My Photo Collection

I remember when I was a little boy and we went to visit my Great Grandma Stevens in Long Beach, she had this large closet off of the hallway and it was filled with things which I was fascinated by. What history was hidden in there? On the wall of the closet was a very large framed photo of nine people, taken about 1910. Every time I would visit, I would ask her who was in the photo and she would tell me the names of her mother and her 8 brothers and sisters, lined up in three rows in their order of birth – 3 girls, 3 boys, and 3 girls.

When I was 11, I started to plot out my family tree and kept asking questions of my parents, grandparents, my 3 great grandmothers, and my great grandfather, and a life-long hobby was born.

At some point when I was a young teenager, my Grandma Doyle gave me 21 old photos, as long as I promised to take care of them. I was so excited! This began my life-long passion with collection, sorting, identifying, and sharing family photographs.

The following is a little history of this collection.

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One of my early indexes, typed with an old-fashioned typewriter, 147 photos in the collection.

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Second Generation index, handwritten, 1,721 photos in the collection.

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My photo index was then moved to an Excel Spreadsheet, 1,846 photos in the collection.

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The index has now been imported into Apple’s Aperture 3 program, with each data field associated with a scanned version of the photo.

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The Apple Aperture 3 database currently holds 9,645 items, mostly photos, but also scans of old documents, genealogical correspondence, etc.

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Each photo is cataloged, numbered, placed in an acid-free envelope, which is then placed in an acid-free archival storage box. All of this location information is stored in my database, allowing me to quickly and easily locate any original in the collection.

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Grandpa Doyle’s Slide Collection, dating from 1948 to 1976. There are an estimated 2,400 slides, only a third of which I have scanned so far. Eight boxes, six trays per box, and up to 54 slides per tray. Of course the specific location is being stored in the database.

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Various sets of slides collected over the years that have not yet been scanned into the collection.

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Mom & Dad’s photo collection. I have spent hours organizing these photos by year and matching each photo up to the negatives. Still a lot more organization needed before I can begin cataloging and scanning. This stack of boxes is chest-high.

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A four-drawer file cabinet holds my research notes, genealogical correspondence, etc. Note the 8mm film collection on top.

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Some of the family heirlooms in the collection.

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A fireproof safe holds the most important treasures.

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Two fireproof file cabinets hold boxes of cataloged photos and other treasures.

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Grandma & Grandpa Shetrone’s photo collection – only some of which has been cataloged and scanned.

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Grandma and Grandpa Shetrone’s photo collection. None of this material has yet been cataloged or scanned.

I have been extremely fortunate to have been able to collect all of these family photographs and heirlooms, and consider it my duty to help to organize and preserve these items. I am crossing my fingers that someone in the next generation is interested enough to carry on this work.

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This entry was posted in family history, family photos, family tree, genealogy, photo identification. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Photo Collection

  1. You collection is amazingly huge! I have been trying to come up with a good working system for cataloging my photographs. Your work is inspiring. :)

    • Deborah says:

      Words escape me with your organization and progess! Keep up the great work! You are inspiring us all. When you are finished with your’s…would you assist in my “collection” ? ;)

  2. Danny says:

    Have just purchased Appleā€™s Aperture 3. You have already given me ideas for my
    genealogy photo collection.

    Thanks Much

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