I'm starting this new site on Zenfolio to organize not only information on my family tree but photos and memories that I have of the past and to tie them all together. It is a big job and one that seems overwhelming. I continually ask myself why couldn't I have been more organized in all the decades that have gone before? Why wasn't I more careful about safeguarding old photos, Mom and Dad's memories and family information?
The answer is this: When you are busy raising kids, going to work, building a business, taking care of a home, you don't realize how precious those photos and stories become down the road. You either neglect to take pictures or you don't save the ones you took because you are busy living life. Most of all you think since you know who is in each picture somehow that information will always be known. From sad experience I have discovered that is not true.
I have an old family photo album given to me by Amy Eilenberger. I love that old album and I'm sure that many of photos in it are of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins but I can't identify any of them. I had, on one visit, taken the time to record a video of her explaining who were in all her boxes of old photos but by mistake that video was recorded over. Since I had neglected to make a copy or share the video everything she told us that day was lost forever. This is a sad loss for me, my family and future generations and I'm determined to do my best not to repeat it.
We are so lucky in today's world that we have any easy way of safeguarding photos, documents and other family memories. Photos are not any longer "one of a kind" they are now digital (or can be made digital) and anyone who is interested can easily own a copy that is as good as the original. Even more important, photos and information can be safely saved to "the cloud" or off-location drives so that if there is a fire, hurricane, death or any other kind of disaster these precious pieces of who we are will reside in a back up shared and off location. The added advantage of this kind of saving is that while when they are put on the "cloud" (in my case wikitree, google docs and zenfolio) everyone who has an interest can look at them in the comfort of their own home and save them to their computer.
If you aren't currently saving your history this way take a lesson from what I have lived long enough to learn. Before Amy died the old Eilenberger home place was destroyed by fire and many of the old photographs, family documents and history I had taped went up in smoke. My parents have now died and now all their memories are gone. I have already lost a much loved Uncle who enjoyed saving everything but as far as I know most of his carefully saved "stuff" remains in his basement. It is a goal of mine to get to Long Island and archive his and his sister's collections. I have many other cousins whom I love but I seldom see, who have memories and photos that I don't have that I wish I could archive and share.
One day, like me, you might wake up and realize that nothing is forever and the only things that can last are those things you've shared with many others. This is how we safeguard the past and let future generations know about the family who came before them. These sites are my belated attempt to do that in an organized way and to make it easier for others to enjoy those memories I've grabbed. If you need help or advice or a safe place to store and exhibit your family photos just let me know. I would be happy to help. Zenfolio makes it "point and click" easy to make password protected off site albums. If you haven't done it yet please read "About Using this Site" so that you'll know how to find photos I've saved that may of interest to you or your family.