Wisdom Wednesday – Identify Your Ancestors

Isn’t it sad when you receive old photos from family members and there are no names written on the back of the photos or in the scrapbook where the photos are contained? What about when you visit a library or archives and view a collection of materials and most of the photos are unnamed?

I recently had this experience at the University of Illinois-Chicago in their Special Collections while viewing the Italian American collection. So many gorgeous photographs either photocopied or color reproductions and many unidentified. There were some photos that had a sheet attached to it providing some information about the photo, i.e. where it was taken, who is in it, but for the most part there were photos with large groups of people and no information sheet.

The same thing can happen when we scan and import photos into our genealogy databases, file folders or Sort Your Story software. WE may know exactly who the people are in the photos, but THEY (those who come after us) may have no clue.

When you add photos to Sort Your Story, be sure to fully identify the individuals in each photograph. Yes, there are times when you know that woman might be Aunt Jane but you aren’t sure, or you cannot identify everyone. Note those things. Include as much information as you can including where the photo was taken. Those clues may help a future generation uncover something we were not able to find.

Make it a goal for 2012 to identify all your photos both in albums, loose, or on your computer. Your descendants will thank you.

© 2012 Lorel Kapke, 19201 Sonoma Hwy. #341, Sonoma, CA 95476-5413

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