When I was in college, Facebook was first invented.  When my friends and I joined, it was when the site was only available to invited college universities and everyone was obsessed with the site.

One aspect of the site that everyone especially gravitated to was the photo functions.  We couldn’t believe how easy digitizing and saving all our photos had suddenly become.  We simply uploaded our photos from the weekend every Sunday onto Facebook and there they were – our 20’s recorded and stored.

Since my college times in “the olden days” so many new avenues and mediums have been created for storing, saving and sharing photos.  And even though we live in a “selfie stick” world that can become slightly obnoxious with all the photo-taking, photos are still a very integral part to ancestry work and research.

Some tips for creating, storing and uploading new and old family historical photos:

1. Curate!  

Don’t immediately discard everything but the one best photo, necessarily, when organizing your pictures, but don’t keep everything either!  Organizing, curating and simplifying photos may be the best help you can lend yourself in your current research as well as to those family members who come after you.

2. Digitize

Digitizing old family photos is very important.  Not only to organize and keep photos together, but also to preserve the images as some older photos can be corrupted and ruined with age.  You can do this by checking out equipment from your local family history library, using services like Costco or even utilizing a new favorite service of mine, Legacy Box.  Legacy Box is a service that mails out a box to you, you organize and fill it with your photos, send it back and then they digitize and send you the result!  They digitize everything from photos, VHS’s, movie reels and more.

3. Label

One of the frustrations I have found in my own personal family research is that I have found wonderful, priceless family photos but then are unsure of who the subjects in the photo are as they are not labeled!  Make sure to include names (corresponding with the placement of the person in the photo), dates, location and possibly even ages.  Adding a note about the relation of the subjects in the photo (such as maternal cousin, neighbor, brother, etc.) is also extremely helpful.  Don’t assume your posterity will automatically know who “Bill Andersen” was just because you add his name!

4. Take Care

Deal carefully with physical photos and negatives.  Look up information about how to correctly preserve a type of medium you are using.  For instance, did you know that photos in glass frames can eventually become fused to the glass?   Make sure you have back ups if you are framing photos and make sure to store historical as well as current family photos in ziplock bags as well as using other precautions.




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