Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Ancestry Project

When my grandmother passed away in 1999 I had all of her photographs and albums in a big box.  I decided to archive them and research some family history so that these pictures and the information surrounding them would not become lost with time.

I decided the best thing to do was to divide the photos up between myself, my parents and my brother.  As I began to work on this project I realized there were a few cousins and an aunt that would appreciated some of this too.

I bought a scanner and some photo archiving software, not cheap at the time, and began scanning all of these photos onto my computer.  Then I began the painstaking task of organizing them and using the software to correct defects and to enhance a lot of the faded photos.  It took a tremendous amount of time but I felt it would well be worth it.

Throughout the year 2000 I collected more photos, newspaper articles and general information from other family members.  Then I purchased archive paper and page protectors and began to assemble scrapbooks for everyone.  So that everyone got the same pictures each scrapbook is a mixture of some scanned copies and some originals.  To be as fair as possible I gave the original photos to the people that were in them and used the scanned copies for everyone else.

I carefully put each scrapbook together in a timeline fashion and individualized it depending on who the recipient was.  Then I bought some beautiful upholstery fabric and covered some big binders my boss had given me for this project.  The pages went in and each scrapbook was wrapped up and given to them for Christmas that year.

It was a huge undertaking, not inexpensive, but I felt it was well worth the effort.  I was able to give a thick scrapbook to my parents, my brother, two of my cousins and one aunt.  My cousins and my aunt were absolutely thrilled about receiving theirs because it was totally unexpected.

After a year I also got my bedroom back as it was where this project took place.  It was the safest spot to lay all these photos and memories out on the floor and keep everything organized.  Needless to say I was pretty happy to get it all cleaned up and my room put back the way it should have been.

As what often happens with these kinds of projects is that my scrapbook never got finished and as time has passed I've forgotten a lot of the information that I put into the other scrapbooks.  When I cleaned up my room and put everything away I put everything away including my memory I guess.  It was such an emotional journey that I think I was pretty much done in at the end.  Then life got busy.

Now I am feeling the need to finish mine and I've begun working on it.  With better technology and more information available on the internet I've been able to fill in the gaps but also add to my personal collection considerably.  Once again I am getting in touch with relatives and asking questions and my uncle even scanned in and sent me a couple pictures I didn't have so I was really excited about that.

So now the project continues and it is getting bigger and better.  I am learning so much more about my family and it is really exciting.  My family tree is growing and getting huge. 

Have you archived any of your family history?  What have you done?

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