I vowed this weekend to plow through more boxes of Grandma's photos -- this time the very old ones. I'm happy to say I made a bit of progress on this front!
I started with piles of photos like this. I placed the curled photos under stacks of heavy books in an effort to flatten them out. I'm sure an archivist would not approve, but I definitely can't work with curled photos! I'll take a peek in a few days and see how well the flattening process worked!
For lack of any better starting point, I decided to sort the remaining photos by size, like I did last week with the color photos. When I lined them up by size, I could more easily identify photos taken at the same time. Who knew there were so many sizes of black and white photos? Sheesh!
A few photos have notes written on the back. I used the photos with dates and names as "anchors" or references to help me identify some of the others, at least by decade. I used a magnifying glass to see details and a photo-safe marking pen to write dates and names on the backs of photos I could identify.
I uploaded group photos to a family Facebook page I set up awhile back. This is much easier than e-mailing or snail-mailing copies!
I made temporary divider cards with decades and events, then filed the pictures as I figured them out. I still have stacks and stacks of images I haven't identified -- and may never. But at least I have a framework to keep going!
Of course, the best part about this process is discovering photos I've never seen before, like this one taken with my cousins (I'm at the left)...
...and this one decorating cookies in my grandma's basement, one of my favorite memories.
There's this picture of my grandpa which I absolutely love. It was taken at his workplace before he retired.
And there's this photo of Grandma at her retirement, receiving a gift from her boss. When I was cleaning out her house, I found a scrapbook that Grandma's co-workers gave her when she retired. It is filled with memorabilia from her job, funny stories, and other treasures. In digging through the boxes of photos, I actually found pictures of her receiving the scrapbook. How neat is that? I feel a little bit like a detective, putting pieces of a puzzle together.
Spouse commented that he would not have the patience to sort through boxes of very old photos. I'll admit it is a bit tedious. But I told him that I'm in a different place these days, without my parents or my grandparents to fill in the details of our lives. I'm determined not to lose the pieces of my story, no matter how scattered and disjointed they may be right now. I really do believe that one day, I'll be able to pull all the pieces of this puzzle together.