Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sooooo Many Pictures !

Pictures are taking over my world! Large headaches seem to manifest as I work with the piles of photos, old albums and orphan collections.

For most of this past week I have trying to scan, file, organize. and print many more old photos. That is my biggest area of interest as it pertains to the genealogy world so I spend as much time as I can on them. With well over 15,ooo photos in my library (nearly 50G) and many more to be scanned, it becomes a daunting task at times. I also scrapbook digitally so I have 126G of digital PNG files that I deal with too.

There are some wonderful side affects to all these photos though. I am the lucky one in the family who has managed to gather together a wonderful collection that pertains to my family and I am currently working on getting more photos of my husbands family. Go Girl #1 has accumulated hundreds of pictures of our ancestors from our mutual side of the family-which have been added to the trove of photos that I inherited from my parents and grandparents. They had 16 photo albums full of photos, several hundred loose pics and 2500 old slides. The latter, I have slowly been going through, scanning and converting those to digital photos. My mother-in-law has been contacting all the relatives on her side of the family and rounding up photos that they may have to share. All those come my way to add to our library. We have become almost obsessed with locating old family pictures from that side of the family. As time has gone on and family has grown farther and farther apart, those photos, especially the old ones, have gotten spread out far and wide. Often those kinds of pictures get disposed of because nobody any longer knows who is in the shots. We are striving to gather them and get them all labeled while people are still with us who can identify many of the old ones. Already we have several hundred with no names that will probably never be known. My hope is to make compilations of them all for all the family who would like them. Everyone shares and benefits.

Pictures, as many of you know, can take many hours to organize. What ever system works for you is the one to use. Picasa by Google is excellent and so is Heritage Collector Suite which is geared towards the family genealogist. If you have the Vista operating system, it also offers a fairly good way to organize and tag photos just by themselves within folders. The most important thing is to take some time and do some sort of organizing. One day will allow for a lot of simple organization. One simple way that my cousin, Patty, uses is to number her pictures within each file and name the file folder. She then files the original pictures within a file of the same name in her file cabinet or box. Simple and effective. Every time I want to borrow an original, she quickly locates it by this method. I have many hours ahead of me to go back and do the same but I think it is super simple, especially for easy retrieval of originals. I intend to make CDs of each" file folder" to include in each of my "original" storage file folders or boxes.

In short--organize--the sooner , the better. All the genealogy facts in the world mean so much more if you can put a face on those ancestors--quickly if need be! Attach photos to your software genealogy program if you have not already (but-remember not to change those photo locations or titles if you do this or they will not connect later). Don't procrastinate any longer with those old photos that you want your family to enjoy in the future, Clean out the boxes and albums today--Grandpa Fred wants to see the light of day and to be shared with all the other family, not just the select few who may see his picture in an old dusty album someday!

You Go Genealogy Girl #2--Cheri


  1. Great post Cheri, I am about to embark on the same journey. I have tons of photos, I love photos more than the average girl! I enjoyed this post and have learned something new. I am a firm believer of getting them out of the box and in a way to see them. I am trying to be more creative at doing it!

  2. This is the post I needed to read right now because photos are a big, scary "must do" for me at this point. I may use the Picasa option as you have suggested. Right now everything I am doing is too scattershot. Thanks for the tips!



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