Have you ever been given a scrapbook or stack of photos from a family member? It’s wonderful to see a piece of family history! Except, you have no idea who the people are, and without someone there to tell you, you don’t know any of the stories associated with the pictures. The very obvious problem is that when the person who holds all the knowledge passes away, you lose all that precious information.
There is a solution to this knowledge gap, and you have probably been saying it for years. What you really need is a way to work on those photos and stories together with the key knowledge holders. You know it’s important to secure the stories and archive the family photos. And it’s something you keep meaning to do, but with busy lives and geographic distance between family members, it’s hard to get to.
Once you’ve made it a top priority, then get other family members to join in to help secure as much of your history as possible. It would be great if this could get accomplished in person, but practically speaking, it’s much more likely to get done if everyone has a way to work on their own time. So if we can remove some of the obstacles, this may be the push you need to finally get those photos digitized, organized and shared with the people you love. This is how to share information and make digital photo albums together:
5 steps to capture, store and share family memories from multiple sources
1) Gather the materials.
This can be from digital sources, boxes in attics or basements, photo albums, etc. You don’t have to do all the collecting, just get the other key family members (or people involved in the event, like a wedding) to gather all their own materials together.
2) Digitize and save to one location.
If not already digitized, this is the perfect time to send any printed photos away to a service that digitizes photos and videos, or have each person scan their own materials. Then, everyone can put all of them into one secure location.
(Did you know that it’s easy to have people add to your vault on LegacyVault using the Memories section? Even if they don’t have an account. It’s an easy step for them to follow a link you send to drop photos and videos into a shared album. Imagine having all those family photos digitized, safe and accessible only to those that have the link. It’s the safest, most secure way to store memories. How easy is that?)
Set aside time to go over pictures with other family members so you can share knowledge and insight. This can be by phone with multiple people looking at the photos online, or you can make notes separately for each photo and then plan to review and share once a week or once a month until the project is done. There are some people who are the only ones who know a story. Invite those key memory holders into the process.
4) Capture memories, if needed.
If you don’t have many family photos or memorabilia, consider interviewing people to get their perspective. Not sure what to ask? Check out the resources below:
It’s great to have all this knowledge for the people working on it, but it’s even better to share it so everyone holds the keys to family history. Share a link to the project when its is done so the whole family can have access. What a remarkable way for this shared family history to continue to be known!
Don’t let the process overshadow the purpose on this. The idea is to get family memories into a format that can be enjoyed by people now, but also for the family legacy later. The point of this collaborative work is so the important moments and events aren’t forgotten.