Family Photographs | Start a NEW Holiday Tradition!


Start a NEW Holiday Tradition (with YOUR Family Photographs!)



family photographs
This past Thanksgiving, each family member joining us for dinner was asked to bring a few cherished family photographs to share with the group. Pictured here are a variety of different photos from different eras that were laid out on a table (AWAY from food and drinks!), with a pad of paper & a pencil provided for people to take or leave notes (more on that below). How unique – and fun! – was that! (And it kept the conversations away from politics!) Consider doing this during the upcoming December holidays, and make it an engaging new tradition!


Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are just around the corner!

Do you have family stopping by?

Are you planning on visiting family elsewhere?

If you’ve answered “yes” to either of the above, then please consider this an opportunity to start a new holiday tradition.


family photographs
The holidays and old family photographs go together PERFECTLY! Just keep your photos away from food (like these fresh cranberries) & moisture (like the sink).


All you need to do is ask the family members you’ll be seeing over the holidays to please bring just a few of their favorite family photographs or photo albums to your gatherings.


Other than the holidays—and perhaps the occasional family reunion—no other time of year offers a better opportunity to:


relive family memories captured in old photographs

identify relatives / old homes & locations / important family events found in old photos

share copies of your old photos & their old photos by arranging for the scanning
   of existing prints (see photos below) or borrowing old negatives for printing



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Scanning your own or another family member’s old photographs will allow you to print & share the digital files.
When finished scanning, always store the originals in archivally-safe enclosures and acid-free boxes or binders.
(Please click on each image for more information.)


Another reason to do this is based on the fact that important family photographs are often scattered amongst relatives who live in different parts of the country (or the world! – see photo below), which means you might not even know that certain family photographs even exist!


family photographs


Now, we’re all aware that perhaps one of the last things people consider taking with them when packing for holiday visits are a few of their old photos.

Yet the holidays are in fact the perfect moment (and reason!) to share old family photographs, as relatives can “relate” to these photos as no one else can, and may provide the answers to long-held questions about the people / places / and events in a particular image (see photo below).


family photographs
Sometimes extended family members are the ONLY ones who can “fill in the blanks” about particular images. This is “Aunt Mary Clarke’s wedding to Charles Davis, 1944.” Simply asking does “Anyone know who the other couples are?” got us an answer from family gathered for Thanksgiving!


As an example, the old wedding photo above was placed on a sheet of paper that asked a specific question about others in the wedding party (see purple boxes above).

This worked!

We all knew who the bride and groom in the center were, but while the couple on the right remain unknown, a relative was able to identify the couple on the left—information we’re going to write on the tab of the acid-free File Folder in which we’re going to store this one-of-a-kind family treasure before placing it in an archival Document Storage Kit (see photo below).


family photographs
(Please click on the image for more information.)


In fact, this worked so well we’re going to do it again at Christmas (see photos below).


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(Please click on either image for more information.)


The old photo postcard above was simply placed on a sheet of paper on which we printed out a specific question that we hope will be answered this Christmas by family members gathered for the holiday.

Please note that in the right-hand photo you can see that this unique family photo has been placed in an archival Polyethylene Bag—perfectly sized for postcards—to protect it from fingerprints and accidental spills of food or drink.


family photographs
A charming face like this from the postcard above needs both archival protection AND to be identified!


Speaking of accidental spills, while easy to arrange & enjoy during the holidays, there are a few precautions to take when sharing family photographs (see photo below).


family photographs
What NOT to do! Using this image from this past Thanksgiving as an example, here are a few things to avoid (see purple boxes): 1. no food should be served or placed near your photos, so reserve a space for your photos that is off to the side somewhere (and perhaps post a friendly sign); 2. the same goes for drinks, which should be set down AWAY from any old photos; 3. if you leave a pad out for family members to take or leave notes, make sure you provide a regular pencil and NOT a pen or marker, as inadvertent pencil marks can usually be carefully erased while inks are often permanent. (Please click on the image to see our web page on archivally-safe pencils & markers for writing on prints & enclosures.)


In closing, please don’t miss the opportunity to start this new family tradition during the December holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, even New Years! It’s inexpensive (cost to you and other family members = $0.00), and it will spark endless conversations, memories, and family history—which you can jot down for future reference and include when you archivally store your photos (see the easy-to-use product suggestions at the bottom of this blog)!


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Just use your phone / email / Facebook / or even your Christmas cards to encourage your holiday guests to bring over a few of their favorite family photographs!

Better yet, share a link to this blog to spread the word to your family!

It will be one of the highlights of your (and their!) holidays!


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From our family to your family, here’s wishing you a safe & happy holiday season!


— Your team at Archival Methods




family photographs
This snapshot from the family archive can be dated to the late-1950s / early-1960s by the aluminum Christmas tree and the console television, but at WHICH family member’s home? The easiest way to find out (perhaps the ONLY way) is by sharing it with relatives during the holidays. Someone is bound to know!


Additional Resources: Since you’re already pulling out your old family photographs—and perhaps making scans & new prints of those you’ll borrow from other family members—be sure to preserve them for future generations by using museum-quality acid-free storage & presentation materials such as those shown below (please click on each image for more information).


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Old photos / family letters / & 35mm slides can help reveal your family history, and can be preserved in archival enclosures & 3-ring pages!




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Acid-free 3-ring binder pages are archivally safe / easy to use / and come in a variety of sizes to fit many different formats.



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Collector Grade 3-Ring Binders make perfect photo albums, and come in 4 colors.




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A number of different types of 100% archival binders and boxes are also available for your specific needs & budgets.


family photographs




family photographs


Got lots of old snapshots & photos in the family archive? Archival Methods has a number of kits to make organizing and storage easy!


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family photographs
Check out our NEW website to easily find EVERYTHING you’re looking for!