Weekly Planner: Tell the Story Behind the Photograph

Scrapbookers know the value of “journaling” the story behind a photograph. Choose a photograph from your collection and write down everything you know about it. Include the five W’s in questions like Who is in the photograph? When was it taken? Where was it taken? What was happening? What feelings does it evoke? Why is it significant and important to your family history? A picture’s worth a thousand words, but a picture with the story behind it is priceless!

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8 thoughts on “Weekly Planner: Tell the Story Behind the Photograph

  1. Anything is better than “Uncle Grumpy and Aunt Flattie”. My mother’s frustration with boxes of unlabled pictures led her to inventing names and stories about the pictures. Funny but frustrating.

  2. I have a whole photo Album of my Ancestors,unfortunatly there are no names on them,how can i find out who they are,the clothes they wear are from different Eras.Is there anywhere i could send these photo,s to get maybe a date when they where taken, I am finding this problem very frustrating.
    regards Elizabeth Baser Ancestry member

  3. Scrapbooking. I have purchased the type of scrapbook which has “pockets” to slip the pages into. I have already commented generally about the people in the pictures on the pages meant for general consumption. However, because I come from a family that is interested in genetics and medicine, I have also placed information between the facing pages which is more private concerning health issues, mental health issues, etc. which fall more into the “family business” realm rather than public information.

  4. Re: Photo “dating”. The library will have reference books on costuming which may help you generally date the photos by what the people are wearing. Fabric prints and patterns also can be a source of dating as they go in and out of popularity. Styles such as bustles, high and low waistlines, puffy or fitted sleeves, skirt lengths, etc. are also clues. Hair-dos also define a period. You may know more than you think you do, if you really study the old photos.

  5. My grandmother left a photo album with no names on most of the photos. I know that many of them are relatives but who? Others are friends from her home town and school mates. We have no idea who any of them are and have actually guessed at who some of the relatives might be.
    My mother (her daughter) has shoeboxes full of photographs that I have had her number as she goes through them. She is recording who the people in the photos are, when they were taken and anecdotes about what she remembers as she goes through them. Later I will transcribe the cassette tapes, put the photos in chronological or family order and have information about the photographs. I have passed this tip along to anyone who will listen and it has been received very well. It is amazing what stories the photos bring to mind as they are each addressed in this manner.

  6. I’ve taught many scrapbooking classes, and journaling seems to be the toughest thing for many people! My suggestion to my scrappers is to take a hand-held cassette recorder and talk about the photo like you would to someone you are looking at the picture with. Then just sit down and transcribe from the tape what you had to say! Sometimes some really spontaneous remarks about the photo come through, and it sounds better than “Daddy on the tractor 1955”.

  7. I’ve gone back into the past through the collection of black & white photographs taken from my childhood.

    One poignant photo that evokes powerful memories is of myself as a toddler sitting on my dad’s knees, the other is of myself at 2~3 years old stepping out with my rabbit, the third is of myself seated in my chair with that rabbit in my lap…

    My family seemed to have had a penchant for rabbits, for I have no recollection of playing with toys – dolls, nor rabbits, only my brother’s building blocks.

    In those days, they were made of wood, and without the alphabets not like the “Toysarius” versions, so I had to rely on my imagination …

    I have my brothers to thank for helping me to place those baby shots into time, and perspective. Next, unto scrap books, and journals…. Thank you.

    Elaine Foster
    Jamaica, W.I.

  8. When you get to be the oldest person in the family you really realize how important this is. I was lucky that my mom labeled all the pictures she could before she passed away. I sure wish my mother-in-law had done the same. Now its my turn.

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