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.

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”

Summer-1969-Dallas-redo-WEB

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 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.

2015-09-charlie halloween 1966 lent6-print

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

2015-11-Key to my heart-Lent8-PRINT

Original scrapbook page

 

2018-11-09-PRINT

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.

2016-32-Mom 1937 LFDD oh snap fb freebie-PRINT

The original presentation of this story

03-2018-10-26-mom-Simple

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

Friday Family Stories

The Friday Family Story this week delves several years further back into the archives for my favorite photo from a visit with Dad to the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine near where my sister lives.   Text reads:  

“Grandpa was visiting New England, and of course we had to go see some nautical sights with Aunt Tina in Portland.  We spent the afternoon at Portland Head Light, just a few towns away from Tina’s house!  A beautiful fall day on the coast exploring the lighthouse and all the kids want to know is…Can we climb on the rocks? Why can’t we climb on the rocks? We manage to wrangle everyone for a photo to capture the fun of the day. Love that we live so close to Tina  and so close to the coast!!!”

2015-24-Lent-29-Portland Head Light 2007-PRINTA more embellished and artful presentation of the photo and the story

02-2018-10-19-PHL-Simple-JPGA clean and graphic version

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.

You don’t have to be First Lady to preserve your memories

This past week, Mrs Barbara Bush was laid to rest at 92, “Americas Grandmother” and beloved wife of 72 years to her Husband, mom of six children, grandma to many grandchildren and lover of dogs.   I loved Mrs. Bush, I thought she was a great inspiration for women of all ages and stages, I wish I could have had the chance to meet her.  Did you also know she was a scrapbooker?   Yes, the former First Lady of the United States was an avid memory keeper.   A video posted from television station KAGStv.com  Shared glimpses of Ms. Bushes scrapbooks .  

She saved letters, photographs, programs and newspaper clippings  all lovingly pasted into many, many albums.    She was an avid photographer, documenting her family and her travels which I am sure also found her way into her scrapbooks.  A small gallery of her photographs can be found here on her website.

Some of Mrs Bushes books are now part of the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.  I’m sure many more of them are being enjoyed by her children, grandchildren and friends.  

as an aside… I have never really researched First Ladies and there are SO MANY interesting sites and resources out there.  The Site  https://www.whitehousehistory.org is fascinating and has a lovely tribute to Barbara Bush as of this writing.  

As Mrs Bushes memory keeping shows, it’s a gift and a joy to take photos, tell stories and share them with those we love.  Do you need to have your own paper conservator for your memories?  Not at all, the most important thing is getting those memories, photos and stories out of boxes, envelopes, slides, negatives, whatever the format, and unite them with their stories.    Feeling like you don’t know where to start with your memories?

For a little encouragement, may I present my first scrapbook:

all the photos

I have to say, I’ve come quite a long way since those pages of documentation!  Today, not only am I documenting my own family stories and working on the “Family Archives” of antique scrapbooks, photographs and papers and more contemporary photos and slides… I helping clients preserve their memories and tell their stories. At Modern Memorykeeper  we can create beautiful memories out of boxes of photo chaos….and sometimes all it takes is finding one old scrapbook to start.  

cover

 

 

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