Personal Project: The Kilmer-Tuttle Family Archives

Hi everyone! I wanted to share a personal project my sister and I have (finally) made a start on… The Kilmer-Tuttle Family Archives (or Trove as we really refer to it). If you are following Modern Memorykeeper on Instagram or Facebook, you have no doubt noticed a tip a day being shared as September is “Save Your Photos Month”. Today, I wanted to elaborate on the tip for Day #11 which was “Inventory”. This past July, my sister brought over the boxes that she had of our mother’s families items and we combined them with the items I had and stacked them all up on the dining room table.

…I am fairly sure we may discover a few more things as my sister cleans out her basement, but we have made a good start. The process is actually fairly simple, and we worked through everything in a few hours.

  • #1 Find what you can, trust me, start with what you have and you can always add to your pile later. If you wait to find everything, you might never start.
  • #2 Gather your items all together in one place where you can work and spread out. If you have a large number of items and not a lot of space to work, sort things into groupings and review things by group.
  • #3 Pick a pile and start, honestly we just worked from left to right, top to bottom. Once we’d finished with a piece it was moved off of the table into a box or stack to be stored. This way there is no confusion if we’d already looked at something.
  • #4 Document, I hand wrote notes in a notebook including who the item belonged to (if I knew), description, condition, and notes on what was in the album/envelope and initial ideas on what we might want to do with the item. I also included where the item will be stored in my home, to make retrieval easier. I will know exactly where a particular item is. I also photographed each item, albums had their covers photographed for identification and one or two photographs of the insides as a reminder of what the album contained.
  • #5 Consolidate / Conserve, There were some items, like framed photographs, where I removed the photographs from the frames and discarded the frames (which were falling apart) and slipped the photographs into archival envelopes for later scanning. Wherever we could consolidate items, we did. Several other items that were really old and fragile were sleeved and carefully tucked into storage boxes.
  • #6 Store, we had decided since I have the equipment, for now I am taking possession of all of the items and scanning / photographing everything. My sister took a few items back home with her to research value. We boxed up all of the smaller items together and tucked them into their new home and the albums were put back into their resting space in a dark cabinet in a corner of the living room where they will be un-disturbed until it’s time to digitize them.

#4 Document, you don’t have to make it fancy, a quick snap with your cellphone is enough.

#5 Consolidate and conserve Framed photos were removed from their frames and loose photos gathered into archival envelopes for later scanning.

After everything was stored away, I made a simple spreadsheet from my notes and the photographs. All the information is in one place, and includes a photograph of the item as well as all of our notes. I printed out a copy for my project binder, and put a copy in dropbox to share with my sister. We’ll use this document to help us decide what we’d like to work on first and what we’d like to try and share with family members or other organizations.

We wanted to keep this process quick and simple and just get an idea of what we had to work with. Now we feel like we can take our time digitizing items and discussing how we want to preserve and share things. This approach is simple and flexible, and I highly recommend working through an inventory and taking some time to look at what you have before you dig in and restore or digitize your items.

If you are finding you are overwhelmed with your collection and don’t know where to start, I’d love to help you inventory your families collection and get you started enjoying your families photographs and memorabilia and telling your family stories. Contact me at sue@modernmemorykeeper.com to get started.

Women Equality Day and our Grandmothers

My grandmother Florence was born in 1898.  When she was born, women could not vote.  When she turned 18 in 1916, she still could not vote.   Women did not get the vote until this day in 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified.   100 years ago, the law was passed to prohibit the state and federal governments from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of their sex.

 

Grandma 1916-WEB

It is incomprehensible to me to NOT be able to vote.   I struggle with the fact that ONLY 100 years ago were women allowed to vote.  When this photo was taken of my grandmother in 1916, she could not raise her voice and choose who was going to represent her in her government.  I think about this when my daughters accompanied me in November of 2016 when, with photos of my mother and my grandma Mimi tucked into my coat,  I cast my ballot for the first women Presidential candidate, four generations of women standing up for what they believe.

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I think about this and the fact that my daughters turn 18 in two days and have already mailed their absentee ballots to vote in their first election, the Massachusettes State Primary.  They are very excited and ready to vote in their first Presidential election in November.  I cannot imagine what my life or my daughter’s lives would be like if, 100+ years ago women had not organized, fought, and yes died for our right to cast our ballot.

