Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tip # 13...Organize the loose photos hidden in drawers, closets and cabinets

We made it to Saturday and tip # 13 for our celebration of Family History Month. However, this # 13 is not unlucky in any way. If anything, our Diamondbacks' luck ran out last night, and I am not sure I am able to discuss it at this point. Two losses at home in the NLCS is too much for me to bear. I glimpsed the possibility of having the World Series and the Super Bowl in my town within a couple of months of each other, but it appears to be slipping away.

And, for that reason I debated whether I should use tip #13 on a Saturday. Organization and loose photos sound like chores and I know we have enough of those to do on a Saturday. And, I have so many loose photos hidden in drawers, closets and cabinets, I tend to feel guilty by making the suggestion to others to organize it. But my debate ended when I read this morning's Genealogy Insider. Check it out for yourself at

It would be too much of a coincidence to believe that Maureen Taylor's featured article in The Wall Street Journal is not a sign that today is the today to organize photos, to locate some buried treasure and try to interpret or seek guidance on these gems. I have read her books and love the depth of knowledge she lends to every search. The article in The Wall Street Journal at has inspired me again to bravely tackle my piles and organize my little messes.

One of my little messes is the above photograph. I believe at least one of the four men is a brother to my grandmother Clementine Herrmann Dalhaimer Bauer. Maybe all four of them are. I see a family resemblance but since I am not an authority, who knows? I assume the photograph was taken in the Volga River Region of Russia. The back of the photograph is a postcard and I can tell it was mailed. The handwriting on the card is barely visible. To my inexpert eye, it looks like it was intentionally erased. What does that mean? Why was the photograph card ripped in half and taped back together? How can I investigate? I may need to send it directly to Maureen.

There are many steps to take to preserve these precious photographs like the photograph of my paternal grandparents on the right. Unfortunately I can't cover options for all photographs here, but Maureen's books are an excellent resource. For further information, visit her web site at: . Her blog also well worth the site at

I also have a collection of many modern photographs that are either duplicates (why order one set when you can have two?) or pictures which never made it in the photo album. My goal is simply to organize these photographs somewhat chronologically. For these pictures, make a commitment to buy an archival safe photo album or scrapbook and assemble it. Archival safe albums are available at most retail stores, you simply have to be diligent and read the labels carefully. I bought one album a few weeks ago and today is the day to fill it. All I need to remember is it doesn't have to be perfect. Just the organizational value will suffice for today. And, you don't have to do it alone. Have your family help you organize by timeline, subject or whatever works best for your collection.

If your family is anything like mine, the day will fly past as you share and bond over the memories in the photos. A picture is worth well over a thousand words and is a lot more accessible than buried treasure.


Frank said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I am in the process of organizing family papers and am going to start on the photos next week. I am really looking forward to being able to find what I need without constantly digging through piles of stuff. Then I can start scanning pics and papers into my Family Tree.
As for the boss and I went to the game last night. one word...*sob*

Anna said...

I am certain once you have everything in order, there will be historical societies or museums who would love access to your collection. Mitzi Kleidon lent me the book, "How to Write and Sell Historical Fiction," by Persia Woolley. As a researcher, she touts the important of an index for every book. I think that is another wonderful idea for photo and paper collections. I know I have more energy to expend on that idea!

How exciting for you to have gone to the game, even if it was a loss.