Why We Should Tell the Tales of our Old Family Photos
There were always stories. For as long I can remember, there were stories. Every visit to my mother’s hometown of Hot Springs, Arkansas was filled with family stories. It didn’t matter what we were gathered to observe, celebrate or honor. Every occasion offered an opportunity to tell stories.
Some stories were told so many times that I could tell them myself – verbatim. Some stories were about people whom I have never met or about characters from my family who have been dead since before I was born. There were also nicknames – lots of them! It seems like everyone on my mother’s side of the family goes exclusively by a nickname (half of the time I honestly couldn’t remember who was who).
Ironically, no matter how many stories I was told, I never really took an interest in my family history. All that changed when my mother and I sat down together and went through boxes left to her by my great-grandmother (who was affectionately nicknamed Meme). When we opened those boxes, we discovered something special, something unforgettable. Inside the boxes were family photos, many of which I had never seen.
Those long-lost pictures sparked my passion for family history, especially when it comes to learning every facet of the Pleasant’s family history – my family history.
In fact, one of the photos helped me win a free membership with Ancestry.com, which has enabled me to learn even more about my family history. It has been a wonderful exploration into our personal and family legacies.
The box of photos my mother and I discovered was with beautiful, priceless family photos that I never knew existed. There was something magical happening as we glimpsed each photo, each face, each moment. I was finally beginning to see pictures of the people I had heard stories about, and finally putting faces with names.
Once I found out that my grandmother “MeMe” wasn’t the only family member who possessed photos like these, it became my mission to gather all of the family photographs I could when I visited family in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Little by little, bit by bit, photo by photo, I started to assemble a huge family archive!
Needless to say, family photos have been instrumental in my quest to discover more and more about my family roots and our shared history. Having technology that allows me to preserve the images has been equally important.
Over the last few years, some of the main storytellers in my family have started to pass away, but fortunately for me and future generations, they left behind photos. Those photographs will no doubt spark the same interest in future generations about our family’s history.
About the author: Devon Wade is graduate of Lindenwood University with a Master’s of Arts in Education Administration and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Mass Communication from Missouri Valley College. Wade is currently based in Stone Mountain, Georgia and is a lover of vintage family photos, creative writing, and a die-hard University of Georgia football fan. You can follow him on TVsDevonWade and Instagram @TVsDevonWade.