As I near the end of a long-term project, I reflect once again on what has been accomplished. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I have a huge personal library on my computer. Here is a sample of what I’ve scanned.
Approximately one-third of the pictures in these photo albums:
Two plastic tubs of our church’s history, including five scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, pictures, historical documents, booklets, loose photos, etc. On top of the papers is the flash drive they all fit on.
Father’s side of the family, including five full old-time photo albums, piles and bags of loose pictures, antique and vintage framed photos, etc. There are a lot more pictures in these containers than it appears.
Mother’s side of the family from an aunt who shared two 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes and a cardboard box of the same size containing photo boxes, photo albums, and two very old photo albums. While I went through the photos, with her permission I organized them according to person in the boxes she had.
Husband’s paternal side – many old photos from my husband’s grandmother. So thankful that when she gave them to me, I sat down and asked her to tell me about each one and wrote on the backs of them.
Husband’s maternal side – this was a collection of pictures a step-sister had from mother-in-law’s house. They were added to the many scanned photos mother-in-law had already loaned to us and the accumulation of existing photos we had from our 30+ years of marriage. A dear aunt put together complete family history books, so I scanned those as well.
Along with other things I’ve been compelled to scan, this represents years of work, many a day from first thing in the morning to bedtime. But the work was also a lot of fun. I’ve learned much about my family members, close and distant. I’ve had fun putting stories and pictures together.
The quantity of these pictures and the volume of this project would have been overwhelming if I had realized at the beginning how extensive it would become. Thankfully, it grew in layers, every level offering its own rewards. Along the way, each image has been identified and labeled with name and/or date if possible. Most have been put in chronological order by a painstaking method of ordering. And reordering. And shuffling. And reordering with crazy combinations of numbers and letters to fit where they belong.
When I was nearly done two weeks ago, I decided to go through all of the pictures of my side of the family once more, scanning an additional few hundred photos to compile a collection for my nephews. This will be my version of a homemade Christmas gift, all stored tidily and easily accessible on flash drives for them to reference and view the history of their individual lives alongside their immediate family and relatives. I hope the love we all have for them reaches through the screen and into their hearts.
There are a few missing pictures that were still attached to cardboard chronicling my grandfather’s life and displayed at his memorial service some years ago. Once those have been located, acquired, scanned and added, I believe I can put this project to rest. Thus will complete a most comprehensive collection and compulsive quest to transfer a meaningful past to a present technology. I will sleep well knowing I have done my part to preserve the history of my children’s family for them and those yet to come.
In my next posts, I will share some of my favorite “finds” as I have worked through this project.