The best way to begin recording family history is to start with what you know. You are most familiar with your own life, your own story. Once you have recorded your own history (which we talked about last week), think of the “our” stories you know. Maybe it’s your own love story. Maybe it’s the life stories of your parents, or the story of how your grandparents came to this country. What couple or family stories do you know? If you don’t know any, who is your resource for learning them? Let’s look at different possibilities for “our story” as part of your greater family history. See which idea resonates most with you on #familyhistoryfriday this week.
I’ve learned two important lessons in my life. I forgot the first one, but the second one is that I need to start writing stuff down. ~anonymous
As we focus this month on family history, it might surprise you to learn that an important part of family history is your own story. Connecting with yourself first through recording your own life story gives you a starting point. It also gives you a sense of belonging, peace, and gratitude. And that’s a great way to begin a story!
Today you’re going to find out that family history is for you. You will learn that family history is much more than you thought, and you will get a taste of the power it can bring into your life. Not everyone knows their own family stories, and not everyone loves the stories they know. So today on #familyhistoryfriday we are going to look at why each human heart desperately needs his or her own family history. If you don’t believe me, keep reading!
It’s estimated that we take 1.2 trillion pictures a year, and 85% of them are taken on smartphones! We all know that taking a picture is really easy, but what about getting that digital image into a form where it can be seen more readily? As you know from previous #familyhistoryfriday articles, accumulating a stockpile of photos isn’t really the goal. Having gigabytes upon gigabytes of photos that remain untouched and unappreciated don’t do the heart and soul good– seeing those photos does. The whole point of taking a picture is to see it, not to store it. We’ve all mastered Step 1: how to take a digital picture. Now let’s conquer Step 2: how to print those pictures from our phones.
As we talk about photos this month on Evolve’s #familyhistoryfriday, it’s important to talk specifically about how to organize both printed and digital photos. Organizing printed (physical) photos requires a good strategy, but digital photos are a whole new animal. We just didn’t take thousands upon thousands of photos back when we used film. In fact, you’ll sometimes see me mention people I meet who have a terabyte (or more) worth of digital photos on their computers. A terabyte can hold 2,000,000 photos. Two million. So organizing digital photos really is imperative simply because we have so many of them! Let me help with some steps on HOW to organize your photos.
Pictures are the focus of this month’s #familyhistoryfriday, and today we’ll look at one of the most basic photo obstacles: getting them off your phone. In the last 10 years or so, photos taken on a phone have come a long way. Back then, the grainy image was not really worth a second glance, but today I can take better quality photos with my phone than I could on the first digital camera I owned! With increasing memory capabilities on phones and better quality, the phone is a common way to take photos these days. And because phones are in our pockets, it’s easy to take a lot of photos with them. But now what?
I should expect it by now, but I’m always a little astonished when I hear the number of digital photos people have on their phones, cameras, computers, and external hard drives. 5,000 on a phone. Two terabytes’ worth on a hard drive. No wonder people today suffer from Photo Overwhelm! This month on Evolve’s #familyhistoryfridays, we will learn some tips for decluttering photos and then organizing them. Knowing what you have and where it all is is very important, but much more important is putting those photos in a format where they can be seen with their stories. Don’t forget that digital photo storage is a backup, not the goal. Print is how photos are known and loved. (There’s a lot of flexibility in HOW you print, by the way. See several ideas here.)
What good is the past? Are there benefits to looking to the past? Absolutely! Here’s why the past is infinitely important to me: My grandparents lived there. I learned lessons there. I fell in love, got married, and had babies there. My grandparents passed away before any of my children could know or remember them. If I want my children to know where they came from and know those sweet people they didn’t get a chance to know, I need to take them back to the past. The best way I know of to bridge generations is using photos and memories. Photos bring people to life and put faces to names. My memories of my grandparents make them real people to my kids and provide opportunities for connections, even though they’re gone.
For one year now (happy blogiversary to us!), I’ve been writing every #familyhistoryfriday about photos, memories, stories, family, and connections. I’ve written about why we need them so much, and what they do for us. I’ve written about how they affect self-esteem in kids, how they help kids cope with difficulty, and even how family stories are an antidote for teenage entitlement. Last fall, I included some video tutorials, just for Evolve readers, about photo organization, plus how I stay caught up preserving my photos and memories, and why it’s so important to me. I’ve shared my own experiences about how photos, memories, and stories help heal from grief. These days, most of our “photos” are just digital files, so I’ve also given lots of tips for bringing your photos to life.
If you’re new here, welcome. If you’ve been an Evolve reader for a while, thank you!! Thank you! I have a rather bold life goal to make a difference in as many lives as I can. When you come here, read, get inspired, and then take action, you’ve helped me meet my goal. I hope to reconnect as many people as I can to their photos and help them realize the importance of embracing their stories. I want their lives to be richer because of it.
Did you know the first “scrapbook” was the family Bible? Bibles quickly became family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. People would record births and deaths in the front cover of their Bibles as early as the mid-1400s. According to The History of Scrapbooking, by the mid-1800s, publishers started including extra pages in the fronts of Bibles for people to record family births, deaths, and marriages. It became common around this time to also add newspaper clippings and other “scraps” (like crocheted bookmarks or even locks of hair) within the pages of the family Bible. My father-in-law found a tintype photo in the family Bible he inherited!
During the 1800s, photographs came into being, and printed memorabilia increased in popularity. People would save mementos and photos in “scrap books,” a word coined in the 1800s. Family scrapbooks grew in popularity between about 1920-1970. At that time, scrapbooks were books of blank pages, usually black or cream-colored, ready for photos, journaling, stories, and mementos to be kept. ScrapbookING, though, is another story.