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The Importance Of Identifying Old Photos

August 28, 2020

It is so import for all of us to properly identify old photographs. Why? The answer is because inevitably we won’t be around forever to explain these moments in time. Take this photo:

Without identification, it appears as a poor early color photograph of a rock outcropping. Why was the photo taken?

The year was 1970 and I had graduated college six months before and was in Yosemite National Park in September on vacation. My sister was a well-known mountain climber in the area but unlike her, I was more into fishing than climbing. The location was Pothole Dome. On a bet with my new wife, I said I could scurry up to the top of the dome without any climbing gear. If you look very carefully, you’ll see a tiny speck just below the summit on the right of the photo. That’s me in all my triumph as I headed for the top.

Without proper identification, this photo would be tossed out when I’m gone. It may be tossed out anyway but at least the tosser will know what he or she is tossing.

The point is simply this: We often presume that someone in the future will automatically know who was in a picture, when it was taken and why. This is almost always not the case. I have a whole drawer full of unidentified photos from my grandparents that I am working to identify. It would be great if they left me some clues. Spend some time categorizing and identifying your old photos. You’ll be glad you did!

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From → America, Family, History

10 Comments
  1. Especially old family photos. Thankful I began genealogy when three grandparents were still living. I asked them to label all the pictures they could, and they did. I’ve been so thankful about that. My husband had only one grandmother left. As we worked with her, she couldn’t remember who some of the people were, then got to the place where she couldn’t see well enough. You’ll always be thankful your photos got labeled.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great ideas. Really makes you think about the identification of activities and who the people are that were involved. Great information.
    Love to you and yours💕❤️Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know you’re right, but this is a lot of work! I better start tomorrow…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So, from now on I can refer to you as “Speck.” Very good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for the suggestion! I’ll try to identify my old photos

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent case in point. Someone might identity the location of they’re familiar with it, but the name of the speck and the story would be lost.

    Liked by 1 person

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