In one old black-and-white photo that makes an appearance every Christmas, a young woman poses in ice skates as she beams at the photographer. In another faded print, three little girls with hair in pigtails clasp their arms around each other.
Once you may have simply seen these photos as part of your holiday décor. But this year, perhaps you wondered, “Who are they? What’s the story behind those photos that make them special to my family?”
According to Rachel LaCour Niesen of Save Family Photos, stories captured in old photographs can be the key to getting your relatives to share their memories with each other. To help make your family tree in 2015, we collaborated with Rachel to develop seven easy steps for using photos to start researching your family history.
7 Easy Steps to Use Photos to Research Your Family History:
- Sign up for an account at FamilySearch
By signing up for a free FamilySearch account, you’ll have a place to preserve photos and memories as you build a family tree.
- Find old family photos that pique your curiosity
Think like a curator as you search through boxes of old photos. Rachel says not to focus on whether a photo is technically perfect. Content is what matters – a faded or yellowed photo can still have an intriguing story.
- Digitize your photos
Don’t let an old scanner get in the way of preserving your family history. “Even a quick scan or iPhone photo prevents memories from being lost,” Rachel told FamilySearch. Make digital copies of old photos whenever you get a chance.Rachel recalls a time when she took pictures of a photo wall featuring her husband’s grandmother and sisters when they were little. As a result, she was later able to learn stories about many of the photos from other relatives.Consider using the FamilySearch Memories mobile app to snap pictures and easily attach them to your family tree.
- Upload the images to FamilySearch
Build a lasting database of memories about the people in your family tree by uploading your photos to FamilySearch. Photo albums can be lost, but uploaded photos will always be visible to anyone who adds that relative to their family tree.To upload your photos to FamilySearch:
- Login to FamilySearch. If you don’t have an account yet, start your family tree
- Select Photos under Memories at the top of the page.
- Click on Upload.
- Drag and drop photographs onto the plus sign, or click the plus sign for the Open File dialog box. You can upload up to 50 photographs at a time
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