Documenting Your Family History in Photographs

October 20, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Have you ever found a box of old photos and spent some time looking through them?

Old family photos are fantastic for reminding us of memories and sharing our experiences all over again, whether with those who were there or by telling them to others gathered around those precious prints.

Family photographs continue to be important for adults, especially for parents, for a variety of reasons. Here are ten of them:

1. preserving memories.

Just as with childhood and graduation photos, family portraits for adult families help preserve memories. They document the moments, events, and milestones that occur as families grow and change. Parents can look back on these images and cherish the memories of their adult children and relive family experiences.

2. nurturing emotional bonds.

Adult family photos can strengthen emotional bonds between family members. They serve as a visual representation of the love, connection, and shared experiences among parents, adult children, and even grandchildren. Looking at these photos can evoke feelings of love and togetherness.

3. celebrating life stages.

Family photographs capture the progression of life stages. Parents can document significant events like their children's weddings, the birth of grandchildren, and other personal achievements. These images are a testament to the family's growth and development over time.

4. connecting generations.

Family photos are a bridge that connects different generations within a family. They enable older generations to share their stories and experiences with younger ones. Parents can use these photos to convey family history and values, fostering a sense of continuity and belonging.

5. legacy and family history.

Photographs serve as a tangible record of a family's history and legacy. They document the family's journey, accomplishments, and the values that have been passed down through the generations. Parents can use these photos to pass on their family's traditions and heritage to their adult children.

6. reinforcing family identity.

Family photos help reinforce a sense of family identity and belonging. They remind adult family members of their roots and the importance of family ties. Parents can use these images to reinforce the idea that no matter where life takes them, they will always have a family to rely on.

7. healing and comfort.

Family photographs can offer solace during challenging times or when family members are separated. They serve as a reminder of the love and support that exists within the family. Parents can find comfort in these images, especially when their adult children have moved away or when family members are going through difficult times. I can also share with you that these photographs are the first place loved ones turn in the event of someone’s passing.

8. communication and storytelling.

Family photos provide a platform for storytelling. Parents can share their life experiences, values, and life lessons with their adult children through these images. They can recount family narratives, providing context for family traditions and cultural heritage.

9. creating a sense of pride.

Family portraits capture moments of pride, such as achievements, special occasions, and family gatherings. Parents can take pride in their adult children's accomplishments and see the evidence of the love and support that have contributed to their success.

10. supporting future generations.

Family photographs serve as a legacy for future generations. They offer a visual record for grandchildren and great grandchildren to learn about their family’s history and the people who came before them. Parents can leave behind a meaningful legacy through these photos. One day, these will be the “photos of your ancestors” that will be shared around the table.

Family photos for adult families, especially for parents, are essential for preserving memories, nurturing emotional bonds, and passing on a family's history and values. These images connect generations, offer comfort and support, and create a sense of family identity and pride. They are a way for parents to celebrate their adult children's achievements and to leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

These photos serve as a reminder of the individual's journey and the moments shared with their family.

Photos of your ancestors, especially when you know their stories, help connect you with your family history, drawing a line from the past to the present… and leaving a lasting gift to the future.

Special notes

1. Please be sure to PRINT those photographs to leave behind for your family and friends. There is no feeling comparable to passing these physical historical photos or a family album around the table and sharing the story within. Technology changes, and we don’t always have access to those photographic images and legacies anymore.

Case in point: my parents thought getting an 8mm movie camera when I was a toddler was the greatest thing ever. Still photos stopped for several years. My dad realized the changing technology was an issue, so in July 1989, he hooked up that 8mm movie projector and played the films, narrating and recording the stories in them onto a VHS (no, not a “transfer” – he set the VHS camera up next to him to record the screen in front of him). He gave it to me, and I still am eternally grateful. In 2017, I sent off that VHS to be recorded on a DVD. Still not great for passing around table and sharing with loved ones. It’s time to grab some still shots off that movie of a movie of old home movies and create a new photo book.

2. Become the family curator and create a family history book. 

Preserve a little more of your family history by providing additional information in your photo album. Consider including a family tree as far back as possible. Perhaps you can find and include marriage certificates or military records or old newspapers. Look up the meaning of your last name.  Go to a couple of genealogy sites or historical societies and include any genealogy research record sets you can find to help tell the story of your family. 


Women are multi-faceted, and I love helping them share images that show their authentic, beautiful, confident shine! How do you want to be photographed? Let's meet over coffee and talk about it. Contact me: text/call 434-226-0365 or email [email protected]... or schedule a Zoom meeting online here!


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