But, as great as photos are, they’re really just headlines for much larger stories. If you’ve ever come across a bunch of old family photos, you know what I mean.
While the pictures may be crystal clear and full of detail, they don’t mean much without the story behind them. You may not recognize the people, places or events pictured.
- “That house? That’s the house I was born in.”
- “That tall guy with the mustache? He’s your great grandfather.”
- “I don’t recognize any of the people there, but it could be the people who helped your great grandfather after the fire that destroyed his barn and killed all his cows. Or maybe it was the people who came to bid on his farm when he lost it in the Great Depression. I’m not sure.”
Connecting stories to photos is an important step in the family history process, yet few of us take the time to do it properly.
Take modern weddings, for example. It’s quite common for families to spend thousands of dollars on wedding photographs. This usually includes posed groupings of wedding party and families and increasingly a bunch of candid shots from the event and reception.
In the past, photographers offered proof sets of a few dozen to select from but in this modern, magical era of digital photography, many photographers have shifted the burden to the customer who now must select from everything shot, often several hundred photos.
For a mere fraction of the cost of a photographer, the lucky couple could have hired a personal historian to help document the event. By interviewing , observing and reporting, a qualified personal historian can pair stories of the event with photos in a beautiful, hardbound remembrance book that makes a wonderful gift and will last for many decades.
Photo: I love this old family photo but have no idea who the people are or what occasion brought them together for this formal portrait.