I will admit, I am a family history research junkie. But let’s face it, family history research is not for everyone. By family history research I mean scrolling through numerous rolls of microfilm, digging through stacks of papers, entering information into a computer database, taking a family vacation but making sure the vacation fits into research plans, or just looking at sheets of paper that have nothing on them except names, dates and places. For many, family history research is a dead subject. However, there are other ways for individuals to participate in the family history hobby.
While the research side of family history is not attractive to some individuals, the process of finding and gathering pictures of long lost ancestors is of great interest to many family members. In my own family, while my sisters are interested in the information I find during my research they are more interested in photos I have gathered through the years and the stories of the individuals in the photographs. Of particular interest are the clothing and hair styles of by- gone-days.
As the older generations pass, pictures are usually the first to go in the garbage, particularly if there are no indications of who is in the pictures. In one instance about a hundred family photos would have been thrown out. Fortunately there was a family member who knew the identity of those in the photographs and the photos were saved.
Individuals can preserve the family photos in the following manner:
- Add family photos to the Family Tree at FamilySearch.org.
- Scrapbook the family photos to preserve photographs.
- Create ancestral pages on Facebook and post pictures to share with family members. This is a great way to connect with distant relations and invite them to share their pictures.
- Sit down with parents and relatives and ask them who is in each picture, then label those photographs so the identities will not be lost.
My grandfather died many years before I was born. Because of family strife, I never saw a picture of my grandfather until about 1982. A distant relation in Florida had one picture of my grandfather which he shared with me. Since then I have located additional pictures of him.
It is one thing to gather names, dates, and places of our ancestors, but to put a face with a name adds the human element to family history. It is true, a picture IS worth a thousand words.