Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Life in a Pile of Papers

Today is Sentimental Sunday and it was particularly appropriate as yesterday I was allowed to take bags of loose papers and photos from my grandparents so that I could scan them. I was SO excited!!!!

I sat this morning and did a run through where I went through everything one time and looked at it so I could get an idea of what was in there so I could plot out a scanning strategy. It was the usual frustrating pile of photos with blank backs! People!!! Go write on the back of your photos right now! Right now!!! :-)

There were some deeds to property sold to my great-grandfather. There were letters to my great-aunt from her son. There were funeral books as well as a big pile of birth anouncements. School photos, black and white photos of some cows (?), polaroids of a family visit in the 90s, 2 sets of negatives. Envelopes with little notes written on the back of them. Letters between my twin great-aunts. U-haul rental agreements.

The miscellanea of life.

And it made me kind of sad - entire lives reduced to a little pile of paper.

Does that ever happen to anyone else? Sometimes I think the whole genealogy research thing gives me a little too much of a 30,000 foot view of life, hmm? I know that a few generations from now, there will be another genealogist in my family, looking back on all of us alive now, and we'll be little piles of paper, the occasional IDENTIFIED photo, and names in a census.

It's not that this is a surprise to me, I've done genealogy for many many years now, I know what it's all about, and one of the things I love most is turning the data in front of me into a real person. Yes, sometimes my imagination is probably way far from the truth, but hey, I try.

And so, here's a few happy photos that remind me of the fun I have doing this whole genealogy "thing". Feel free to play an appropriately sappy song in your head as you look at them! :-D


  1. Great pictures!Ordinary people living their lives.But really,when things are not going well for us what do long for most?Our everyday lives,just to be able to do the most simple of things with peace.So the ordinary really is so much more important that it gets credit for.Thank you for the reminder.

  2. What absolutely wonderful photographs! Whoever the photographer was had a spot-on finger response to get some of these photos.

    I know what you mean about the papers representing real people. That's most of the fun of family history for me - finding and learning about the real people.

    Good luck with your organizing and scanning.

  3. Leah, I understand that sadness of a pile of papers. I think that is why I am a storyteller --- I gather as much information from as many different sources so that in my mind's eye, I can really see that ancestor -- feel them in my bones and blood. I just canna stand thinking of the old ones as the sum of deeds, census, and certificates.

    Also, I really liked your run-away happy pictures -- the joy of family and life. Thanks.

  4. As I look through the over 1000 posts I have waiting to read, I ran across this one and it put such a smile on my face! Thank you for the wonderful pictures!