Somewhere in Brooklyn

It’s been said that one in four people in the United States can trace their family roots back to Brooklyn. So perhaps you or someone you know can help out the Brooklyn Museum.

According to an article in The New York Times (second story in the article), the Brooklyn Museum is posting images of Brooklyn taken in the late 1800s – streetscapes, family groups, house interiors – and asking for help in identifying where in Brooklyn they were taken.

The goal is to get as many images as possible identified before they are posted on Historypin, a site that explores history through photographs. On this site a reader will be able to find photos by topic, location, or date, and can even compare how a location looks today with the way it looked years ago.

Perhaps the museum’s quest to identify their photos will inspire you to label your own photos in the same way. Here are some suggestions to help you do that.

For prints:

–       Use a soft #2 pencil and write softly to avoid damaging the photo.

–       Include as much information as you can: names, dates, location, type of event, and anything else of significance.

–       Be as specific as possible. Rather than – or in addition to – Grandma and Grandpa, use their first and last names. Include the names of your children’s playmates or your cousin’s children who are in the photo with your child.

–       Include dates and events: Family picnic, vacation in New Hampshire, Grandpa Jack’s 70th birthday party, or even “somewhere in Brooklyn” helps when the photos are viewed by future generations.

For digital photos:

–       Make a folder for each event.

–       Be specific with the folder title, including date and event.

–       Label each photo with people’s full names.

–       Every year – or more often if you have lots of photos – create a CD for each of your children labeled with the child’s name and the year the photos were taken.

Photographs bring generations together; they are a record of what we are doing today and allow us a to peak into our past. Labeling your photos can help keep the connections going.



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