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Where are your photos and where will they be?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm pretty sure everyone here has some pictures of their grandparents and maybe even their great-grandparents. They are extremely helpful when doing genealogy research and individually cherished because there are comparatively few of them.

A hundred years from now, will your descendents have pictures of you?

In the era of digital photography, video, Facebook, Youtube and other sharing sites, that sounds rather foolish. Of course there will be pictures. We take hundreds if not thousands of digital photo documents of our lives.

In the old days we had to wait for photos to be developed. If we were organized, we chose the best ones and put them in an album with captions providing identifying information. Those people not so organized threw them in shoe boxes to deal with them “later” and as often happens, later never comes.

Fast forward to the digital age and multiply the task by hundreds. We can instantly delete the blurry photos, but that still leaves a LOT to deal with, especially when traveling with family and friends.

For example: In 2011 DH & I took our daughter and family to Europe for 17 days. There were 7 cameras pointed at all the sites resulting in nearly 7000 total pictures. Some were better than others, but to decide which ones to keep, someone had to look at all of them.

Guess who got that job? The same person who organized all those photos from the old days. Here’s an example of my work. As long as you know the year, you can go to my collection and find the photo you want. These go back over 50 years.

I’ve updated this organization digitally. I maintain my own website and if you go there you can find “Where in the World” I’ve been and any interesting photo-worthy activities at home. Historical photos of my Dad’s time in WWII and any historical family photos of earlier days are there too.

As in the old days you can’t put this off too long or you end up with the digital equivalent of shoe boxes. I know people whose photos are stored on electronic media that can’t even be read anymore. Oops.

I keep backups from my computer on DVD, on flash drives etc, and I do post occasionally to Facebook, but mainly my website is the main record of my life.

I haven’t given up on albums either. For example, those 7000 photos from 2011 were reduced to about 700 online and 400 printed. Then I made the grandchildren an album of 250 of the best photos so they could remember the trip. They found that a very unique gift.

I offer this history as an explanation of my temporary disappearance from SP. I’m working on the website/album of our last trip – the one I blogged about back in June.

I’ve got to get busy since we learned that we were accepted to study Slovak Language and Culture at a University in Bratislava, Slovakia. So next month, DH & I will be “on the road again” and taking more pictures, of course.

Note: I’m not describing “Scrapbooking,” a worthwhile activity for those artistically inclined. My photos are in plain binders in plain plastic sheets – the most inexpensive solution I could find – nothing fancy – just what you might expect from a Math/Computer Science person.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You're a very organized gal. My DH does most of the photography in our family, and he has a large website also that includes not only all the trips he's made, but also a section on family and friends. I think it is great because recently we lost our home in Yarnell when the fire occurred there, and although he manage to grab his laptop, if he had not been able to, all the thousands of photos he has on his website could have been saved as it's all safe in some other state, and he also has it duplicates in a few places, as you do.

    I'm big on genealogy and have about 32,000 people in my family. Usually there are few actual photos of the people, but more often the flag or some type of a family crest. Although it is more rare, I'm always thrilled when I find pictures of aunts and uncles as the browse through

    Nice article that really makes you stop and think. Thank you!
    1682 days ago
    Great organization, you might consider using archival quality sleeves since you're going through so much work, the plastic will eventually damage the photos
    1682 days ago
    Congrats on your university studies upcoming: how very exciting!!
    1684 days ago
    emoticon that you get to study in Bratislava! emoticon

    and I am in awe of your photo organizing! Yes, I have halfdone albums, boxes under the bed, flash drives etc. etc, plus photos labeled inconsistently on several different web sites.

    Straightening this out could take months of my retirement...I'll probably put it off again...
    1685 days ago
    we do take more pictures than ever, but it seems we rarely look at them any more.

    In the 'old days' it wasn't unusual to pick up a photo album and sit for a while telling stories and recalling memories from the pictures.

    with digital photos, it's just not the same.

