/**/

The Family’s Slides–and What to Do with Them

Slides, how to sort family slides, slide projector, family history, how to decide which slides to keep, history, genealogy, historical society, familySorting my family’s ancient slides took a few days to accomplish.

My brother unearthed them from the attic and we were curious to know what was in them.

The other brother bought a single slide viewer–no one had a projector anymore–and I went through the batch.

Our slides were kept in a long box (not the round slide box used in carousel projectors), about four dozen per box.

We had about a dozen boxes and several dozen more in smaller stacks.

It took several days.

Here are suggestions for sorting your family’s old slides.

Slides, how to sort family slides, slide projector, family history, how to decide which slides to keep, history, genealogy, historical society, familyDecide in advance what you’ll do with the slides.

“I don’t think anyone but the three of us and maybe Bonina will care about these photos,” my one brother said. “So we should throw out most of them.”

He’d gotten a sneak peak. When I looked through them, I agreed.

“You can get better photos of the Grand Canyon off the Internet,” my other brother said. “Toss them.”

That simplified the job considerably.

Look at all the slides

As I’ve posted before, the job may be tedious, but it’s important you look at everything.

You simply don’t know what you’ll find.

Hidden among the infinite number of photos of Half Dome in Yosemite, I found shots of my pregnant mother.

Here were my grandparents young and svelte.

There were the other grandparents, actually appearing together in a photo.

I had to look at every photo to find the gems.

After a while, I easily knew what to toss and what to keep.

People are most important

After some 70 slides, I realized I only wanted to look at faces. I didn’t care about much else.

Shots of the construction of the Vincent Thomas bridge in 1960?

Slides, how to sort family slides, slide projector, family history, how to decide which slides to keep, history, genealogy, historical society, familyI’m an historian. My brother teaches history.

“Better keep those,” he said. “The historic society might like them, or our local Facebook page.”

“But it’s a slide,” I said. “Too hard to post on Facebook.”

I couldn’t toss those, I kept them in their own pile.

It was the people, however, that we cherished.

I couldn’t throw away anything with either of my parents in them–they’ve been dead too long.

Review the background

People were important, but so were some of the background.

“Here’s our living room,” I said to my daughter. I turned the single slide viewer so she could admire the fireplace.

“Here’s the front yard, look at all that mud!”

She smiled politely, but my brother took a close look.

“What am I doing holding a puppy?” I asked my brother. My parents never let us have a dog.

Neither of us knew.

Give the job to the oldest and mark the slides

If I couldn’t remember what the slide depicted or who the people were, my younger brothers wouldn’t have a chance.

Using a fine tipped Sharpie, I wrote what I knew with the year on each slide (also noted which end was up).

I explained several family facts to my brother that he didn’t know.Slides, how to sort family slides, slide projector, family history, how to decide which slides to keep, history, genealogy, historical society, family

Some were important, most were nostalgic, but at least they’re now viewable.

Now the slides are sorted, what’s next?

My brothers will go through the sorted boxes–reduced to seven in neat order–and decide what’s important.

We’ll have them transferred into disks we can  access from our computers.

I’ll further cull slides from there–and make books for us.

Some I’ll print. We could each finally have a baby book, now!

What have you done with your family’s slides–or if you’re young, do you know what slides are?

Tweetables

Sorting the family slides–a how to. Click to Tweet

What to do with the old family slides. Click to Tweet

What do I do with my father’s 1000 slides? Click to Tweet

 

 

Thoughts? Reactions? Lurker?

%d bloggers like this: