My adventures in archiving and family history

Timeline of Photo & Media Projects

I have always taken care of my pictures, and for many years, as part of my family history research I have always asked relatives for photos and memorabilia to share. Many times someone will pull out their box and I’ll find some priceless goodies – a stack of funeral programs, old pictures, letters.  I ask to take them home and scan them, or I just transcribe what I can.  If for some reason the person can’t let me take them home, I take a picture of the photos although that’s far from ideal.  But I now have about 5000 photos in my computer collection, and many more that I didn’t want to bother with scanning.  Below is a history of my work with pictures.

  • 1997 – While helping my in-laws clean out their basement, I discover several large boxes of memorabilia from my mother in law Jean’s deceased mother. Jean doesn’t know what to do with them, and gives them to me – I sort through – send the photos out to all the relevant cousins – keeping the precious ones.
  • 1998 – My father in law entrusted me with a wooden box full of his father’s photos.
  • 1999 – I present my father in law with his birthday gift, my first scrapbook . I organized his photos, affixed them with gold photo corners in a plain black scrapbook album, labeled all with a gold pigment pen.
  • 2000 – I present my mother in law with a matching plain black scrapbook album detailing her earliest ancestors down through to her mother’s passing. I got much fancier with this album (see pics)
  • October 2001 – I interview my paternal grandmother and record it on digital video tape.
  • April 2002 – iPhoto is released. I had previously used iView Media Pro to organize my digital images, but they didn’t have such cool output features, so I eventually stopped using it.
  • December 2002 – Trip buys me a scanner for my birthday. It comes with a transparency adapter, and now I don’t have to keep using his scanner up in his office.
  • January 2003 – My mother asks me to make a gift album for her mother in law’s 90th birthday party, rather last minute. I buy a spiral bound black page album, call her family requesting a number of specific photos of each child and grandchild (baby, childhood, teen years, marriage), have them Fed-Ex the photos to me. I organize, scan, edit and do a quickie Family History, Trip re-prints the photos at work and I put the album together fast with several autograph pages in the back (alternating with blank pages to include photos from the party). It was a big hit and I was paid nicely.
  • February 2003 – my husband surprises me with the most fabulous Valentine’s Day gift ever – a new iMac!
  • September 2003 – I attend my friend Sharon’s wedding, video tape it to digital video
  • November 2003 – I receive an early birthday gift – my first digital camera!
  • January 2004 – I make Sharon’s wedding video in iMovie and burn it to iDVD. Mailed it to her for Valentine’s Day!
  • Fall 2004 – As I begin searching through the photo boxes for yet another project, I decide to transfer all photos to 3-hole punched 8 1/2 x 11″ pocket sleeves and store them in 3 ring binders. They fit in about 5 albums. I made a table in Word formatted so that each row will fit in the label pocket of the photo sleeve, and I filed the negatives in their envelopes between the pages. Not ideal – I still have to turn some pictures on their sides to store them, and store extras behind other photos in the sleeves. But it’s a big improvement over the boxes.
  • October 2004 – I complete a DVD made to present to my grandmother at her 85th birthday. The interview we made has been edited in iMovie and interspersed with photos of the people and places she tells about. Following the movie portion, a chronological slideshow of family photos spans her ancestry through the current years, and includes all of the children, grandchildren, great grandchildren – I put it to some nice music – not a dry eye in the house! The cheer that rose up as that video ended will stay with me forever! I also gave her two scrapbooks – one of her Heritage and childhood, another of her children and grandchildren. In preparation, I borrowed photo albums from her house, took them out of their damaging acidic albums, went through my entire photo collection looking for pictures she might like, scanned them. Called relatives whose photos I do not have – wrangle them into mailing or delivering pictures to me.
  • November 2004 – I make my mother a digital photo slideshow. In preparation I take all of her pictures and scan the good ones, then review my entire collection for pictures she would probably like on her DVD.
  • May 2005 – I present my mother with her Heritage Album for Mother’s Day. It is in a 12 x 12 post bound album with plastic sleeves over each page. Much fancier than my previously made scrapbooks. (see pics)
  • Summer 2005 – During my in-laws’ move, we un-earth a huge collection of slide carousels representing my father-in-law’s collection spanning the late 60’s through the 80’s. I begin organizing, locate a screen and slide projector (from freecycler) and scan over 300 of these photos.
  • Winter 2005 – I give Dad (my father-in-law) a DVD, Travels with Dad (made with iDVD) – containing movies (made in iMovie) of his slide photos from several Disney Vacations, fires he photographed for the Fire Department, four wheeling in the Pinebarrens.
  • January 2006 – I first learned about MemoryMiner (from their site: MemoryMiner is a digital storytelling application that lets you zero in on the stories depicted in your photos by linking them to each other based on people, places and time.) Trippy learned about it from a podcast – it won MacWorld’s Best in Show. I have found my new favorite thing. I start mapping my photos.
  • February 2006 – Realizing that my children have hardly seen any of their own baby pictures, and that they hardly remember so many of the big events of their lives, I start a huge “speed scrapping” project. I am now committed to 12 x 12 albums – and of course, I buy matching plain black albums. I fully completed the years 2001 through 2003, and have made varying degrees of progress on other years. Midway through I don’t want to continue scrapping, because I want to cut up the originals, but want to scan them first…At this point all photos from 1996 to the present are in 12 x 12 albums, although for some years they are just inserted into a page sleeve, not yet scrapped.
  • Spring 2006 – in preparation for a presentation of Family History to the 2nd Grade classes at Elliot’s school, I make my own Heritage album, not completed, but nearly so. The kids love it – and the presentation goes over very well.
  • May 2006 – I complete my first MemoryMiner photo display of my family heritage photos. I tried to include all important photos from my direct line ancestors
  • Summer 2006 – I decide to make a MemoryMiner photo montage of my life’s photos. I already a lot of photos scanned, but never went through and chose those that were meaningful to me (as I have done with my Grandmother and mother.) I start with my birth, and scan every photo I treasure right through to the days of my digital camera. My final collection includes 370 pictures. I map them, write descriptions, track down some names I’ve forgotten, and make my MemoryMiner display. I love it!
  • August 2006 – I created this blog – to document my work and share the process some more.

September 18, 2006 - Posted by | Archiving & Preservation, Genealogy, Photo Sharing, Scrapbooking, Technology and Software

1 Comment »

  1. To whom it may concern, I am looking from relatives of the late Father Norman DuKette. Father DuKette was the first priest to be ordained from Saint Augustine Parish. The parish is celebrating the 150th anniversary of it’s founding next May and would like to invite the surviving memebrs of the Dukette family. Please contact me at

    Comment by dena grant | November 16, 2007

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