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Your Heritage Photos
Author: Michele Doyle Posted: Friday - May 13, 2016

Your Heritage Photos

Getting Started

Many of us have a box of old photos sitting in an attic or closet. Inside that box are photos of our grandparents, great-grandparents or other extended family members. For some of us, those are the only memories we have of our ancestors who are no longer with us. The photos in those boxes are fading as rapidly as our memories, yet there they sit. Why? Because we don't know what to do with them.

If you are the owner of one or more of those boxes and you have a desire to honor your ancestors and preserve their memories, you've come to the right place. During this blog series we will be providing step-by-step instructions on organizing, preserving and sharing your Heritage Photos.

Some of you may be tempted to simply take that box of photos, scan them and use one of the many online photo book creators to complete the project. If you're trying to get the project checked off your list, go for it. But if you are trying to preserve these memories for future generations, we have a better plan. If you follow the plan, the end result will be organized, archivally stored photos and a beautiful Heritage Photo Album that will become a family heirloom. 

Are you in? Let's get started!


The first step is to gather all of the photos and memorabilia into one place. You will be tempted to get side-tracked with other boxes of photos or you may uncover other unfinished projects, but stay focused. You are much more likely to complete this project if you don't allow yourself to become distracted. Simply establish a work area and bring all your Heritage Photos together.

If you can quickly identify the people in the photos, this step shouldn't take long. Organize the photos by theme, person, or even decade. Heritage photos should be handled as little as possible, so don't spend a lot of time or stress yourself out over this step. If you absolutely do not know where or when the photo was taken or who is in the picture, put it in a separate place. (Identifying photos will be covered in a later blog post.)

You may be tempted to skip this step, but don't do it! Remember that you are preserving these photos for future generations and your grandchildren may have no idea who these people are. If you have inherited photos that have “cousin John” or “one of the Smith boys” written on the back and you have no idea who “John” or the “Smith boys” are, you know what I'm talking about. It's important to record as many details as possible. If you know who is in the photo, the date and place it was taken or the age of the people in the photo, use a archival photo safe pen to record these details on the back of each photo.

Coming Soon: Scanning & Preserving Your Heritage Photos