If you are eligible to vote, and you are not registered.  Register before the general election this November.  If you are registered, make sure you honor our fore-mothers who fought for your right to cast your ballot!   There are many places in the world where no one can vote, make sure you make your voice heard!

Friday Family Stories

 

I have to be honest in this space, between the Pandemic crisis and all that has been surrounding it for us here in Massachusettes (College students home two months early, hubby working from home, strict stay-at-home orders, business disruptions and lots of mask making) the economic turmoil exacerbated by the crisis and the horrific racial injustice and issues around white supremacy and systemic racism that maybe, just maybe we can now realistically address and start to dismantle…   Creativity has taken a back burner.  Those of you who know me in real life know I am at hear a creator and a maker and I am just now feeling back in the swing of things and wanted to share a layout I made last night that definitely falls under a “Friday Family Story”

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you summer of ’69 in Dallas Texas and yes, the is yours truly jumping off of the high dive.  The images in the page come from the family slide collection…which are now scanned, backed up and housed in archival slide boxes.  The beauty of digital conversion is not only can I use the images for creative projects such as this but I will be emailing a copy of the bottom left photo to my sister.. the little girl in pigtails.  It’s so so wonderful to be able to look back at this snapshot in time and I was completely surprised at how much I remembered of that particular place.  Images incredibly evocative and meant to be shared.  I’m starting to tell more of my childhood stories (as I am digitizing slides, photographs and negatives) as I am the only one left who really remembers them as our grandparents and both of our parents are gone now.   So it is up to me to preserve the memories and tell the stories!

If you’d like help organizing your paper photos, digitizing photos, or putting together albums or photo books, let Modern Memorykeeper help you get those images out of shoeboxes, preserved and remade into beautiful new projects to share with your friends and family.

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Friday Family Stories is a weekly sometime blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most

Preserve your Memories and Tell your Stories!

Friday Family Stories

2015-28-LFDD-RITP-The Good Old Days

This installment of Friday Family Stories is brought to you by the Triggs clan of Huntington, Indiana circa 1912, 1915 & 1917.    I am so fortunate that my Grandpa Triggs put together a book of family stories and photographs years ago so that we can enjoy them!   I have a large trove of Triggs family heritage materials… and almost as much stuff from my mom’s side (Kilmer).  I think somewhere in the boxes there are the originals of these which I will be very excited to scan !

What family stories and photos are in your boxes behind the couch?

If you’d like help organizing your paper photos, digitizing photos, or putting together albums or photo books, let Modern Memorykeeper help you get those images out of shoeboxes, preserved and remade into beautiful new projects to share with your friends and family.

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Friday Family Stories is a weekly sometime blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most

Preserve your Memories and Tell your Stories!

Friday Family Stories

Hello everyone and Happy Friday!

I don’t know about you but when the weather turns in New England, my thoughts turn towards the indoor projects I’m going be working on over the looooooong New England winter.  This winter, I’ll be working on some projects for my immediate family (no, I am not done with the “boxes in the attic” )  , and I’ll also be working on the large amount of heritage material from both sides of my family.

Todays photo and story are from some scanning that I had done of family photos and slides a few years ago….I present to you The 3 Triggs Men:

This is the page I made for our family history album, very easy to translate this idea to a simpler photobook spread if that is the direction I had wanted to take.  It’s such a treasure hunt, working with old family photos.  I had never seen this photo before I dug into the shoebox (yes, an actual shoebox – I know you have them too) of random photos!

The Original photo:

Is it the best quality photo?  No   Is there only so much you can do to improve it?  Yes  But, as I mention in the journaling below, I had not come across a photo of all three Triggs men at that point.  Even it’s not the most perfect quality, it’s the only photo I have so far so it goes in the album/photobook.

The journaling reads:

1961- Clover Hills Drive, Rochester NY Grandpa Triggs, Dad and Uncle Jimmy hamming it up for the camera. I have not really come across a photo of all three Triggs men together. Lord knows, there are enough photos floating around to pick from. I love this photo as everyone is smiling, and it typifies how I remember everyone. Grandpa in his dress shirt and slacks (I never saw him wear anything else, except maybe a short sleeve dress shirt if it got really hot, and always a solid color). Dad in a plaid shirt, and khaki pants (his uniform of choice today, except *gasp* now there just might be a pair of “dungarees” in the mix) no doubt making some pithy comment about the entire situation that has cracked the other two up (still does that to this day). Uncle Jimmy in his flight jacket, which always fascinated me (of course he flew little planes so he needed that warm jacket), I asked him once how I could get one just like it and he said he could get me one just like his, but it might have a little blood on it (typical Uncle Jimmy). Yes, Grandpa and his boys, in the driveway on a crisp autumn day.

