I started by cleaning up my sources; I left off in the middle of the job. My cousin asked for access to the new web site, quickly asking, “where are the photos?” Uh oh, the new web site didn’t have photos on it yet. So I switched to organizing those.
I decided to retry an organization method similar to what Philip Trauring proposed on his blog, Blood and Frogs. The first time I tried that, my first folder name was too long for Windows, so I gave up quickly.
I tried again anyway, with less information in the folder names. Also, I didn’t necessarily use the furthest back ancestor to start since I knew I wouldn’t have pictures. The trouble came when I got closer to my own family and people were in two different folder structures. I still haven’t really straightened those out yet. Also, as I got to more recent generations, my file names became too long (in addition to all the folder names) and I had to adjust them. So I’m still not thrilled, but for now, I’m leaving it until I come up with something better.
Once I started setting up those folders, I started organizing. I had scanned pictures from relatives going back to 1999 and still hadn’t completely organized them. I did a lot of cropping and renaming files. I figured out who was in all the group pictures and set up text files to match each group photo with all the names. I created a “source” folder, to keep photos scanned from each source together. Then I duplicated the photos. Each person (or each couple) has a folder and every time I saw them in a photo, I put a copy there. Some of my photos have 20 copies on my hard drive now.
The more I did, the more trouble I had with file names that were too long. I had to adjust them, but I didn’t completely wreck my naming scheme, so like I said, I’m leaving it until a better idea comes along.
A cool thing happened while I was doing this. I found duplicates.
I had actually seen this phenomenon before. I was scanning cousin Barbara Sands’s photos which her daughter Debra Rudolph (now Berman) inherited. Barbara was interested in genealogy, though she didn’t get much into the research part of it. However, she had the forethought to label the group photos.
So, in 1999, I scanned this photo from Debra.
[left to right, back row] Lila Raifman, Florence Karansky, ??, Marilyn Brick, Louis Miller
[front row] Frank Rosenzweig, Myra, Nettie Brick, Sorka and Zyskind Mularzewicz/Miller, Ruth Brick, Nettie Karansky
Nice big tear in the corner, right? But the important part is that Barbara labeled it — not perfectly, but enough for me to figure out what she meant, leaving only two mystery people. (One person was unlabeled and another could possibly be Frank’s daughter, sitting on his lap, but I don’t know more about that family.) In 2003, visiting Stephen and Sharon Koons, I scanned this one.
Looks familiar, right? Luckily, I had several photos of Morris Rosenzweig (top left), so he was easily recognizable though missing from Debra’s picture. Also, between the two, not only did I have a picture with a lot of kids identified (they’re the hardest for me to figure out), but I got more information from Stephen’s copy, namely the event and date (Passover, 1936-ish).
I discovered that duplicate years ago, but in this new organization project, I found another one that I hadn’t noticed. In 2006, Bonnie Chait shared a few photos with me, including this photo of the Wolfe family before the youngest two were born.
[left to right] Sidney, Rose, Nathan, Julius, Moses, Bernard Wolfe
In 2010, visiting Ron Wolfe, I scanned something familiar.
Bonnie had given me the names of the kids, but Ron’s had a date. I could have guessed a date by which kids were in the picture, but two of the kids look about the same age, so Bonnie made their identifications easier. But only when I was trying to figure out those two kids from Ron’s scan did I look in their photo folders to see that I already had a better version of the photo. I stopped and emailed the better version to Ron.
The best part is, now that I’ve got the photos organized (I’m finished with scanned-from-relatives photos and almost finished with everything), the next time I visit a relative and scan old photos, I can see what I’ve already got. If I have something better, or labeled, or not labeled, we can compare with what they have while I’m there.
So how is your photo organization going?