    I admire your organization! How great that you took the time to sort through all the photos and share them with the family.
    1688 days ago
    I do all the photo editing and organizing in our house. I have both an electronic system and actual books of special vacations. I like the digitally developed books best, though. I use and I can determine the lawyout, the picture sizes, the backgrounds, etc. Although more expensive than doing it the old fashioned way, it's still cheaper than all the film I used to get developed. It's also quicker, lasts longer, looks better, and easy to share with folks!
    1688 days ago
    All the family photos on my side are at my Moms house in albums....just like yours. I was the family historian and still am. My photos are not as organized but that is on my to do list!
    1688 days ago
  • IONA72
    In this age where we take a LOT more photos, it's a daunting task. I try to download my "important" pics to a storage website and loosely sort the rest on pc. You are in a different league, good work!! emoticon emoticon
    1688 days ago
    What an awesome opportunity! I wish you the very best. I am of the shoebox type, I fear, and I know I will never have time to organize. Worse, I don't even remember the wheres and whens of many of the older pictures. It makes me sad, but I don't see any real likelihood of doing anything about it. Ah, well. Your family will always be very grateful for your work.
    1688 days ago
    I'm I pressed. Every winter I think about getting this done during Lon cold nights when I don't go anywhere. I made a start two years ago and that's where it ended.

    Maybe this is my year. You have inspired me.

    I'm very excited about you guys studying in Slovakia. What a great opportunity!
    1689 days ago
    that is so great, I work on my pictures often, and really have them separated, but that is about it, wonderful that you have the patience and make the time to do it, and congratulations on your upcoming trip and studies, so exciting, but what is going to happen to your garden, taking the fence down for critter feed? emoticon
    1689 days ago
    well done! I have boxes & boxes of pics in a closet, one of these days....
    1689 days ago
    Excellent reminder. I tend to let them build up and think, oh I will get around to it. My old laptop had a hard drive failure. No recovery. Now, I'm missing quite a few photos permanently. ... lesson learned!
    1689 days ago
    Wow you have done an amazing job with those photo albums! Lots of work in there. I back my photos up a couple of ways. Periodically I save them to dvds. I make 2 sets, one I store at home and one I store in a storeroom I rent that has a lot of stuff besides my dvds in it. That way if one place were to be destroyed I would still have the others. I also have all the photos on my computer backed up on Carbonite, along with a lot of other files. When I've switched computers (I've been using Carbonite for several years now and have gone through a couple of laptops) it has automatically restored all my files to my new computer for me.
    1689 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/11/2013 5:42:46 PM
    You have a great system! I agree that it's actually harder and more time-consuming now than it was pre-digital. I'm not as organized as you but I have managed to keep the pics printed and in three album collections: one for DH and I, and one for each child. And I have tried to back everything up too. But now my sister and I have all our parents' and previous generations photos to deal with too. Sigh.
    1689 days ago
    Good for you, getting your genealogy in order!!! I don't know where the pictures are that my parents took of my brother, my sister, and me, while we were growing up. I do know that daddy started making slides of everything and documenting, but I don't even know where those are.

    I'm so pleased to see that someone has accomplished this fantastic and sometimes daunting task of getting everything in order.

    Travel mercies to you,

    God bless,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1689 days ago
    *sigh* Mine sit in the PC until it dies and I throw it out and then I start a new collection in the new pc. I don't much know what to do with them
    1689 days ago
  • DR1939
    Very exciting to be going to Slovakia for the language course. It will certainly give you an immersion into the culture.
    1689 days ago
    You are amazing, smart, and oh, so organized! I wanna be like you when I grow up (read: retire). Unfortunately, retirement is still far off.
    1689 days ago
    You are so organized!! If anyone wants to see pictures of me or my vacations, they will have to dig through my computer(s) and find 'em. I'm certainly not going to take the time to organize pictures that no one cares about enough to even ask about.

    My kids are computer savvy, let them do it after I have departed.

    1689 days ago
    Yes, you are definitely organized with your photos, and your point is well taken. I sometimes wonder if I should pass away if my family could even find a recent decent picture for the obituary! LOL!
    1689 days ago
    Amazing organizational skills and patience to go through the multitudes of photos!

    You are an inspiration!

    1689 days ago
    Good luck with your task!
    1689 days ago
    This looks SO good!
    1689 days ago
    That's just plain daunting, I'm afraid! I'm doing good to sync my iPhone with my computer and download the photos to logical folders!
    1689 days ago
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