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Creating a Family History Project in Words and Pictures

I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.

I have no idea why he took this!

I have no idea why he took this!

So how do you share 30,000 slides?

My father passed away a little over six years ago. Before he passed away, he and I discussed many times that he intended to leave me the slides he had taken over the years. He was also leaving me the slides my grandfather had taken as well.

It seemed a simple gift. The problem was that it wasn’t a fair gift. If I took the slides, and then well, I had the slides, my sisters would never see them again. Plus, when I got the slides, I realized something, both my grandfather and father had taken a lot of slides.

What do you do with 30,000 slides? You can’t load them into Carousels and bore people with constant slide shows. It would take showing 1,000 slides a month for 30 months. That is 250 slides or three of the old carousels (they each hold around 80 slides). Even if you only spend 30 seconds or less flashing a picture on the screen, it is still 2 hours and 5 minutes of showing slides. At some point after saying a week or possibly two, most of your friends won’t come, and you’ll have to start over figuring a way to share the slides.

We decided to scan the slides. All 30,000 of the slides left to me. That took care of two of the initial problems, and it reduced the risk of the slides decaying any further. It also let me give copies of the slices to my sisters and my mother.

But then what to do with the slides? Now that they were digital pictures, what could I do? First, we undertook a two years project starting with the 30,000 slides my father had left. We also, at the start of the project, decided we would be scanning all the pictures that our family had collected since our children had been born.

Later on, my mother came to visit and brought a suitcase full of pictures; We ended up scanning more than 140,000 pictures and slides. We also converted more than 22 reels of 16mm movie film that my other grandfather had left m

But what do you do with 30,000 scanned pictures?

We had a ton of digital content, but it was on a hard drive. Well technically, it was on three different hard drives in our house and three different hard drives (my sisters and mother) in the wild. But that meant that people had to have access to our homes, computers and hard drives.

I had solved two of the problems, but I still had the huge issue of how do I share the pictures with other people? I could set up a revolving screen show on all the monitors in our house and invite people over to wander, but that wouldn’t be fair.

How long can you stare at a screen and watch pictures with no context? The value of a picture is knowing who or what is in the picture — knowing the why of the person that took the picture. That was when it hit me; I had been blogging stories and concepts for more than eight years by the time I realized, why not start sharing the pictures with my blogs?

I started slow, sharing one to two pictures per blog. But then another inspiration hit me. When my kids were little in school in Indiana, all three of them had to do a wander project. You pick a place in Indiana, go there, take pictures, and then share it with your classmates.

Why couldn’t I create a wander project of memories, written and the pictures? That was the extension of the family history project to include my blog series Wander Project. What happens is simple, and anyone can do it.

The first thing is to start a blog. I’ve tried several different platforms over the years. Initially, I tell the story of the pictures, but at some point, you will end up with family pictures that you know nothing about or were young enough that you don’t remember. That is when you combine stories and pictures to weave a family history. The combination of the two ends up creating a lasting memory for the family to have forever.

Choose a blogging site that allows for a mix of pictures and text. The other thing to remember is when scanning slides, the image files tend to be large. Be careful that your blogging site doesn’t limit your picture file size. Or, you have to create links between galleries on an online picture storage site and your blog.

Ultimately you get to share the pictures and the memories. Plus you, don’t bore your friends and family with 2 hours slides shows for the next thirty months!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 DocAndersen


DocAndersen (author) from US on March 26, 2020:

Thanks - my sister does the family tree piece. I got all the slides and pictures from my dad/mom and scanned them all!!!

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Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on March 25, 2020:

My daughter is the official custodian of family photos and such. I will keep this HUB as a handy reference.

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