This is a photograph of my great, great-grandmother when she was 18 years old. It was taken in 1884, one hundred and thirty years ago. So, I obviously can’t claim credit for it. I am just its keeper. My daughter’s name comes from this woman who I only know from this photograph.
I have a book full of these sorts of sepia toned, and then black and white, photos of my family. My grandmother, my mom’s mother, left them to me.
I can’t remember exactly when I saw these photos for the first time, but do have a distinct memory of the visit in which I became distinctly interested in them. My grandmother kept a basket of photo albums in the living room. I looked at them frequently, but hadn’t remembered seeing the “Family Tree Photo Album” before the afternoon I picked it up and poured over it, my grandmother explaining who everyone was. I think I was around 20 years old. I couldn’t believe that we had such a collection of photographic family history. She pulled it all together over the years, writing to relatives, asking for photos.
She added current photos as unions were made and babies were born.
When she passed away, she left the photo album to me. It was in bad shape and needed some attention. I carefully removed all the photos, documenting who everyone was, and then scanned them all into a computer. I then put them in a new photo album with archival paper and coverings, hoping that they will survive several more generations. If my house were burning down and everyone was safe and I could only grab one thing, it would be this collection of photographs. It sits on a shelf under a little table that stands right next to the front door. Seems like a good place for a last-minute grab….
No, these are not photos I took. They come from portrait photographers long passed. Maybe this doesn’t quite fit the Weekly Photo Challenge, but when I think of treasure this is it for me. (And it involves photographs).