If you’d like help organizing your paper photos, digitizing photos, or putting together albums or photo books, let Modern Memorykeeper help you get those images out of shoeboxes, preserved and remade into beautiful new projects to share with your friends and family.

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Friday Family Stories is a weekly blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most

A Photo Organizers Project: Boxes in the Attic 1 of 4

Good morning everyone!

It is finally really spring in New England and this photo organizer is hard at work on lots of projects over here.  I recently had the enviable job of starting to clean out and organize our giant attic ahead of some renovations.  Luckily right now it’s very cool so it’s the perfect time to tackle this project.

Imagine my surprise and delight to open a box that was filled with 4 boxes of things I thought were long gone.   I know we all have these boxes somewhere !  I thought I’d share mine here and on the Modern Memorykeeper You Tube channel.  You can follow along (hit the subscribe buttons) as I post a new find each week and then I’ll figure out what I am going to do with “all the things” !

A few things to note:

The attic is not the place for boxes and content such as this.  After I filmed and photographed the contents of the boxes (as much for sharing with you as for a visual inventory) I have moved them down into the main part of the house.  Your photographs, albums, media and other parts of your Family Memory Library should be living where you live to help prevent loss due to extremes in temperature, humidity and potential insect or mice damage  (yes we live in a an old house so I automatically assume there are mice sharing the dwelling).

The boxes that are containing “all the things” are not archival, but they are clean and sturdy and have safely contained the contents for well over 10 years probably closer 15.  (They are from Ikea similar to these and yes we love Ikea storage! )  After the collection has been sorted and organized and I’ve developed a plan on how I want to preserve the items and then be able to share them and incorporate them into my Family Memory Library,  I’ll re-home the items into archival storage.  (and I’ll share my sources and methods with you!).

I’m a photo organizer and passionate memory keeper…I am not a videographer!  My new mantra is done is better than perfect, my videos are shot with my iPhone 7 or my Canon camera and edited in iMovie, so my process is accessible and simple for everyone.  Getting my projects and enthusiasm for Memorykeeping to you is my most important goal!  i hope you enjoy and take away some inspiration and ideas for your own projects!

 

I’ll be posting a video each Wednesday on my Modern Memorykeeper YouTube Channel  I’ll also be writing on the blog and sharing additional photos on Instagram and Facebook so subscribe to be notified when a new video is posted!

And to my fellow Bostonians…get outside quick!  The sun is shining!

Friday Family Stories

Hello and Happy January!  I hope the new year is treating you well so far.  This long weekend here in Boston, we are getting ready for our first real snowfall of the season.  The snowblower has been gassed up, firewood has been brought in and snow shovels are at the ready!  It’s going to be a great weekend to cozy up and stay inside with some projects…which is exactly my plan.

This weeks Friday Family Story goes way back to 1966.  See that adorable little boy ?  That is my husband at about the age of 3.  This photo was taken by his mom at a neighborhood halloween party where they lived in the Bronx in NYC.  I have this image because several years ago I scanned ALL of my mother-in-laws photo albums for a birthday project for my husband.    Now, whatever happens to the original albums, we have full scans of each page digitally archived AND backed up in multiple locations.    The fun starts after all the technical work is done and I can extract photos to make scrapbook pages or a photobook layout as you see here.  I don’t really have much more information than the date and place and that it was Halloween.  The original photo has faded greatly, I could have restored it to color, but I chose to change it to black and white as I felt a black and white image worked better in this colorful scrapbook page.  One of my ongoing family projects is a Halloween through the Generations album which features photos from 3 generations of Halloween revelers from both sides of our family.

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Traditional Scrapbook Page

new clean page

simplified photobook page

 

Once the older family photos are digitized, the possibilities for storytelling, even with out a lot of detail, are wide open.  If you’d like help digitizing your family photos, or putting together albums or photo books, let Modern Memorykeeper help you get those images out of old disintegrating scrapbooks, preserved and remade into beautiful new projects to share with your friends and family.

