Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Picture this

For many of the lucky ones,Thanksgiving means a family gathering -- I hope you had a good visit and perhaps gleaned a few nuggets of genealogical information from those aunts and uncles and cousins (and perhaps passed some on to nieces and nephews).

And now it is time to begin thinking about Christmas. Of course some smart people have been planning ahead and are just about ready to mail out their Christmas cards and notes. Let’s not think about those over-achievers right now.

My brother and two of my children have December birthdays as well, so it is a serious gift-giving month for me.

In all the flurry of scanning family photos in the past few months, with an eye to making CDs for safekeeping, it occurred to me that it would be wise to include a chart of some sort, showing the connections among these pictured individuals. Otherwise, a cabinet photo of Lucy and Lillian as children, though quite charming, might not mean much. This thought led to my exploration of the Reunion (Macintosh) program’s chart-making capabilities. (Most genealogical programs today, for Mac or PC, have a similar feature.)

There is no better way to learn than by doing! I decided on a four-generation pedigree chart because that will fit on a single standard sheet of paper in landscape mode. Also, in my family this goes back into the 19th century and I have photos for most of these folks.The possibilities and options are many, but I tried to keep it fairly simple.

For my brother I did a chart showing both our parents and their ancestors, starting with him.For my children I am doing a chart showing their dad’s ancestors, and another one for mine. (Don't tell them.)

This, of course, does not cover all the family photos I have, but a printed copy can accompany the CD, and perhaps more detailed explanations can be included to connect the rest of the group. Or, I can make additional charts showing some individual families and all their children.

Since I was involved in all this in a big way, it seemed logical to do a simple slideshow of pictures for my son’s birthday, beginning with his birth announcement and coming up to the present day, with most of them coming from his childhood. The Mac’s iPhoto feature makes slide show production pretty easy, and there are many ways to fancy it up. The trick is to know when to stop!

So, while I have not been doing much research lately, I am still involved in family history!

[The young lad pictured above is my father, Howard Hamilton Cain, and was taken around 1898)


1 comment:

Janet Iles said...

These sound like wonderful Christmas gifts. I hope they were well received.