Sunday, June 29, 2014

Portraits of a Life

Old family photos are a treasure – the images have the ability to transport us to the moment in time when the photos were taken. We can learn so much - what our ancestors looked like, what they wore and how our families lived. Sometimes the emotions shine through – joy and sadness.  Sometimes we recognize similarities that pass down through several generations.

My family is very fortunate that we have a large collection of formal family portraits and snapshots.  When I was in college my grandfather entrusted his mother’s photo collection to me. My great grandmother Helen Tillie Bukowski was the original family historian. She took many photos of her children, her parents, her husband’s parents, her siblings, her husbands, her nieces and her nephews. There are hundreds of photos ranging from the early 1900’s through the 1950’s.  She also recorded the names and dates on many of the images. Her record keeping was impeccable and has assisted with identifying individuals in the unlabeled photos. In addition to several large albums there were also many loose photos, newspaper clippings and post cards.  She left so many clues – a roadmap to assembling our family history. An amazing perspective of their lifetime.

Michelle M. Murosky: The Bukowski Collection &emdash; Helen Tillie Bukowski
My Great Grandmother - Helen Tillie Bukowski - the original family historian
In 2011 I worked digitized the images.  A portion of these photos were published in Our Ancestors The Book: Volume I: The Murosky and Bukowski Family History. The book dedicated to my paternal grandfather, who was 92 at the time, is a 276 hard backed book featuring collection of family tree research, historical records and family photographs for the ancestral lines on the paternal side of the Murosky family. The Bukowski and Murosky families are featured. The book also features a collection of family recipes. A few samples from the book are shown below. To browse the book please view this link.



Michelle M. Murosky: Portraits of a Life &emdash; Our Ancestors The Book: Volume I: The Murosky & Bukowski Family



Earlier this spring I acquired another large collection of family photos. These include additional previously unknown photos from my great grandmother Helen Tillie Bukowski’s collection. My great grandmother Frances Philomena Selker’s photo collection was also included. Frances Philomena Selker was my paternal grandmother's mother. It was previously thought that almost no photos existed from this side of the family. Included are photos of her ancestors – the Selker, Guth and Loll families. There are also photos of her children – my grandmother’s generation and my father’s generation. This collection also includes several hundred photos.
I am starting a project called “Portraits of a Life."  The goal of this project is to digitize, archive, restore and share the large collection family photos. This will include the remaining photos from my great Grandmother Helen Bukowski's collection. This will also include the Frances Philomena Selker photo collection.
Family photos belong to all of the descendants - history is meant to be shared. To keep family updated on this project I will be providing regular blog updates with the leading title “Portraits of a Life”. Working to digitize the images is one of the most ambitious and complex projects I have undertaken.
As the caretaker my role is to preserve and share our family history for future generations.  Preserving our family history and allowing the legacy of my great grandmothers to live on is one of the more important things I have ever done in my life. I feel honored to have this role.

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