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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Awkward Family Photos, Panorama Group Style

    Camp pano boys

    Don't squirm, Little Bro
    Remember the old banquet-style photographs I recently dehumidified and unrolled? I've had a lot of fun looking at the details through my Magnabrite globe and on my computer.

    I scanned the camp photo with my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and reassembled the 18 images using the included EasyStitch software. The stitching process was finished in only three minutes and gave me a complete digital image of the 8 x 26-inch photograph.

    And, look what I found --

    Camp pano sign

    Genealogically Interesting

    The photograph was snapped August 21-28, 1948 at Hume Lake [California] for the Inter-Church Bible Conference. That means that my mom and aunt (pictured below and outlined in blue) were there with people from their church group and other, probably local Orange County, churches. Anyone with ancestors in Orange County, California who attended a fundamental Christian church about 1948 might find their family members in this group photo. 

    Now, I need to pin down the name of Mom and Auntie's church at that time. Although this looks like a camp for church members of all ages, I don't see my grandparents. They were probably  home enjoying the break with their two girls away for the week! 

    Inter Church Camp, Hume Lake, California 1948

    Awkward Moments

    Looking closer at the photo, I found some intriguing drama, and some humorous actions captured on film. The image above is a thumbnail version; if you click on it, a full-size photo should open so you can follow along:

    First, check out where everyone is looking. The kids and teens are all dutifully staring directly at the photographer. But, look at Boss Lady on the far left (outlined in green). The lady with the "pocketbook" gripped tightly under her arm. Is she looking at that cute baby in the top row? Or, is she keeping an eye on the teenage boys further along the line?

    A few other people aren't looking at the camera -- the baby is watching something more interesting, Mom? And then, look at the folks on the right side of the photo, selected in the red boxes. What's going on over there? 

    The adults are all behaving pretty well in this photo, not surprisingly. Even the teenagers are keeping their hands under control. Note the protective hands placed on the women's and girls' shoulders by nearby males. The guy in the top row doesn't quite know where to place his hand so he settles for the girl's throat. Scary!

    It's the kids along the front who are having the most fun. Outlined in green, from left to right, check out:

    • the little girl trying to hide her nail biting
    • the boy blowing a championship bubble-gum bubble
    • the kid waving
    • the big brother throttling little brother and holding his chin up

    I've probably missed a few more graceless movements captured in time; leave a comment with your own additions. And watch what you're doing in your next group photo! 


    On the Road with Gena and Jean's Genealogy Tour

    Two ladies sitting in motor car museum of hartlepool flickr the commons

    Don't you love the theme photo at Gena and Jean's Genealogy Journey Blog?
    Museum of Hartlepool. Flickr the Commons

    Gena Philibert-Ortega and Jean Wilcox Hibben are on the road this month lecturing on genealogy and social history, and sharing their new books. This week Gena and Jean have appearances in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley before driving up the Pacific coast to stop off in Santa Barbara. Next week, the pair will be speaking in Sacramento. 

    The complete tour schedule is posted on their tour blog, Gena and Jean's Genealogy Journey. The concept of a genealogy book tour is a unique idea, and contributions from tour sponsors will  help to defray Gena and Jean's travel expenses.

    Gena is the author of From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes  and a popular speaker and prolific writer on women and social history topics. Gena blogs about cookbooks, recipes, and all kinds of cool stuff at her blogs Gena's Genealogy and Food. Family. Ephemera.

    Gena and Jean are long-time friends and are both active in the Association of Professional Genealogists and other national and local genealogy organizations

    Jean is a Board Certified genealogist with a special interest in folk music and a new historical novel chronicling the story of her great great grandmother, Elisabeth.  Jean writes about her projects and research at Circlemending.

    Jean is also the lead researcher for the upcoming PBS television program Genealogy Roadshow.Gena and Jean also plan to make a stop in San Francisco to be on-site for the Genealogy Roadshow filming in San Francisco.

    Everyone who attends their presentations is in for a treat. Check out the schedule and follow their adventures on their genealogy journey.