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Friday Family Stories is a weekly blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most

 

Friday Family Stories

It’s the last Friday in November… 4 more Fridays and then it’s on to the new year! Hard to believe it’s almost that time but the last of the turkey has been eaten and the Christmas decorations are making their way down from the attic.  This weeks Friday Family Story theme is shopping (fitting right?)…being bored while shopping actually…

The text reads:   “It was the end of a long day of shopping at “The Mothership” aka LL Bean in Freeport. Auntie Tina and I had to examine everything in the Home Store and you for were done. You’d spent your gift cards at the main store and now it was time to home or go for ice cream, or both but please no more SHOPPING!”

 

Get It Scrapped Scrapbook Coach 21 Top Heavy Template No 1 by Debbie Hodge

Traditional Scrapbook page

 

Bored at bean simple

Simplified photobook page

So get your photos off of your camera roll on your phone and start telling the stories that are every day small stories, but ones which you know your kids will remind you of over and over (yes, my sister and I are still hearing about “that time you shopped at Bean forever” 4+ years later).

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Friday Family Stories is an (almost) weekly blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most

Friday Family Stories

Last week I took a hiatus on the blog to drive out to attend my little sisters wedding celebration !  This week I’m back with a new story… which has me feeling all the feels since these two little girls will be going off to college next year… The text reads:

June 2004: Boston Public Garden Today we made a family excursion into Boston to walk around and enjoy the day. It was a beautiful day and we had such fun walking around the Common, down by the Charles River and into the Public Garden. Of course we couldn’t visit the Public Garden without checking out the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue in the corner of the Garden by Charles Street. We have read that book over and over and over, I think we all knew it by heart. You named all the ducklings and debated who was where in the line. You even posed for pictures on your favorite duckling. A fun way to spend a gorgeous afternoon in Boston! Remembered 2015, Love Mama

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Original scrapbook page

 

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Simpler large photo version

Having these photos and doing what I do to tell stories for my family makes the inevitable transitioning to an empty next slightly more appealing!  And it’s all about the stories my friends.

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Friday Family Stories is a weekly blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most

Friday Family Stories

Todays Friday Family Story goes way back, 82 1/2 years if we’re counting, to a photo of my mom as a little girl.  The text reads:  

My mom, at 2 1/2 years old.  Today would have been her 83rd birthday.  I am so very very lucky to have multiple photo albums full of pictures of my mother and her family.  They were quite a bunch!  Slowly, we are going through the treasures.  I love this photo for the picture of my mom with her dolly carriage mostly because it’s of her, with something she loved, her dolls.  I also love this because it sets time and place.  My mom always had a lovely coat and sometimes hat in photos and always cute outfits.  And saddle shoes (!) and it seems very modern that she’s wearing pants!  And that wicker doll carriage?  I have it, in my attic.  Mom gave it to me years ago when we had an old victorian house… she thought I could use it for decoration because it was…Victorian.  Love it, love her and so happy to have treasures such as these.  

Happy Birthday Mom.

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The original presentation of this story

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Photo and story in a streamlined presentation

 

There is a struggle with old photos where we don’t know the exact details of the photograph. Why bother to keep them when we don’t know the story?  We can however tell a story that links the past to the present even without knowing the details.  I don’t know where this was taken, although I can probably guess it was somewhere around their home at the time in Peekskill, NY.  I don’t know who took it, my grandfather or one of the uncles?  Or if it signifies some specific event, April is not my mom’s birth month so it would not be a photo commemorating her birthday.  It could very well just be a picture of my mom being adorable (and honestly, from the expression on her face, it looks like the photo shoot may have been going on for awhile…).  But what I do know is how I feel about the photograph, and the memories it evokes for me.  I can add my observations surrounding the photograph (the garments she’s wearing and that she loved her dolls) and contemporary details that link me with my mom (the doll carriage that I now have).   I invite you to take a new look at your photographs and see what kinds of stories you can tell from an image that you previously thought was silent.  Let the photo speak to you, you will be surprised what it has to say.  

As you can see, telling your story doesn’t have to involve loads of photos or pages and pages of text (unless that is what you want, then go for it!)  One story, simply told as part of your family story.    Want help telling your family story?  Modern Memorykeeper can help you tell your stories while preserving your family memories.  Let us show you how!

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Friday Family Stories is a weekly blog series demonstrating how to pair your photos with their stories,  catching fleeting moments to share with those that matter most