precious documents in the Archival Products Newsletter.

Or how about this... you visit with a relative and they tell you "oh I threw out a whole box of old photos last week." Many people don't even think about preserving their heritage. Make yourself the self-appointed Family Historian and communicate to all your relatives that you will take care of any photos and memorabilia they wish to part with.

Additional Resources

Care and Preservation of Photographs
From The General Commission on Archives and History - The United Methodist Church

Tips for Preserving Your Photographs and Documents
From Just Black & White, a restoration service.

More Than Memories: The Complete Guide for Preserving Your Family History
A book by Julie Stephani.

Making Scrapbooks: Complete Guide to Preserving Your Treasured Memories
A book by by Vanessa-Ann.

How To Save Your Stuff From a Disaster
A book by Scott M. Haskins.


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