I am my family’s memory keeper. I’m the one who organizes our social life and regular activities, takes the photos, puts those photos into Historian, tags them, star-rates them, records the stories, chooses which ones to upload to my Forever permanent storage, and chooses which ones to scrap. I’m the one who makes our family photo books and gets them printed. Like many Mums, I’m the one who knows where all the photos are.

In my wider family, my Dad and older brother are both very keen photographers (Pete has even studied photography) who take a lot of photos and enjoy doing it. My brother emailed the other day asking if I had photos of the memorial plaques for our grandparents. We visited the tiny hamlet where my grandfather grew up and where both his and Granny’s ashes are interred a few years ago – Dad, Pete, my younger brother Richard and I – and all of us took photos at the time. But when he needed to find a photo, Pete knew I was the one to ask. Sure enough, with the help of my organisation system in Historian, I found those photos within 30 seconds and emailed them to him.

My Dad has done quite a bit of travel in the last few years, and every time he brings home several cards’ worth of photos and a detailed travel diary. I get a copy of those photos and his diary and emails and make them into photo books in Artisan, which he gets for Christmas. When my younger brother got married in January last year, I made a book about their wedding and gave it to them as a 1st anniversay present. Several years ago, Dad became keen on genealogy and started hunting up our family history. There are not a great number of old family photos surviving, but I’m the one who gathered them all up, got them scanned and saved in Historian, and recorded as many of the details about them as I could find.

I feel that what I’m doing with our photos is a way of loving my family. After all, I’m capturing our family memories, recording them, keeping them safe and accessible, and making them into books that can be shared and enjoyed for years to come. But am I really loving them by doing it all myself?

We’ve all heard horror stories of kids who leave school completely unable to function in the adult world because their parents have done everything for them. Have I done the same disservice to my kids? I love the ease of photo organisation in Historian, the security of knowing our photos are safe in my Forever account, and the joy of making and sharing photo books. But have I passed that love on to my children? Our kids are young adults now, living increasingly independent lives. More and more of their new memories are going to be made without me there to take the photo and write the story and make the page. Have I trained them to do that for themselves?

Are you a little bit like me? If you are – if you love preserving your family memories in photos and scrapbooks – can I urge you to pass it on? Don’t be the only one in your family who knows where all the photos are. Don’t be the only one who takes, and keeps, photos. Don’t be the only one who curates the Forever account, and makes the photobooks. Teach your kids and other family members to do it too! Pass on your love for photos, let them get into good routines of regularly uploading, tagging and recording the stories of their photos, teach them to use Artisan and tell their own stories. We live in an age where photos are ubiquitous but also more disposable than ever. We have amazing tools available to help us preserve and celebrate our photos. Don’t let ours be the last generation who do!

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4 Responses to Blog: Pass it on

  1. Sandy says:

    Both of my daughters take a lot of photos but neither of them “inherited” the desire to create albums to save these memories. The days of instant gratification on Instagram and Facebook seem to be their way of sharing their adventures. I have tried to tell them these forms of storage won’t be around forever and that they should be doing something to preserve them, but all I get is an “okay Mom”. I will keep talking with them and hope nothing happens before they have a problem and can’t access them any more.

    • Alison says:

      I hear you Sandy! One day the message will sink in.

      • Teresa Brause says:

        I hope they won’t wait too long. I loved hearing Mom talk about family history and we cleaned her china hutch, each piece had a story. She died young at 68, I was in my 30s and wish I had written stories down. When I became a CM consultant, this was my story. Don’t wait. if they are not interested now, keep doing the albums, their grandchildren will love them!

        • Alison says:

          Oh, I intend to keep doing albums! Hoping one day they’ll catch on. We’re in the process now of helping my Dad clear out his home of 50 years to downsize. I’m taking lots of photos of the things that hold special family memories and documenting what we know now.

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