Going Digital 4
Scan all your old pictures. That’s the first step. If you have many pictures think about scheduling an hour or two or three a week to the task until it is done. There’s plenty of advice online as to how to do it. Select the method that is best for you and get busy. As you scan them name them in whatever system you are using. I name them by surname first name(s) description and then file them in the appropriate surname folder. Some people assign them numbers. If there are many people in the picture and you know who they are this is the time to make a text file with that information. I save it with same file name as the picture ending with ID. Thus the picture is jones john and family at 1876 graduation.jpg [or .tif] and the text file is jones john and family at the 1876 graduation ID.txt. Getting the pictures scanned should be a priority.
You probably should start the identification process as you are scanning because you may need the help of people who don’t have forever left. Start with those with a few missing people and work up to those where you know only a couple of many or no one. Study the picture. Makes notes about what you do know in a text file you can save – date, location, event, who you can identify, etc. Share the picture and the text file with other researchers and family members. Great Aunt Nellie may not remember everything but she may recognize someone in the picture. Take a dozen pictures to her. Since she’s not computerized you can take those you haven’t scanned. [If she is send them by email.]
Set aside some time to identify pictures on a regular basis until you are done. In my case that will be the rest of my life.
Remember, your older relatives are your friends as are any older people who lived in the area where your family is from or who may have known the people in the photo for any reason. Researchers who didn’t live locally may provide clues — “looks a lot like Mary Jane Smith in this picture” or “don’t know who they are but that is the old house at the homeplace in the background.” Remember, none of us are getting any younger including those older relatives. This is something you should not put off.
I have a photo my mother clearly had all her adultt life. It’s probably a high school senior picture and based on the clothing she is close to the same age as my mother. I don’t know the person. My mother’s relatives do not know the person. My mother’s closest friends and high school classmates do not know the person. How did my mother get this picture and who is she? I intend to find out.
Unfortunately, just becase Great Aunt Nellie thinks it is someone you still need to seek other verification. I sent a picture to some older relatives. Two of them agreed as to some of the people in the picture and it seemed reasonable since these two relatives were actually in the picture. They should recognize the people, right? Unfortunately, several of the people identified were dead before those relatives were born. Later I realized some of those deceased people had children with the same name. Are those really the younger namesakes, a distinction blurred a bit by age? The investigation continues.