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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
There’s an old African saying that when a person dies it’s as if an entire library burned to the ground. I actually think about that a lot when I encourage people to tell their stories and the stories of their loved ones. Nobody thinks his or her story is all that important or special–but if you don’t take the time to tell it, you’re lost to the world within a couple of generations. Your “library” of knowledge, experience, love, and lessons has essentially burned to the ground.
This month’s #familyhistoryfriday posts focus on that ever-elusive goal of catching up on preserving your photos. It’s easy these days to take half a terabyte worth, but that leaves us with a big challenge. When do we ever SEE them? If we have so many, how can we find time to publish them so they can be seen and loved in a tactile form? The good news is that there are several tools to help you conquer your photos. The great news is that I shared them all in an online class!
Catching up on preserving photos is a common New Year’s Resolution. Even when it’s not an official Resolution, it’s a common goal. I quite often hear people talk about their need to catch up doing something with their photos. This month on Evolve’s #familyhistoryfriday, we will focus on solutions for your resolutions. We will learn the first steps you need to take to be successful, options for both digital and already-printed photos, and the Two-in-One plan.
Christmas is arguably my favorite time of year. Christmas lights decorate homes and trees, and brighten shorter days. Festive music plays, and children are excited for gifts and we enjoy the spirit of giving. Hopefully, we remember the birth of our Savior and try to be more like Him through love and service to each other.
Christmas also brings with it gratitude for blessings over the past year and hope for the year to come. But for some, the holiday’s also bring anxiety, depression, feelings of loss, or even disappointment. Those feelings can be even worse for those who are sick, who have experienced divorce, lost a loved one, or who are far from friends and family.
Family stories (the building blocks of a family history) are beneficial to kids for many reasons. In addition to helping their self-esteem, providing a sense of belonging, and keeping entitlement in check, family stories help kids cope. The world around us is a wonderful place that can be difficult at the same time. Kids have to cope with stresses that just didn’t exist 20 years ago. Researchers have found that one of the best sources of strength and resilience for kids is knowing their family history.