There’s something in a photograph that inspires us to search for stories and context. Sometimes it’s not about what’s in the picture, and instead, about the clues it reveals. Those unseen stories are gold.
I’ve learned to crowdsource the hunt for these stories. Using Ponga pictures, I can invite everyone in my family to join me in the journey. As we share the details we find in pictures, clues lead from one story to the next. Connecting the dots with context and memories we soon reconnect as a family.
Having reached out to my tier-one and tier-two relatives, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, I experienced pure unadulterated joy. Their comments, remembrances and reconnections have been beyond amazing. I invited my family to the storyboard albums I’d created, …
Then… I remembered Myrna.
The game was afoot!
When I first embarked on my family tree journey over 18 months ago, I started with a free family tree collaboration site. All I had at the time was an old faded Xeroxed copy of research done back in the 1980s by a cousin, 2x removed.
As I poked around for my ancestors, a contributor’s name kept popping up, Myrna. Her family name was familiar to me, I’d seen it before on the Xeroxed copy of the research from the 1980s. I unabashedly reached out to Myrna, (as I do…) knocking on virtual doors…and low and behold Myrna and I share 3x great grandparents, we’re actually 3rd cousins.
I suddenly realized that it would make sense to reach out again, to invite Myrna to my growing Ponga family story. Following the best practices that I knew worked, I went “a knocking” again.
Not only was Myrna at home, but she RSVP’d to my invitation pretty much straight away.
Though a decade or more senior to me, she needed no assistance or directions on what to do to access her guest invite. She just followed the instructions in my pre-invitation email to her. Before I knew it, she was my registered guest and was Ponga-commenting like a native Pongster. She was weaving stories that connect the dots on documents to pictures in her own collection.
I’d uploaded a jpg image of pages from that faded Xeroxed family tree from the 1980s. That was this dot-matrix printout that ignited the story for Myrna, not a photograph.
She went one better, clever Myrna. As my personal guest, she isn’t able to upload images directly to the album I’ve shared with her, but she had no problems whatsoever understanding how to upload an image in the comment section. And what a story she shared.
Since this interaction, Myrna has sent through this wonderful photograph of my 2x Great Grandfather’s sister and her husband. Myrna’s direct ancestors. Now, that photo is ready in my Ponga album for more storytelling magic to be written and shared.
A document, words, and dates on a page fill in the blanks with facts that set the story in the context of historical events. The Ponga pictures of my ancestors then take center stage as the leading characters in a narrative that connects me with history.
The sharing of an old photograph, and a memory, isn’t a popularity contest, or a “what-ya think” moment. It’s not about the number of hearts or likes it collects. Leave that to social media and random current event images. Sharing an old photograph, can and should be the starting point for a walk down memory lane. Or perhaps the discrete reveal of stories shared with one relative but not to another.
As we share the details we find in pictures, clues lead from one story to the next. Connecting the dots with context and memories we soon reconnect as a family. Having reached out to my tier-one and tier-two relatives, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews, I experienced pure unadulterated joy. Their comments, remembrances, and reconnections have been beyond amazing. I invited my family to the storyboard albums I’d created, …Then… I remembered Myrna. The game was afoot!
Following these steps will help you get your photos in order. Once you have the physical artifacts organized, you can digitize your collection and will be ready to get your digital collection into Ponga where you automatically organize them by person and start sharing your photos and the stories that go with them.