My family went through the experience this week as we honored the matriarch of my wife’s family – her mother, Rose Hayes. While we’ll all miss Rose greatly, we were also reminded of how much joy she brought to others in her 90 years.
Stories about Rose and her family flowed freely as relatives and friends gathered from across the country to say goodbye. Besides the stories familiar to so many of us, many others had been long forgotten or seldom told in recent years. The sharing of so much family history was a powerful tribute to a strong lady.
Our family was, perhaps, better prepared than most in that we had prodded Rose for much of her family history in recent years. Still, it was sadly obvious that we had lost more than her generous heart and radiant smile.
Although Rose’s material world had shrunk greatly as she transitioned from a three-bedroom house to apartment to assisted living to nursing care over the past dozen years, she still left a sizable cache of personal drawings, writings and photographs.
While we are grateful for the family history bounty she has left us, I have a few suggestions regarding family photographs that you might find helpful:
- Label them. At the very least, put a date on them and identify the people in the photo. Listing the location and event is also helpful.
- Don’t bury the information. Rose did a great job of labeling most of her photos. But she then glued them into a photo album, making it very difficult to extract them with the information on the back readable.
- Don’t use terms like mom and dad. Use their names instead. Relationships won’t be that clear to future generations.
Writing prompt for the day: Do you have your family photos organized and clearly labeled?
Larry Lehmer is a professional personal historian and legacy planner. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.