Friday, May 6, 2011

My Family Tree Photobook

I think I've made various references to my "photobook" or "all the photos I've gone through recently", but maybe most of you readers (all two of you) don't have the whole story, so I thought I'd share it.

It started when my uncle put up photos on his website of my great-grandmother. I had never seen her before, never seen pictures of my grandfather as a kid. It meant a lot to me, and I suddenly wished I had more photos of my ancestors.

This is my favorite photo of myself as a child.
After that, all these things suddenly came together. A friend of mine offered a code for a free photobook from Shutterfly. Ken went to Hawaii to visit his Dad and came back with photos of various relatives on his side. When I joined Shutterfly, they offered me 75 free prints, so I started sorting all my photos. (My older hardcopy photos looked as if someone had taken my life's worth of photos and shuffled them like a deck of cards. My digital photos on the computer were similarly scattered across multiple folders without any particular order. I'm still not done sorting everything.)

I decided to make a "Family Tree" photobook, with pictures of people in my kids' family tree.

My sister Cathy gives this look ALL the TIME.
I went through all my own photos; I talked my brother in Minneapolis into searching the family albums there and emailing me the results; I grabbed photos of relatives off of their Facebook pages; I put a photo up on Facebook and got my cousins to identify all of themselves in it (You rock, Lisa!). At the last minute, I got a photo of my Dad and his new wife at their wedding, that someone else had put up online. I used that archaic program Microsoft Paint to make an actual "tree" of first names, to show various relationships. Ken will probably be happy to tell you just how many hours I spent, disappeared into the bedroom, working on this.

This is my mom when she was young.
The four pictures I'm posting are on a page in the photobook that I call "four faces".

In the end, my only real regret is that I decided not to try to blackmail my uncle by threatening to have my kids forever remember him as "the guy who looks like he's about to scratch his face", if he didn't find some better pictures among his albums. (I found two photos of him with his hand making the exact same motion - I found that quite hilarious.) While I later found a better picture of he himself (playing pinochle, of course), I think he may have been able to come up with better pictures of my Grandpa, Grandma, and Aunt Julie, whose pictures I was not as satisfied with. (Little Jules is named after my Aunt Julie).

All in all, though, I was very pleased with the results, and it seemed to me like one of those things where God just brought everything together and made it all work out. Both Ken and I think that we would have appreciated having such a thing ourselves. Although our kids are way too young to appreciate the photobook now, I think they will, when they are older.

If you want to see the results for yourself, Click Here.


  1. It looks great, Anna! I am sure your kids will love it. Glad I could help! (And here I thought we were just having fun with pictures!) So, I also feel compelled to tell you that every time I see a picture of your mom, especially when she was younger, I think, "WOW! It's Cathy!" And now that you posted Kyrie's pictures up there next to Cathy's... I think she looks so much like them too!

  2. This is great!!! I am big on family history and pictures. It is a wonderful idea and your did a great job! Bunny