When my grandfather passed away, my mom gave me a few old photos that belonged to him. Most were of him and my grandmother, but there was one photo in the pile that really stuck out:
I have absolutely no idea why my grandfather had this photo. It’s very clearly of a high school football team, but my grandfather didn’t play football and even if he had, he graduated several years before this photo was taken. As far as anyone in my family knows, he didn’t coach, either. So, it’s a mystery!
This is why it’s so important to write down the details behind your photos. Someday your grandchildren will be looking through your scrapbooks and they’ll want to know who is in the photos and why they were taken. You are the only person who knows the stories and memories behind your photos, so it’s up to you to make sure those details never get lost or forgotten!
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips:
1. Start with the basics–who, what, where, when, why. Write down who is in the photo, what the photo is of, where it was taken, when it was taken, and why it was taken. At the very least, make sure you cover the who and the when!
2. If there is a special story to accompany your photos, write it down! Without the story, the photo doesn’t have the same meaning and no one would ever know the reason it was taken. Don’t rely on your memory, either, because that can fade over time. I graduated from high school 12 years ago, and when I look through my photos from that time, already there are some details I’m forgetting! Write down the story now, while it’s still fresh in your mind.
3. Include your handwriting! I know that most people don’t like their own handwriting, but I think it’s important to include at least a little bit of it in your scrapbooks–it makes them so much more personal. Your grandkids will think it’s cool to see someday, too! If you don’t want to hand-write all of your journaling, use your home computer to type out the details and print onto acid-free cardstock.
4. Use an archival-safe pen. Don’t just write with any pen–use a pen that’s specially designed to stand the test of time, without fading. Archiver’s has a bunch of styles to choose from, both in stores and online at the Annex.
5. If you’re organizing your photos in photo albums, or using pocket pages along with your scrapbook pages, write the story down on a 4″ x 6″ piece of cardstock and slide that into one of the pockets.
I promise you, spending a few minutes to record the stories behind your photos is worth it. Your kids, your grandkids, and your grandkids’ kids will thank you for it!