Old Family Photos: Preserving Your Family History

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Old Family Photos preservation tips by Family Line Video Do you have a box of old family photos tucked away somewhere? Are they labeled? Do you know your people in the photos or where they fit on the family tree?

Those priceless old photos are windows into your family history and preserving them now will give your family a chance to know their unique story. Below are a few tips to help you safeguard your old family photos so they can be enjoyed for generations to come:

~ Photo Preservation Tips ~

  1. Label, Label, Label
    It’s all too easy for vital information to be lost as memories fade and old family photos are passed from one generation to the next. Take the time to identify and write down the names, places, and dates that go with the images. Use an acid-free marker or #2 pencil when writing on the back of old photos, never a ball point pen.
  2. Choose Photo-Safe Storage
    Old Family Photos by Family Line VideoYour old family photos are your family’s legacy, so why are they relegated to a dusty box? Changes in temperature and humidity can damage these fragile heirlooms. Instead, store your old family photos in acid free photo-safe albums or archival boxes. Avoid storing in the basement or attic in favor of a more temperature controlled environment.
  3. Handle Old Photos with Care
    Unseen chemicals, moisture and oils on your hands can speed deterioration. Always work with clean dry hands and, if possible, wear cotton gloves. When handling old family photos, hold by their edges and avoid touching the images themselves. Make sure any surface you work on is clean and dry.
  4. Avoid Natural Light
    Old photos are light sensitive and can fade quickly if exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid viewing or displaying yours in such conditions. For best protection when displaying old family photos, use an acid free mat and archival glass when framing.
  5. Scan Your Old Photos
    75th birthday gift a video biography by family line videoWhile nothing can replace the beautiful black and white images and delicate paper of your old family photos, having only one hard copy leaves your legacy vulnerable to floods, fires, and other disasters. Although time consuming, scan your old family photos onto a computer or disc to give you the extra safeguard of a digital image. When scanning, be sure the glass is clean and the photo is free of dust as any flaws will be magnified.
  6. Distribute Copies
    Making sure everyone has a copy of the old family photos is important, especially as families grow and spread out. After labeling and scanning your pictures, burn them to DVDs and print out several hard copies of each. Make a set of the best photos for everyone and distribute at Thanksgiving or Christmas. That way, you know they will have access to those images and stories in years to come.
  7. Post to a Family Website
    Another way everyone can enjoy old family photos is to post them to a Family Website. There you can include information about your history, traditions, recipes and updates along with old photos. A family website is also a great way to keep everyone up-to-date on family happenings!

With your photos safely preserved, don’t forget to discover the stories behind them!

~ Family Documentary Videos ~

Capture the life story and family history of a parent or grandparent – in their own words – for your children, grandchildren and generations beyond to know and cherish.

Life story video autobiographies by family line video in ChicagoHere at Family Line Video, we produce Family Documentaries, modern-day memoirs that weave filmed interviews together with family photos, documents, maps and other memorabilia to bring stories to life for younger generations to know.

To learn more about capturing the stories of a loved one for your family, visit FamilyLineVideo.com.

 Learn More

Susan Saunders
Owner/Video Biographer

Family Line Video, LLC
Video Biography &
Family Documentary Production
‘Old Family Photos’

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~ Old Family Photos ~

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