Unlocking Memories From Old Photos

Milestones of Our Lives

Tip Tuesday

As the proverb says, “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.” These moments that take our breath away are often milestones and significant memories that together make up the timeline of our lives. By creating a family timeline, you’ll be able to reflect on your life and family history as well as unlock memories and make new discoveries.

Map Your Family Timeline

The most efficient way to create a family timeline is to sort through the collection of photos you are working with and determine the oldest photo and the most recent photo. These will serve as the bookends of your story and will define the time span you will plot on your map. Some people are fortunate enough to have photographs of their grandparents, or even great grandparents at a young age. Be sure to check the backs of the photos, as some of them have dates written upon the backside. Depending on what information you have, you may be able to have a definite starting year. If the information is scarce, perhaps you may know some other details, such as the age of the person in the photo, which can help you infer the year. One of the greatest things about mapping a family timeline is that it is an excellent way to reconnect with relatives and learn more about your family history! 

Once you have your first photo in order, the next step is to locate your most recent photos. As soon as you find your oldest and most recent photos, the real fun begins! Remember, you will use the oldest and most recent photos as reference points. Then, you will sort through the rest of your photos and fill in the timeline with memories and milestones. The photos placed on your timeline are completely at your discretion and you can add as many or few as you would like until you are satisfied. Not only will you have a blast reliving the past, but I’m sure you will learn several things you did not know before along the way.

Image of Cathi Nelson

Cathi Nelson, author of Photo Organizing Made Easy, is the founder of APPO (Association of Professional Photo Organizers), a membership organization dedicated to helping thousands of entrepreneurs from around the globe build successful photo preservation and organizing businesses.

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