I am so fortunate to belong to a family that believes in capturing memories. My dad had a old Brownie camera and then went state of the art when he was gifted a Polaroid Land Camera for Christmas one year. My uncle was the “videographer” although we didn’t call it that back then. He simply took the home movies.
My cousin and I were avid photographers. Not in any sort of professional sense. But when it came to capturing glimpses of family gatherings, special events or vacations, we could certainly be counted on to be the ones behind the camera. So could one of my aunts.
My cousin and I kept our photos in photo albums. I always wrote a bit about the photos so that anyone who was looking through the albums could tell what was happening then the photos were taken. We didn’t always document who was in the photos, but fortunately, between us, we have been able to identify almost everyone.
I had shelves and shelves of albums. So did my cousin. Most of my photos have since been scanned. My cousin still has her albums, but has allowed me to scan hundreds of photos to share with other family members.
When my children were young, I turned to traditional scrapbooking. I had dozens of large, heavy albums detailing our vacations. And I have dozens of traditional photo albums of our daughter. My husband bought me a digital camera for Christmas the year our son was born. Few of those photos made it to albums, but are safely tucked in digital albums and stored in the cloud. I am in the process of creating photobooks using those photos.
My husband inherited his dad’s video camera when our daughter was young so we also have at least a dozen videos of our kids. While those are also safely stored, they need to be edited so that they are easier to watch and the kids aren’t sitting through feature length films in order to enjoy the memories of their childhoods.
About 8 years ago, I moved from the traditional scrapbook to digital photobooks and have actually started having my traditional scrapbook pages digitized so that they can be recreated as photo books.
As the family historian I have been blessed to be charged with being the family’s memory keeper. I work to preserve the memories and making them available to future generations so that they may know our stories and perhaps incorporate some of our values and traditions into their lives.