So what do you do with the photos?
1. Don’t be rash and throw out a lot if you're not interested. There will be someone in your extended family who will be one day. Remember you are the custodian of a very precious family history.
2. Photocopy or scan photos for relatives and others to identify the unknown people. I sent photocopies to a friend of my father’s, second cousins and my uncle. Although memories are fading they returned the photocopies with names and comments and from there I compiled the album.
3. Think about creating an album with the most special or favourite ones including grandparents and great grandparents, auntie's, uncles, cousins especially weddings. You may be the sole custodian of many generations of family memories. Make a special album which will preserve these photos such as the one shown.
4. Consider how you will share the record with the extended families e.g. make an e-book which can be reprinted, photo story, write a blog, start a family web page, record photos on an Ancestry tree.
5. Create a photo Wall in a hallway or alcove.
6. Pass on duplicates or make copies to send to others not lucky enough to have the originals.
|Find a space for a wall full of memories|
I've got a little folder on the side for my grandparents’ friends, acquaintances and neighbours. Despite my best efforts I have not been able to identify everyone especially church friends and neighbours. However I kept them in the file and noted the ones that my uncle said were “neighbours from 35 Park Avenue Neutral Bay”. Perhaps I’m more curious about them as in my childhood I lived there as a four year old for a short period with my parents and grandfather after the death of my Nanny. I've written a previous blog about the discovery of some photos belonging to a colleague of my grandfather’s. I’d been independently been friends with the wife and child for years. See blogI felt like I found a long lost relative .....
Anyhow one day I researched the Park Ave neighbours through the electoral rolls available on Ancestry. As I did so I’ve discovered their names and parts of their stories. Mrs. Sinclair becomes Gladys Daisy Sinclair nee Good. She's a widow living with a son Donald. Donald worked in a bank and marries Valerie Joyce who also worked in a bank.
|Mrs Sinclair and Donald|
Mrs. Florence Taylor a recent widow lives down the road at no 19. Her family photo c 1940s shows Florence with son Leslie Gatten Taylor and daughters Dorothy and unknown. Mrs Taylor died in 1950.
|Florence Taylor with son Leslie and daughters Florence and unknown|
Down the road Terry O’Keefe’s parents were Eirene and Edward. His dad was a fireman. She was always referred to Mrs O’Keefe. Unlike today.
There’s a wedding photo with Bruce Baker and Heather Riddle who married in 1952 and a family shot with Mrs Margaret Rowe Riddle. They’re from across the road in Ernest Street.
|The Riddle family at Heather's wedding 1952|
The last photo(s) to be identified was the McIlree’s from across the road at 37 Park Ave. This only came about because Mrs Alexandrina McIlree signed my grandmother’s World War II identity card in 1942. After researching them through the electoral rolls I also checked if there were any trees on Ancestry. Her husband was a brass finisher and she was also from Scotland. I discovered her children’s’ names. Up popped a profile picture of Christina Thompson Sinclair McIlree. Eureka! I also had that same bride in a photo. My Nanny is standing next to Christina and her husband in 1950 on her wedding day. And no doubt some of the neighbours are looking on.
The McIlrees were friends if not neighbours from about 1934. The penny had dropped. Amongst my pile was a photo of my dad as a small child sitting up with their two children-Alexander and Christina. There’s a second one with the little boy. There was a scribbled note on the back saying something about a person ready to ‘set the world on fire’ McIlree (I had thought it was McPhee.) I suspect the Sinclairs and the McIlrees might be somehow related due to the “Sinclair” in Alexandrina and Christina’s names and the fact that it’s the same address.
Yippee! Three more photos that I can put names to. I’m slowly ticking off the list of nameless photos. Here’s a few with the same “gang”. Not sure who they all are.
I love this one- it’s taken as the Queen visited Australia in 1956. She passed right down Ernest Street- Nanny lived on the corner of Park Ave and Ernest. The gang was out in force complete with hats, pearls and finery.
|A hanky waved as the Queen passes by the neighbourhood|
Some may say I’m weird, some obsessed. I certainly have too much time on my hands in between volunteering, holidaying and grandchildren. But hey that clairvoyant did say…… “Do something with the photos”.
I’m too scared not to.