As genealogists, we know there’s nothing quite like looking into our ancestor’s eyes to make us feel a sense of family. Unfortunately, not everyone inherits the family photo collection. This holiday season, take advantage of family gatherings to create the photos you wish you had inherited and you’ll have a great start on a simple holiday photo album or a Living Family Tree showcasing your own images.
And if you have an active group that needs to keep busy while the turkey is in the oven, send them out armed with instant-print cameras to capture this Turkey Shoot Hit List from The Family Curator, and you’ll have twice as many snapshots for your own Holiday Ancestor Album.
9 Turkey Day Photos You Don’t Want to Miss
I have photos of all four grandparents, and four out of eight great-grandparents. It would be grand to have them all. I’m taking pictures of the grandkids with their grandparents and printing out copies for their keepsake box.
- Where They Lived
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have pictures of your ancestral homes and farms? Go outdoors while the light is good and snap a portrait of your house. Step back even further and take in the neighbors’ houses and the sidewalks to capture the entire setting.
- Sons and Daughters
Before the meal is often the best time to capture the entire group. Afterwards, folks tend to drift off to the tv and the couch. Outdoors is good, weather permitting, or around a sofa with folks seated and standing. Remember to tell everyone that if they can’t see your camera lens, the camera can’t see them.
- A Day of Thanks
Early Thanksgiving celebrations included religious services and prayers of thanksgiving for “the many and signal favours of Almighty God” (President George Washington). Some families serve meals at a food bank or shelter, some attend church or thanksgiving services. I wonder if my Baptist forbears attended a prayer service on this day? Include a few snapshots to note your family giving “thanks.”
- The Setting
I’d love to see a photo of my grandparents’ Thanksgiving dinner table. Was the table round, oval, square? Did everyone sit together or were the children sent to a “kids table?” Capture a snapshot with or without the crowd, but be sure to include the feast. Turn off your flash and turn up the dining room lights for the best picture.
- The Main Course
Not all families serve turkey on Thanksgiving. Memorialize your main dish of choice by snapping a full frame shot of the star of the meal. Try to arrange your shot with the platter standing center stage against the tablecloth or plain wooden table.
Multi-generation family gatherings bring together people of all ages. Make a special photo featuring the oldest and youngest together.
- After the Feast
I wish I had photos of Uncle Ray playing the spoons like he did at every family gathering. What does your family enjoy after the meal? Do they put on aprons to clean the kitchen, or huddle around the TV to watch the big game? Walk around with your camera and snap a few pictures to remember the day.
These photos make a great start on a simple holiday photo album or a November calendar photo layout. Discover illustrated instructions for 25 Keepsake Photo Projects and practical tips for selecting and preparing digital photos for all kinds of projects in How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally.
Not everyone inherits ancestral photographs. What pictures do you wish you had?