Esther's Place

Esther's Place

September 9, 2013

Finding the Photographs and Stories

It is no secret that I love family history.  I started out in genealogy and quickly learned that the real story is not in the formal records I often research, but in the letters, oral traditions and (of course!) photographs of my family and ancestors.

People often ask me where do I find the stories and photographs I use in my blog and in my jewelry.

My best advice for finding family photographs  and stories?

Just Ask!
Your Parents, Grandparents, Third cousins, First cousins twice removed, Aunts, Uncles.....
 I just started asking my close family members, my extended family and other family researchers for photographs and stories.  When I interview extended family members I ask if they have any photographs to share.  I often take digital photographs of their collections.  I have yet to meet anyone who was reluctant to share.

How to Find Your Ancestors' Photographs and Stories
This is a digital photograph taken of the original photograph.
Many of the photographs of my ancestors have actually found me.  Once my extended family knew I was researching the family history, I became the repository for a lot of family memorabilia.  I think they saw an opportunity to clean out their closets! 

It is not unusual to find me at my kitchen table with any number of photographs spread out while I work to sort and organize and even identify the photographs. My children will ask who someone is or comment on the "funny" hairstyle and I use that opportunity to share a bit of the person's story.

That's part of  how I started making the photo charm jewelry and home decor items.  It is an opportunity to share a bit of a person's story and spark an interest within the current generations in their heritage.

Esther Richardson
I wonder what my ancestors think of me using their images is this way.  Would they say, "Way to go!"? Or would my great grandmother Esther say "I can't believe you used that picture.  I was having a bad hair day!"?

 I think I'll go with the first option.