“When A Photo Outlives The Memory, Write The Story…Give It A Voice – Again”. – Nancy Cullen
Making wonderful stories, twenty or so members of my mother’s extended family gathered for Thanksgiving this past year. Although we kept in touch remotely, due to the health emergency, it had been a couple of years since we met. As in the past, the food was plenteous and delicious with contributions representing several states and countries.
At the last minute, I grabbed a couple of the family albums from the Rightmeier trunk in hopes of breaking the code on who these folks were. These are very old albums containing photos taken in the late 1800’s, beginning with my great-great-grandfather’s generation.
Photos Contain Stories!
As is the case, in our family anyway, most of the photos remain unmarked. I can only assume the reasons:
- Daily life was full and busy – “I’ll do it “tomorrow”
- The ancestor who assembled the albums knew who all the pictures were so labels were deemed unnecessary
- Why spoil the beauty of the albums with annotations?
… and here we are 200 years or so later wondering who these people are.
My husband is in a similar situation with his family photos. He has a few more clues as his family wrote letters and kept them. Military aristocracy was better at that, for a lot of reasons, distance, education, and habit fostered this valuable resource. He has also built an impressive network of extended family members via Ancestry to help in the process.
My mother’s family lived close to one another, and outside of school work and keeping track of farm accounting, had little time to sit and write. What letters were written were not kept. They told their wonderful stories orally.
At our gathering, we took the time to share what we were thankful for. At some point, the topic shifted to preserving stories. taking time to write them down. So I continue to write and hope others will join the effort.
Writing Your Wonderful Stories
A good place to find your wonderful stories is to dig out the photos you have. Start anywhere by:
- Putting names, dates, and places on them –
- Sorting into family groups
- Scan vintage photos into a digital form and then preserve in an acid free environment.
As for the stories, any notes you can make either written, audio recording or video will serve as place markers for a time it can be fleshed out. I have published a workbook to help you capture the stories behind the photos.
Click here to purchase this valuable resource. After ordering the workbook, download the FREE PDF below to begin. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org