Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Family History...Works for Me Wednesday

Maintaining our history is so important. Where we come from is a critical part of our personal identity. In our family, we maintain this history by naming children for deceased relatives. (This is an Ashkenazi Jewish custom, Jews of Eastern European descent. Sephardic Jews, Jews of Spanish descent, will often name for living relatives.) My children are named for my father-in-law, my husband's grandfathers, my grandfather, my husband's grandmothers, his uncle, my great-uncle and my great-grandmother.

This is one way we maintain our family history. As each child grows up, we tell them more and more about the person or people for whom they are named.

The more tangible, more regular way, that I personally maintain our family's ongoing history is through photographs. But I, like so many others, have trouble putting the digital photos into albums, into print....it's a daunting task, isn't it? I am not a scrapbooker, although sometimes I wish that I was! (All the cool toys and papers...mmm....)

Until I discovered Shutterfly's photo books. Here's what I do...I take my pictures off the camera regularly and label the folders with the date (for example: 9.16.07 Sam's New Bed) and I put them right into Picasa. Then I use Picasa to directly upload to Shutterfly, which maintains the folder names as album names (cool, eh?).

On Shutterfly's website, I maintain an ongoing Photo Book Project. They allow you to save the projects and add to them as you go. When I've uploaded a few albums (every month or so), I go through the albums and add them to the Photo Book, and place all the pictures in the album. Sometimes I have time and write the captions, sometimes I go back and do it later. I continue to fill the book until it seems to be a nice length, a nice ending point (like an end to the season), or Shutterfly is running a free-shipping sale or 20% off sale or something like that.

Then I click on "order" and it's done. The book arrives at my house and we sit together and look at it. And I keep them all on the shelf in a pretty row! And, to make it even better, there is a full "backup" of each book on Shutterfly's website.

My kids love to look at the books of themselves. We can look back, as my oldest (an elderly almost 6) says, "when I was little..." Since I've started making these books, I also do things like scan artwork, invitations, etc, and take pictures of big projects so we can put them in a book. I also made a book for my middle child of his first year, one page for each of his monthly photos for the first year, with his ultrasound on the back. I'm working on that book for my 3rd child. My poor first-born, born before the age of digital fun!

How do you maintain your family's history? This works for me!

See more Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.


Robin said...

I don't usually print out my photos (though I should!), but we do keep them all cycling randomly on the computer's screensaver. My kids love watching to see what will come up next.

Anonymous said...

I love the shutterfly album idea! I have tons of photos needing to be put in albums...

SAHMmy Says said...

Fantastic tips! Thanks for the Picasa link and Shutterfly info. I've ordered a few prints from Shutterfly and was happy with the quality. I didn't know they offered free backup as well--I'm so afraid that my computer will die; I always make a CD too when I dump my pics.

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

What a wonderful family tradition of using names of loved ones.

Thanks for the great tips!