    Heir Apparent Learns How to Preserve Family Keepsakes


    Meet David. He's not quite two years old, but he knows it's important to take good care of your Blankie.

    When David has a question about preserving family keepsakes he turns to How to Archive Family Keepsakes for straightforward advice on storage methods and techniques. 

    Some folks want to throw Blankie under his stroller, other people want to stuff him in the diaper bag (phewwww!). David learned that Blankie, like all textiles, is happiest when he's put away nice and clean and stored in a cool place away from heat, light, and moisture. 

    Blankie isn't very big, so it will be easy to roll him in a clean white sheet and let him take a long nap on the closet shelf. One day. But right now, David has decided it's just fine to keep Blankie nearby. After all, Blankie IS a Family Keepsake.

    In Every Family, Somone Inherits "The Stuff."

    Order your copy How to Archive Family Keepsakes today, and learn how to care for and preserve textiles like Blankie, and all kinds of keepsakes --

    • antique and vintage photographs
    • slides and negatives
    • film and video
    • photo albums
    • scrapbooks
    • diaries and journals
    • Family Bibles
    • genealogy research materials
    • baby albums
    • yearbooks and bound books
    • art
    • furniture
    • china and glassware
    • collectibles
    • musical instruments
    • quilts and samplers
    • clothing
    • military insignia
    • uniforms
    • scouting memorabilia
    • watches and jewelry
    • metal tools
    • toys, dolls, games

    . . . including Hop Hop, David's toy stuffed frog.

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon.comShopFamilyTree, iBooksBarnes and Noble, and retail booksellers.

        10% Off 





    Unlocking Inspiration in Arline's Heirloom Photograph

    Kayli owl

    My New-Fashioned Old-Fashioned Photo Locket

    My grandmother loved lockets and photo jewelry, and I do too. My niece, Kayli Craig, crafted this new keepsake for me with specialty items as an Origami Owl Custom Jewelry Designer. The locket features a snap open glass case that can hold three-dimensional objects, including this photo of my grandmother Arline and a gold-tone heart frame I found in a box of her old jewelry. I think the little metal frame may once have held another photo in it's own locket. I selected the family tree charm as my own contribution.

    We don't know much about Arline's beautiful photograph. Other similar photos are dated about 1908 and look very similar, giving a clue that this may have been created about the same time. Arline would have been 18 years old.

    Arline 1 web

    Arline Allen Kinsel, ca. 1908-1910

    This same photo was also the inspiration for a custom-made porcelain doll commissioned by Arline's eldest daughter sometime in the 1970s. The doll is dressed in white cotton with an eyelet jacket and black velvet ribbons at the wrist. A faded bouquet of flowers is tucked into her waistband. All that is missing is the wonderful hat with the organza butterflies ready to take flight.

    Doll 2

    Time has not been kind to the Arline doll. She was displayed in a glass-front case for many years where the light and air stained her gown and the painted porcelain. Poor dolly.

    I'm enjoying my own 21st century memento of Arline, especially knowing that the photo inside the glass locket was printed from a digital image and the keepsake original is tucked away safely in an archival box.

    If you are interested in keepsake lockets, please contact my niece to learn about the different options and styles available, including silver, gold, or bronze-tone. She can be reached through her website

    Official Disclosure: Of course, I do have to advise you that I am not under any undue pressure to ooohhhhh and ahhhhh over this piece of jewelry. I picked it out and paid for it myself because I like it! (And I'm pretty crazy about my niece too).


    Where to Store Long Group Photos or Banquet Prints: Treasure Chest Thursday


    Inter-Church Family Bible Conference Hume Lake Aug. 21-28 1948

    Now that you've successfully dehumidified all those lovely old documents and long group photos that were held in tightly rolled little batons, you must be looking for a suitable archival-quality storage container. Right?

    You will want to store your photos and documents lying flat, and if you have multiple photos or documents it's a good idea to place a sheet of archival paper between each item. 

