Tag Archive | Chicago

Wisdom Wednesday – More on Identifying your Ancestors

Last week I talked about the importance of identifying people in your photographs whether they exist in an album, loose laying around the house, or on your computer in a file folder or Sort Your Story folders. This week I will expand a bit on this idea.

A goal I suggested for 2012 was to identify all the people in your photographs. Have you started this project? How far have you gotten? Do you have people you cannot identify? Here are some suggestions on ways to possibly solve that problem.

  1. Create a site on Google’s Picasa like the Italians in Chicago project has done. Notice how the blurb about the collection asks for people to leave comments about the photographs. You can do the same thing with yours. It is up to you whether you want to make this photo collection public or private to only those with the URL.
  2. Post photos on your blog with as much information as you can provide. Maybe you know the photograph was in an album given to you by your grandmother Rose Smith. So, one can theorize that those photos must be of her family or her husband’s family and not one of your other lines. That helps narrow down who some of the individuals may be.
  3. Print your Sort Your Story work as a book and show that book to all your relatives when you gather together. You may be surprised at how many photos are identified and how many stories you will hear. Bring paper and pencil with to record it all!
  4. Post your photos on FaceBook or Google+. Social networking sites can hook you up with potential family members so it never hurts to try this route.

My goal for you this week is to make a list of all upcoming family gatherings to which you could bring your photographs. Birthday parties, weddings, miscellaneous parties, even wakes and funerals. I have taken photo albums to wakes and everyone sits around to look through them, talk about not only the deceased but the rest of the family. Many stories are shared. Don’t rule out the sad events in your life that bring people together. Those are the times when people may be more willing to open up about things.

And as always, enter your information into Sort Your Story so your family history is more complete!



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

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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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