Family Movies, Slides,
Photos and Videos:
Priceless Family Mementos!

If you are like me, you likely have parents with large numbers of family movies, slides, videos, and other types of images - a lifetime of photographic memories - in various formats which sit in the closet, gathering dust, because there is no longer any way to view them.

My family has reel after reel of family movies which my parents shot when my brother and I were young. At the time, it was the latest in equipment. Now, of course, it is completely outdated.

Although I have the accompanying movie projector, the bulb is burned out. No-one makes that model of bulb any more. Hence, the home movie equipment is unusable, and the film unviewable.

I also have a good number of slides, sitting in their tray, patiently waiting for someone to view them.

(As an aside, I must point out that I am not old enough to remember the style of manually-operated film projector in this photo!)

These family movies, videos, photographs, and slides gradually degrade over time. Also, if they are kept in an area where there is any moisture, the process may speed up, to the point where the films and slides are no longer usable in any form.

These are priceless family mementos - documentation of family history - which need to be preserved, preferably in a format that future generations will be able to access.

Manual Film ProjectorManual Film Projector. Wikimedia Commons.

One way to do so is to send them off to a service that converts them to digital format and saves them that way for you.  

Another way to handle it is to purchase some inexpensive conversion equipment and do it yourself.

The method you choose likely will depend on the time and money resources available; the number of slides, films, etc., that exist; and your level of comfort in sending them off by courier or regular mail to someone else's care.

My suggestion would be, if you do send them to a company for conversion, to send only a few at a time. That way, if they get lost in the mail, you have not lost all of them.

One fellow has had experience with both, and discusses his experiences on his website, at Family History Products, in his section entitled "Family Photos". The focus of his website is on preserving memories and family history.

A Word about Photographs

Photograph albums (and other types of storage media for photographs) today provide acid and lignen-free options. The mats around photos generally also are lignen-free. In the past, it was not so!

Lignen is a substance found in wood which, over time, will turn your photographs yellow, or yellowy-brown. It is the compound in newspaper that is responsible for it turning yellow after a few days.

Both acid and lignen will damage your photographs; if they are left in contact with the photos for too long, the photographs will be beyond repair.

Take a look at your old photograph albums. I've just been through mine, and I have a large number of albums with the plastic, peel-away cover that allows placement of photos in any position on the page.

A number of the pages are showing brown marks around the edges. This is a tell-tale sign that the photographs stored in them are beginning to be affected by the acid and/or lignen in the plastic or in the cardboard that the photographs rest on.

If I want to preserve those photographs before they are affected any more than they already are, I will need to get them out of there as soon as I possibly can!

Another possibility, of course, is to use the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. Some photos are stuck to the plastic, and taking them out will ruin them, and this is the only option to preserve them. I have had great success with the photos in my mother's albums, although in most cases I have been able to peel back the plastic. 

Another item to add to the "To Do" list!

Go from "Family Movies, Videos and Slides" to "Family Tree Research: Getting Started"

From "Family Movies, Videos and Slides" to "Family History Alive" Home Page

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