Photo Finishes

One of the challenges in writing this blog is finding pictures to suit each post. I’ve read that adding pictures to a blog makes it much more attractive to readers, so I have tried to include images of some type with most posts.

Many of my pictures come from Microsoft clipart, which has thousands of generic images to suit many topics. I also use a variety of historical websites, particularly national park and other government sites, to get pictures for my posts about the Oregon Trail and other historical topics. And if I’m writing about a museum or restaurant, I use images from their websites – I figure they won’t mind if I am giving them free promotion and link to where I found the picture.

But for many of my posts, only family pictures will do. Those are actually the hardest for me to find.

Two DVDs that capture my childhood

Two DVDs that capture my childhood

I’ve written before (see here and here) about the wonderful gift my father gave our family when he put all the old family slides and movies on DVDs.  I can find many images of the years when I was growing up (and back to when my parents were in high school) on these two DVDs.

It’s the years when I was responsible for the picture taking that get tricky. I don’t like to file.

Box of photos from my children's childhood

Box of photos from my children’s childhood

To create the pictures for Monday’s post about my children learning to walk, I had to find the box of old snapshots at the top of the linen closet, drag it down (it’s heavy), sort through the envelopes labeled by year for the correct years, go through as many as 18 envelopes for each of the appropriate years, find some reasonably good snapshots, scan them (thankfully, my scanner worked this weekend), and crop them. Only then did I have digital pictures I could upload into WordPress and add to my blog post.

The only reason these pictures are sorted and labeled by year was because my daughter, when she was about eight, became upset that I had never created a photo album of her as an infant, and we had no organized record of her early years. She was, after all, the second child. Her older brother’s album stopped when he was about two.

She took on the task of organizing the pictures, but we never actually bought a photo album for her to fill. The pictures she sorted ended up in the box at the top of the linen closet.

Cupboard full of other photos

Cupboard full of other photos

Sometime in the mid to late 1990s, I started getting my photos saved to CDs as well as printed. So I do have digital pictures of my children beginning in this timeframe. But those CDs – one for each roll of film I took – are in a cupboard along with the printed snapshots. The CDs have never been transferred to a PC.

And, as you can see, they aren’t even organized by year, just crammed any which way into the cupboard.

Now, of course, I have a digital camera and a smartphone with camera. Those pictures have been transferred to a PC. But now my children are grown, and it’s too late for cute kid pix.

My lack of organization might surprise some of my friends, who think of me as being able to find anything. But some of you will remember what my office used to look like. (My home office still looks that way.)

As I said, I do not like to file. I am better at filing – or at least searching – once items are digitized. But getting physical documents and photographs organized is not something I enjoy.

It’s a struggle every year when tax season comes around, as it has again this year. At least the IRS doesn’t want pictures of my kids; I can put off organizing the family photos for a while longer.

But for you, readers, I will occasionally have to go on a treasure hunt for pictures. Or choose my post topics more carefully, so I can use images that are already digitized.

How well organized is your family history?


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  1. Do you know about Shutterfly and Blurb? Both are photo to books sites that work really well. And if you already have some of the photos scanned, you’ve already headed in that direction. Ah, yes. One more task. Maybe the kids will do it. Say! Send them all to your daughter! She needs a task while she’s laid up!

  2. Pingback: A Picture Is Only Worth a Thousand Words If It Tells a Story | Story & History

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