How to Preserve Family Memories: Top 5 Ways

Here are our top 5 recommendations for keeping family keepsakes safe. Learn the best ways to digitize, organize and annotate family memories for future generations.

2020 has been quite the year! For many people, it has brought a new appreciation for family and the little things in life that truly matter. Almost everyone has a box of old family photos and videos gathering dust somewhere on a shelf or in a basement. Whether you're looking for a quarantine hobby or you're already preparing for a New Years resolution (2021 can't get here soon enough!), organizing and annotating family memories is sure to bring a much needed dose of happiness and a great sense of accomplishment.

Here are our top 5 recommendations for keeping those keepsakes safe. Future generations will thank you for it!

Digitize old home videos

Let's start with the most pressing matter. Old film will deteriorate faster than photos, so preserving family videos should be your most urgent task. Find a professional who can digitize old films into files that can be saved to a computer (and be sure to back them up on an external hard drive). A bonus to this process is that once films are transferred into digital formats, they can be turned into frame-able stills!

Scan and upload everything

Many people don't realize that you no longer need to purchase a big, expensive scanner to digitize and upload photos and documents to a computer. You can simply download GoogleScan App or Adobe Scan App to your mobile device. We'd recommend creating a shared Dropbox or Google Drive folder that all your extended relatives can upload to so that everyone can easily share and access your digital family database of photos, videos and documents. This way, you can 'give' everyone your family photos without actually having to part with them.

Have back-ups

Once you've scanned your photos and documents, be sure you back them up in multiple ways. We suggest using a cloud service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud and an external hard drive.

Preserve your photo albums

Some people may prefer to rip photos out of old family albums to frame or distribute them. We'd recommend using the photo scan apps to create digital copies for this. Instead, preserve family albums so they can maintain their context and sentimentality. To preserve an old photo album or loose photos you'll need:

  • Piece of muslin to wrap the album in (unbleached)
  • Acid-free box (for storing)
  • Polypropylene sleeves (for loose photos)
  • Acid-free paper (for writing any information pertaining to the loose photos)

Get elderly relatives to record their life stories

Family photos, videos and documents will be treasured for years to come. But your loved one telling their own life story? That is absolutely priceless. Consider a subscription to a service like Storii, which allows you to create an account for yourself or on behalf of a family member. Storii has hundreds of life story question prompts to make recording a memoir for yourself or interviewing a loved one a simple, straightforward process. Within each question, you can either answer with text, video or audio. Photos and music can be added to supplement stories as well. Answers can easily be shared with other friends and relatives through a text or email notification.

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