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Please Say Cheese (or not): Importance of Family Portaits

For over 20 years I have been studying and using family portraits for my research as a genealogist. The pictures that hang on my wall, most of them portraits, are some of my most prized possessions. It makes my ancestors come alive for me. Every time a relative gives me a new one to care for, it feels like Christmas morning!

This is my great-great-grandfather and Civil War Veteran (1st Colorado Calvary)

I have been working on identifying people in a family reunion photo from 1930. It is a long tedious process as there are more than 50 people in the picture. This requires sifting through so many family portraits; the ones in my possession and going through some online photos. As I look through all of these portraits; I am reminded how fortunate I am that my family had the means and foresight to have their pictures taken all the way back into the 1860s. I am grateful that they sat for those portraits, as I know it was not a simple task back then.

We had our family portraits taken this past month and they were, embarrassingly enough, our first professional family photos. It was a much easier process than our ancestors went through. I am so thrilled to put them on the walls of our new home. I can’t help but think that someday, 150 years from now that one of my descendants might be looking at these portraits the way that I look at mine.

In this day and age of cell phone cameras, we just kept taking casual, everyday photos and few of them ever make it onto a wall. Now we have a beautiful piece of art that can be passed down for many, many years. Please make sure you take family portraits, they are important to us in the present and they may be even more important to our descendants a hundred years from now.

Photos by Knit Together Photography

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