RE: digitizing slides advice??
On Mon, 6 Jul 2009, Don Bryant wrote:
Don said: And yeah I'm in the same boat, hundreds of family photo prints and thousands of slides to be converted. I've promised my brother and sisters that I will create a family album for everyone. It sounds like a great idea to begin with but after the reality of the time and work required sinks in it becomes a real burden...etc.
On the topic of family archives, I mention probably the best "picture" my mother could have given us.... Shortly before she died, she went through all HER family photos and stuck them into some kind of plastic album that promptly started to eat them up... This included the names and approximate dates of many relatives and ancestors..., which was great as soon as I got them out of the acid plastic. (I had some of the same prints kept on plain paper, and thus could see the drastic fading that happened in very few years !)
But what I take as her truly golden gift was a family tree, as far back as she knew them ... the names, relationships and approximate dates of her family and my father's back to about the middle 1800s, even earlier in some cases (shown on a branching "tree"), including a rough outline for my husband's family. Having that in a drawer (as my memory -- ahem -- shall we say, dims?) is truly wonderful.
When we had family left (I'm the baby, most are gone now except for a few 2nd cousins), I took this album to family reunions... the greatest interest was in the photo from the Brooklyn Eagle of my father and 6 brothers standing together to become Masons at a Masonic hall in Brooklyn ... and the Tree. (The Eagle, as may have been its practice at the time, sent the negative to one of them; it ultimately came to me when I was becoming a photographer, and I printed copies for all in cyanotype. I might could even dig that negative up today !)
But about the tree: You may still recognize "Aunt Matilda" from her photograph, and even know that she was daughter of Fannie & mother of Jacob and Louise. But when your generation is gone, that's over. A family tree, tho it may not make it into the national archives (unless one of you cures cancer, or finds life on Mars), can elucidate/illuminate a family archive forever.
And finally, re old photographs, I share my mother's explanation of several photos of HER aunts & cousins... These were mostly, let's say, "plump looking" middle-aged ladies with lace collars and noticeably double chins. My mother explained that they put their chins down deliberately to look especially plump -- the photos were made to send back to the old country and they wanted to show how well their husbands were doing in America: they could afford for their wives to get plump !