    The best storage choice is an acid-free, lignin-free archival box purchased from a reputable preservation supplier. These companies sell only archival quality products and their biggest customers are libraries, archives, and other institutions.

    You may find inexpensive boxes labeled "archival," but unless the tag also reads "Acid-free" and possibly "Lignin-free," it is not a true archival product. Confused? You are not alone.

    Why "Archival" Is Not Always Archival

    Unfortunately, the word "archival" is used freely by manufacturers to describe ANY container intended to store stuff. The word itself has no legal qualification. It's a bit like the word "organic." 

    Remember in the early days of the natural food movement when anyone and everyone called their produce "organic"? In 1990s, the government decided to lay down some ground rules; and today, when you see "certified organic" carrots you can be assured that those orange vegetables meet certain USDA standards. 

    It's much the same with archival products. Anyone can call a photo box "archival." After all, the box may be designed to "archive" or "store" photos. While there may come a time when the industry offers "certified archival" products that meet certain standards, for now, just know that the best storage containers for family keepsakes are labeled as acid-free, lignin-free (or low-lignin) containers.

    Where to Find True "Archival" Storage Boxes

    I'm often asked where to purchase archival storage boxes, and I have to confess that I'm a great believer in not re-inventing the wheel. When I want to purchase something new, I look for recommendations from people I trust. I feel very comfortable purchasing archival suppliers from the same manufacturer who supplies The Library of Congress and The National Archives. And, I'm not just playing favorites because this same company was kind enough to sponsor my Preserving Keepsakes Workshop at the recent Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. 

    For at least 15 years, my go-to archival supplier has been Hollinger Metal Edge, with locations in Virginia and Southern California. Hollinger offers museum-quality archival products in all shapes and sizes, from photo to document to keepsake storage.

    Those long rolled photos we've been working with are sometimes called "banquet photos," presumably because so many images were made of convention and conference banquet attendees. Look for long shallow boxes called "Banquet Photo Storage" or  "Group Photo Boxes." You may have to order in quantities of three or more, so find a friend or someone in your genealogical society who will share an order with you.

    Banquet Photo Boxes


    Hollinger banquet boxes measure  24 x 12 1/2 x 2-inches and cost under $20 per box. Mylar protective sleeves and archival folders sized to fit individual prints are also available. 

    Other archival suppliers may offer similar storage boxes; just be careful to purchase true archival-quality containers. Look for acid-free, lignin free boxes.

    DIY Options?

    You may not want to invest in archival boxes right now; maybe you'd like to find someone to split that order with you. Or, maybe you have only one or two prints and plan to have them framed in the near future.

    A DIY archival folder will also protect your newly-flattened print from dust and light. You will need a sheet of heavy-weight archival board, about the weight of good card stock. Simply fold the board in half, and place your print inside. Use scrapbook tape to close the ends and store the folder on a shelf or on top of archival boxes. Be careful not to put items on top of the folder that might cause abrasions on the image, and plan to move the prints to more secure storage as soon as possible.

    Archival board is often available at art supply and framing stores. Look for acid-free, lignin-free board.

    Where to Store Your Banquet Photo Boxes

    Family keepsakes benefit from kind storage. Place your boxes in a location where you live and the temperature is fairly constant -- not too hot, or too cold. An empty closet or cupboard in your home is a good spot. Avoid humidity, dust, light, pests, and smoke or fumes. 

    For more ideas on locating your home archive and preserving different kinds of family treasures, check out my book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records available in paperback, or the Kindle ebook excerpt How to Organize Inherited Items .

    See Also:

    Photo Tutorial: How to Relax and Rehumidify Old Rolled Photographs

    Official Disclosure: At my request, Hollinger Metal Edge provided an assortment of archival products for display and demonstration in my workshop at the 2013 SCGS Jamboree. I was not required to promote or endorse their products. I receive a small commission from sales when customers indicate FAMILYCURATOR in the coupon code box. I also recieve a small commision through sales at Amazon and Family Tree Books.

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