Genealogy: Print It!

When I’ve written about scanning family photographs in the past, I was promoting ideas like scanning a relative’s photos while you are on vacation, scanning as a form of preservation, and scanning in order to see important details up close. Today, I want to talk about printing copies of the scanned photographs that only live in your computer.

datingIn October of 2014, my daughter Anna started dating a young man. I advised her to start taking pictures of their dates. I told her, “You don’t have to publish them to social media, but just take them to record this time in your life.” I had a strong feeling this boy was The One, but I didn’t tell her that, of course. Flash forward to March of 2016 and her engagement. Time to plan a wedding. I asked her to send me those dating photos. My idea for part of the reception decorations was to print and frame these photos. The finished products would be theirs to keep after the wedding.

collage0047Definitely one of the better ideas I’ve ever had. I did something similar with their engagement photos. A file of digital images went from this . . .

engageFile. . . to this.

Engagement photography by

And to this . . .

portrait0054After the wedding, when my life had settled back down, I happened upon a Pinterest post that showed a woman holding a small album she had created from printed ancestral photos. Instead of creating elaborate arrangements with paper, embellishments, and complicated lettering, she used plastic sleeves with pockets. She made sure at least one pocket per page was set aside for a caption card. The light bulb went off in my head.

Remember all of the scans my cousin Sandra sent me back in this post? For a year they looked something like this.

fileFamPhotosBut now these images have been printed and are inside of this cozy little album.

cover03I chose three kinds of sleeve pages; a single-pocket page for 8.5x11s, a 5-pocket page for 3x5s, and a page for wallet-sized photos.

Using pocket pages is so quick and convenient. It is practically a frustration-free method.

scan0002You can find pocket sleeves at your local craft store from companies like Project Life or Paperbilities, or from numerous other brands online.

scan0005If you had the chance to scan the front and back of a photograph, like above, include both images in your album. It’s kind of special to preserve an ancestor’s handwriting.

scan0007If you have several photographs of the same subject or location, even if they are from different periods, you might consider grouping them in the same sleeve. It can be informative to see the passage of time on a person or place.

If you have scans that are high quality/high pixel count, print them on a full-page if they depict a group of people. Whoever inherits your album will appreciate being able to see the faces of your relatives clearly.

If you have not been able to gather many photographs for one of your lines, follow some of the advice I gave back in this post, or read this article on FamilySearch. The editors have compiled a list of links to online photograph collections that just might relate to the the lives your ancestors lived. Here’s how they put it,

Documents can give you specific dates and details about your ancestors, but a photo—of the events your ancestors experienced, the places they lived, or perhaps even the actual people—can provide insights impossible to glean from words alone.

You can search through and download these images to flesh out your family’s history.

If you have letters in your collection, include those as well as the envelopes. You might consider including a transcription, as well.

Print your letters on acid-free regular printer paper. They don't need to be on photo paper.

If you keep all of your photographs on a computer ( or in the cloud, on a jump drive or external hard drive), the only people who are going to see them are the people who use your computer!

Organize your family history and create hard copies of it so that you will have something to pass on to the next family historian in your line. Give other people the chance to be inspired by family moments like this . . .

smOCFeature image: The wedding of Anna Joy Roueche and Andrew Schwalm, 15 July 2016. Newport Beach, California. Wedding photography by Umbrella Shot.

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