We’ve all had the experience of feeling ambitious and deciding that today is finally going to be the day we sort through that big box of loose family photos, snapshots and images cataloging the life of you and your loved ones throughout decades. But soon the project stalls, whether due to the sheer number of photos, or coming across unfamiliar faces and places from times long past. We ask ourselves who these people are, and what their significance is. And the more you sift through pictures, the more questions you end up with. A simple project has now become an endeavor in preserving family history. But where to start for success?
The first step is having a plan for preserving the photos. Old photographs are surprisingly fragile, and can be easily damaged by handling, or just by being stored in less than ideal conditions. Looking online for resources directing you in the best techniques for preservation is a great start.
The next step after sorting is deciding on a format to organize the pictures and create a family history. Either by sorting them chronologically, or organizing them based on branches of the family, you’ll need a way to group the photos together and organize them to tell the story of your family. Interviewing any older relatives can help with building the narrative, either by visiting them in person or over the phone if distance is a concern. Additionally, these interviews will be invaluable in assigning names and places in the family to the sea of unfamiliar faces in older photographs.