Monday, January 30, 2012

Motivational Monday: Family Photographs

Nancy Sizemore Hardy holding a photograph of her husband Thomas and his two brothers

As if I didn't have anything better to do, I decided to start another project!

I was walking through my local library the other day in pursuit of a book on sociology that I found in the electronic card catalog. (Never mind why I was looking for a book about sociology.) On my way to the section I needed, I noticed a book displayed on one of the shelves. It was Maureen A. Taylor’s Preserving Your Family Photographs. (See Maureen's own blog here.) I was delighted to find it and grabbed it on my way to the sociology section. I often look at the library’s section of genealogy books to see what’s new, but this book was shelved under “photography.” I would have missed it completely had it not been for some kind librarian soul who thought to display it more prominently on the shelf.
I had already found Maureen’s book, Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs which was aptly filed in the genealogy section of the library. Indeed, I refer to this book in my presentations on identifying family photographs. Old photographs have long been a special interest of mine in my pursuit of family history and I have been blessed with several collections over the years.
Maureen’s book inspired me to focus again on my collection to fine-tune its organization. She includes a to-do list as part of starting such a project and suggests developing an index/inventory system. My collection has grown in the last twenty years since I began my family history research. Plus I suppose I should include my current scrapbook and photograph collection I have amassed of my children and relatives in this current generation. This current collection is probably the most organized group, although I have attempted to keep my old photographs somewhat organized over the years as well.
While I may be somewhat organized, I don’t have a complete inventory of my collection, nor do I have a good index for it. As a result, I often spend a lot of time hunting for a particular image. So here are my tentative goals for this family photograph project:
~Create a general inventory of the different collections I have and discuss the provenance of each collection.
~Make an index of images for easier location and retrieval.  
~Determine what additional preservation steps are needed.
~Obtain needed storage supplies.
~Use these supplies for additional preservation and sort and re-organize collection as necessary.
Does anyone have any other thoughts as to what I should include in my inventory/index or ideas for organizing? I’d appreciate any suggestions. As I get started on this project, I’ll keep you up-to-date on my progress.

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