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Photo collections and history in general

Posted 07-18-2010 at 06:33 PM by Bob Reynolds
In a recent thread on the discussion board, several have spoken of old boat photo collections. There is another thread seeking information on soemone who lived and worked as a clerk on a steamboat in the 19th century. All these things point up the need for all of us to label and identify old photos and even put with them some narrative about the people, places, objects and events taking place in them. Otherwise, they will have absolutely no meaning to those who find them in only a few years.

My Dad and I have been working on something similar for the last several years. We have tried to write down anecdotes of our own lives and those of relatives of whom we have pictures, as well as chronicle the homes we've lived in, cars, pets, the list goes on. My Dad and I are both interested in geneology, but if you have no info on someone other than "born 1832, died 1899 in Nashville, Tenn." it really doesn't tell anyone much. I would love to have known what my ancestors did for a living, why they chose that. Why did they move from Virginia to say, Arizona? Was it for their health? Were they seeking fortune or a land grant? Did they fall in love with someone who enticed them to move? Were they running from the law or something/someone else? Why did uncle Fred choose to be a Methodist preacher while one brother went into medical school and another was a farmer? Why did Bob travel to Russia to adopt a baby? This type of information really makes history come alive for future generations!

Most of us knew at least one of our grandparents on one side or another, and remember stories they told us. Pictures we may have of them and their surroundings are important to us, but will they mean anything to our grandchildren? Likely not, unless we have some narrative to go with them to bring them alive.

We all have fun on steamboats.org, sleuthing and trying to figure out why this was, what that was. Make it easier on future generations by telling what they are looking at! Those of us who are past 40 can now see that in 50 more years, few would believe that a dial telephone used to look like it did or a big console TV was a television set! Or a typwriter..what was THAT thing, Grandad?

Label stuff and write stuff down for your kids, their kids and their grandkids. They will thank you.
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