Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2010 - Part 2


On Monday, I shared my reflections and learnings from the classes I attended that were offered by Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems Podcast fame that were held on Saturday, May 15th at the Ontario (Canada) Genealogical Society's 2010 annual conference. I have been, perhaps intuitively, perhaps because I am an avid listener of her podcasts, following Lisa's advice for some time, especially her guidance that we should be dedicating 30% of our time to furthering our genealogical education.

On Sunday, May 16th, I attended a couple of classes offered by Maureen Taylor, also known as the Photo Detective. Unfortunately, I discovered I have not been doing as well intuitively following Maureen's expert advice.

I love family photos. They provide as described by Maureen, a visual history of our families. I have stacks (mistake #1) of family photos. I learned that I need to sort them and protect them properly in acid and lignin free, non-PVC photo album sleeves/pages and then protect them from the high humidity of the climate where I live. I also am continuing with the greatest faux pas by keeping 'magnetic albums.' I courted and married my late wife in the 1970's so most of our photos and momentoes ended up in scrapbook-like displays stuck to the glue-board, film covered pages of these albums that were incredibly popular at the time. While I have successfully removed, and scanned, some of the photos from these albums, I certainly can't claim to have completed that task with all the photos and event souvenirs still clinging to the pages of these albums.

Photos can be difficult to remove from the glue backing of the album pages without causing extensive damage to the images. Maureen offered a couple of possible solutions: 1) try freezing the album for a couple of hours and you may find that some photos 'pop' off the page or 2) use fine, unwaxed dental floss to slide under the photo to free it from the page. Great tips!

To add to my workload, I haven't identified and dated all of the family photographs. Considering I still have a way to go on sources citations in my database and now needing to organize all my photographs, I may need to figure out how I can add a day to every week.

Most of the older family photos that I have are paper prints from the 1920's and 1930's. Certainly an era in which amateur photography was readily available. Maureen offered great tips and techniques using some well chosen case studies and examples on identifying and dating photographs - to determine the story that the photographer (family member) was wanting to tell. The clues are are there for the 'detective' to uncover and piece together.

On a side note, Maureen mentioned that Abraham Lincoln gave small tintypes photos of himself as gifts and promotional material connected to his presidential campaign. This was great to hear as it confirmed family documentation that my wife, Ellen's second great granduncle, Louis Breithaupt had received just such a photograph from his lawyer friend, Mr. Lincoln. This photo is believed to still be held by someone in the family. Fortunately, with my apparent abysmal track record with photos, it is not held by me!

Mark your calendars for May 13 - 15, 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ontario Genealogical Society at its annual conference being held in Hamilton, Ontario.

Finally, a thank you to those who posted comments here or through Facebook, wishing me well in my recovery from the 'mini-stroke' I had in mid-April. Your kind thoughts and wishes are much appreciated. The fact that I was able to take notes during Maureen's classes and later actually read what I wrote is for me the ultimate sign that are progressing in the right direction quickly.

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