Friday, July 14, 2017

Planting a Seed - Sharing Family Photos

For the past two months, I have been spending a good deal of my free time preparing for the Dean reunion which is now less than a month away.

Eva Maud Bean and James Louden Dean

I know that at least one cousin who is "into" genealogy will be there, but I am hoping, of course, that many more will be interested in hearing about the family history that my mother's generation remembers, the added details that Sherril and I have uncovered and in seeing the old photos that bring it to life.

But what is the best way to share the photos? I thought about a book, but I just wasn't feeling it, the time and expense are just not happening right now. And I know that when I do eventually start to write, I want to know more than I do now about our immigrant ancestors.

I would love to bring the originals; there's just something about holding that original in my hand, even in a protective sleeve, that really gets me and I'd love to share that feeling. But a 400-mile drive each way, two nights in a hotel and the fact that we would be gathering around food in a large group, no, I had to admit that sharing the originals would not be possible. And digital sharing isn't an option because I don't have a laptop and the farm is very rural and not internet friendly.

So, I have had prints made of all those cabinet cards, cartes de visite and tintypes, but there were 20th century photos that I wanted to share also and didn't want to have too many more individual prints made. Finally, while I was uploading the older photos to Snapfish (with whom I have no affiliation) I was reminded that they make collage prints in 4x4, 4x6, 5x7, 8x8 and 8x10. After experimenting a bit, I decided that this was the best way to share a lot of photos. I made a total of ten collages and I'm so happy with them that I am sure that I will be framing a few of them if they make it back from the reunion in good condition.

This one contains photos from my grandparent's wedding.

I love how this turned out so much that I ordered two so that I can frame one for myself and one for my mother. And it was easy to make. I just uploaded the .jpg files that I wanted to use, and let Snapfish format the photos for me. If I didn't like the auto arrangement it was fairly easy to swap photos within the collage or remove photos, although once or twice in the process of making all ten collages, I did just start over with fewer photos. You also have the option of choosing from their templates.

One word of caution about Snapfish. I'm not sure that I will use them again. I didn't like the fact that you can only use the coupon codes if you want to have the photos shipped to you and then you have to pay for shipping. So, depending on the size of your order, the coupon codes may not save you much money. The package arrived yesterday, two days earlier than their estimate. It was on my door  mat when I got home. The package (a standard shipping envelope) was not in good shape and there was a footprint on one side. That is the fault of the shipping company. But, the 8x10s and the envelopes of smaller prints were just thrown into the envelope with no stiff cardboard or anything inside to protect them. If you look carefully at the above photo you can see that two of the corners are bent. Four of these 8x10s arrived this way. That is Snapfish's responsibility. It has been about twenty hours since I contacted them as I write this and I haven't heard back yet.

Overall, though, I was pleased with the order. I have put the prints in protective sleeves and will start labeling them soon. I even decided to print a few backs to give everyone the feel of the old photos.

At least a couple of my grandmother's siblings were interested in family history and my mother and at least another cousin of her generation are also. I know that a cousin from my generation has a tree on Ancestry, but it seems to be in need of some attention. I'm hoping that we can snag someone from the next generation at this reunion. Or at least plant a seed.


Marian B. Wood said...

Anna, I love the collage idea! Gonna steal it because the wedding collage you assembled looks like a perfect way to give a sense of the people, the place, the occasion--at a glance. Can't thank you enough for this sensible and cost-effective way to share old fam photos.

Dana Leeds said...

The collage looks great! If you are sharing collages with other family members, have you figured out a way to label them?

Also, I'm glad you found my post about the AGS Citations course. Here's the reply I wrote on my blog: Anna, I'm glad you found the post. I hope that, with enough (or the right) people 'complaining,' they will make some changes. I learned a lot through the course, but the test frustrated me so much I didn't ever want to do a citation again! I'm sure that is not their intent.

If you plan on continuing with their courses, please read my post about "Beyond the Basics" as I really would not recommend it in its present form: