Last year I expressed an interest in cataloging family photos, and while I imagined this as a project requiring several months of research and categorizing, the work has more than quadrupled as family members learned of my interest and gladly provided their stock of snapshots. Each set is carefully packaged and sent off for professional scanning; I have approximately 1000 digital photos now in my cataloging queue, and more yet to be scanned.

The latest contribution is from a cousin, who handed over a container – literally a suitcase – filled with both photos and ephemera from my grandmother. A big surprise was discovering a book of a dozen or so drawings, several of which are very good. I had no idea she was so talented, and I’m eager to preserve the work for my sisters, myself, and my nieces and nephews.

My grandmother never had the opportunity to meet my nieces and nephews, as she passed away in early 1986 and the eldest of the children was not born until the following year. I remember the day of my grandma’s funeral well; it rained, and though not unexpected given she was quite elderly and had suffered for years from dementia following a stroke, at the time I could not see her death as a relief from suffering, just a terribly sad loss. She was a beautiful person, and as several other mementoes from her life were sadly destroyed by a freak flood these drawings will be very precious indeed.

Like many a software project, the scope of my 6-month project has increased unexpectedly, and cataloging activities will continue throughout 2013.


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