Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scanning Madness

About a month ago or there abouts I received eight boxes that were delivered to my doorstep by fed ex. Every one of the boxes pictured here were crammed full with photographs, documents, letters and personal papers going back three generations in my family. These boxes held the collection of genealogy, photo albums and various STUFF that had belong to my mother, her mother, and her mother before her. My aunt and uncle had gathered it all up from my grandmother's house in Cottonwood, AZ after her death in 1988. They sorted through it some, but it has mostly sat in boxes for over 20 years. Finally they decided something should be done with the collection, so they sent it all to me.

Oh my.

There are some absolute TREASURES in these boxes. There are photographs I had never seen or knew even existed. However, those treasures are mixed in with a whole lot, junk. At least it is junk to me. My mother had the best of intentions, but she didn't have much sense of order. And, it would appear, she came by that habit honestly. Her mother's records are no more organized than my mom's.

So I've been spending LOTS of time going through these boxes piece by piece by piece, trying to sort out what is there - separating the wheat from the chaff. I've thrown away a lot of stuff. (Multiple copies of many photographs, EVERY card my mother got at her wedding, 15 copies of the newspaper that had her engagement photo in it, along with lots of old correspondence with strangers trying to track down various genealogy leads. (Thank you God for making research a whole lot easier these days since the invention of the internet.)

For the first couple weeks after the boxes came the contents took over every horizontal surface of my house as I painstakingly separated things out into specific piles: grandma photos here, Mom's sibs over there, my sibs in this pile, various cousins over there.

Sadly, there were quite a few of the really old pictures I have no idea whatsoever who they are of - including five tintypes that I suspect belonged to my great grandmother.

However, for pictures that I DO recognize I am absolutely determined to get them all cataloged so that when I go pinchers up no one will find stacks and stacks of boxes of disorganized clutter peppered with family treasures. That's one family tradition I'd just as soon not take on.

So I've been scanning all photos and posting quite a few of them onto the family blog that I started a while back. Then I mailed out several boxes to give pictures back to the various family groups they came from. Little by little I am whittling away at my piles.

I've reclaimed my living room and there are no more pictures on the dining room table. My office however, is still more than a catastrophe. There is simply no way I know to get through this project without making one heck of a mess.

I'll be glad when I get it done and can get my work space back in order. But right now I am incredibly thankful for the treasures of family images and records that have been gifted to me. It has been a fascinating process to go through it all.

I just wish I could find my desk.

1 comment:

Grandma Pat said...

What a treat to land on your doorstep - what a chore to go through, though! Good luck finding your desk.

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