Enjoy Organizing and Storing Photos to Show Your Family History

Family Tree Photos
Genealogical tree of family with photos, @ V_Nikitenko


Get started on illustrating your family history using photos, videos, and key documents that you find and collect. During February, I’m having a special focus on our family histories that includes preserving the stories for future generations.

Your Family History

Your family’s story is unique and it’s not just for you to enjoy now. It’s a chronicle for future generations who will meet you and your relatives through the media you collect.

Think of why this is so important.

Man, girl, woman at table with turkey
Trying to carve a turkey is a memory; photo Cottonbro, Pexels

We have a desire to belong because we’re created for relationships and feeling connected improves the quality of life as described in this study on interpersonal relationships:

High quality close relationships contribute to mental and physical well-being; poor quality close relationships create stress and undermine health and well-being (e.g., Baumeister & Leary, 1995Uchino, Cacioppo, & Kiecolt-Glaser, 1996).

Knowing our family line is important for our well-being and it becomes even more important with blended families.

For those who have married after divorce,

Children in foster care and those who are adopted, especially at an older age, become secure and can overcome past traumas by knowing the story of the family who’s chosen and embraced them. You can help them piece together their story, too, in their own life books.

Cindy Marks, right, with her mother

A friend and colleague, Cindy Marks, says it well, “Our stories are history, and someone is going to be curious about us. Think of the collections like your own personal museum. The Getty Museum is a good analogy. Art that’s preserved links us to the past. Our photo collections and our personal stories are treasures that others want to see and enjoy.”

Read more in Cindy’s blog post, How to Use Your Photos in Writing Your Family’s Story.


Choose Your Family Photos

Choosing and storing your family photos is something you can do in just 15 minutes a day or an hour a week. It’s a practice that’s made easier with today’s technology and the timeless practice of thinking like a journalist.

In March 2022, I’ll be celebrating 27 years as a photo coach. Woo-hoo!

I’ve helped my clients write one-sentence or brief paragraphs about a picture using the basic journalist questions:

Use the 5 “Ws” and “How” just like journalists do.

  • Who: is in the picture?
  • What: is happening?
  • When: was the picture taken?
  • Where: did it occur?
  • Why: is it important?
  • How: did it happen or come about?

Don’t try to use every picture you come across or you could end up with clutter. Choose photos that evoke deeper emotions, or show something significant for the time it was taken—a milestone like graduating after overcoming obstacles or launching a business.

Man talking to woman at laptop
My friend Kathy Storie organizing photos with her father, Bert

Chronicle some of the tougher moments, too, like closing a business and what you or your relatives did next.

Maybe you have a picture of someone who fought an illness 50 or 60 years ago and you can mention treatments that are available now but weren’t available then.

Be creative and think through lessons learned and topics that could be of interest in the next 30 years to 100 years.


Store Your Family Photos

You can imagine how much technology has changed during my time as a photo coach—nearly three decades now.

I encourage my clients to use the platform that I’ve found that sets the industry standard—FOREVER, a service that guarantees online storage for a lifetime, plus 100 years.

Family Photo in FOREVER
The FOREVER digital album makes storing photos convenient and safe

You own your online space, so it’s yours. Compare the benefits of owning to every other site where you “rent” the space for a fee. Yes, the fee is typically a low monthly cost, or no cost, but you’re subject to the platforms Terms of Service. Your data and interests also subject you to outside marketing efforts. The platforms may sell your information or use your data to show you ads that match your interests.

FOREVER is different since you own the space. The company uses a small percentage of your investment in on-going research and development, so they stay current with the latest technology.

On the FOREVER platform, you create albums with brief descriptions and upload photos, documents, or old media like slide shows and videos that you can have them convert to digital files.


Using Your Family Photos

Print is still very much alive and kicking in this digital age. Use the photos you store to create printed photo books that you can give as gifts, or have them printed on everyday items like T-shirts, mugs, and coasters.


Family History Event Day February 26

Join me and many others online via Zoom on Sat., Feb. 26, to learn how to bring your family’s history alive. Click here to visit the FOREVER Family History Virtual Event and register for free.

Join other fun events throughout each month, too, on my Events page like writing your family story, how to organize your photos, and turning your photos into gifts.


I’m here to help

Melody Whitehead
Melody Whitehead, Safeguard Your Memories


Contact me for questions you may have and to chat about your family history interests and needs.

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