Removing the photographs has been a rather tedious task and I'm only going through a couple albums each day. That results in hundreds of photographs! Those of us who are baby boomers and younger grew up with cameras. Our friends and family took photographs of everything. That was all before video cameras and YouTube. Now, just about everyone has a camera - and video - with them 24/7, so it's easier than ever before to capture a special moment.
As genealogists, imagine our excitement if we had discovered this many photographs of our family and ancestors from say, before 1930? Were there more photographs that were thrown away? Why did so few survive? Are there photographs of our family in the hands of the descendants of their friends from the turn of the century (the 20th, not the 21st!).
As I look at the thousands of my own personal photographs this weekend, it becomes quite overwhelming. Questions face me about my own personal photograph archive: Do I keep all of them? Which ones should I scan? Will I attempt to rewrite my history by shredding photographs of former friends or toxic relationships? Will I keep photographs that elicit a bad memory? Even if the photographs are gone, those memories are still stored away in my brain somewhere.
I've just been through an album from the 1970s. If a stranger were to look through that album and try to create a story of my life, it would probably indicate that I was quite the party animal. Nothing is probably further from the truth. During that decade I was working hard, both at my day job and starting a magazine publishing business with a colleague (it didn't last!). I was also doing quite a bit of freelance writing on the side. Those stories are not represented in my photo album.
|Hard at Work in 1977|
What I've been enjoying about going through these photo albums is looking in the background of the photos - noticing the furniture and wall decor that were sold at garage sales. Some even have a little bit of significance in my family history.
Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln
This was in a series of photographs taken when I was about to audition for a job of host of "PM Magazine" in Omaha. That was probably one of the most disastrous moments of my journalism career - when I realized once and for all that I was better off behind the camera instead of in front of it. There's nothing like a cattle call audition to weed out the people who couldn't cut it in show biz. I'm still surprised I stuck it out and didn't walk out before my 30 seconds in front of the camera. Fortunately, my tape was not included in the "gag reel" that ran on the six o'clock news that night.
I digress - what does the photo have to do with my family history? See the parking garage directly behind me? For many years, one of the houses that stood there was 415 South 15th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. My great grand aunt, Nellie Kelly Rector, lived there for years and various members of the Kelly and Fitzgerald families came and went through that residence over the years. It then became the home of Lum and Ruth Fitzgerald Doyle, whose son I'll be writing about on this blog on Tuesday. I'm sure you'll recognize him! I have been looking for some vintage photographs of the house and believe that I actually discovered one in my own collection - a photograph of what was then 15th Street - before it became Centennial Mall. I have several photographs that I took from the top of the State Capitol. It's not a great photo, but it's the only one I've found so far. I shall keep looking.
|Family Heirlooms in Everyday Life|
So, if you're still with me after this little trip down memory lane, I'm curious to hear what YOU are doing with your collection of contemporary photos from your lifetime. Are you keeping everything? Are you tossing out the bad, blurry or unflattering photos? Are you tossing out the photos of the ex? What kind of photographic history will you be leaving behind for future generations? What photographs will survive? Please share your comments below. I look forward to reading about how others are dealing with the avalanche of images we have created in our lifetime.