The Portraits of a Life Project:
In 2014 I launched the “Portraits of a Life” project to digitize, archive, restore and share the large collection family photographs that are in my care. Many of the photographs belonged to my great grandmothers Helen Tillie Bukowski and Frances Philomena Selker. The “Portraits of a Life” project includes a series of blog posts featuring the steps to archive, digitize and share the old photographs.
Launch of the old Family Photographs Website:
On October 11, 2014 I officially launched the old family photographs website. The website was established to preserve and share the large collections old family photographs that are in my care. The website currently features ten different collections of family photographs. All of the photographs on the site are available for others to download. Additionally the photographs have also been incorporated into my Ancestry.com tree which has allowed the photographs to be shared with other researchers and descendants.
Launch of the Facebook page:
In 2014 the Facebook page Our Ancestors - The Murosky & McDonald Ancestral Lines was launched as another way to share blog and research updates with family and blog followers. This new medium allowed many distant cousins from different family lines to contact me. Additionally I have become connected with local history enthusiasts. Facebook users that click "Like" will receive updates in their newsfeed.
2014 brought the centennial of WWI. The Great War changed the landscape of Europe and there are few that were not impacted. As an amateur historian the war and preceding events have always interested me. To resarch the impact the Great War had on my family I launched the WWI Centennial Blog series. The series is focused on where were members of my family living on August 5, 1914 when they learned war had been declared in Europe. What thoughts may they have had? How were they impacted? My goal for this series of blog posts was to create content both interesting and informative for the reader.
Tin Types & Cabinet Cards:
Last year the Frances Philomena Selker photo collection came into my care. This collection was previously unknown to many. Included in the vast collection were several tintype photographs from the Guth and Selker families. There were also cabinet cards of Leopold Guth and Theresa Loll. All of these photographs were remarkable discoveries as it was previously thought that few photographs existed from this side of the family.
Golden Wedding Celebration:
While researching the McDonald line last spring I connected with another researcher Mr. Cary Christopher. He was very kind and shared his research on the McDonald line with me. In his care Mr. Christopher had copies of photographs taken at the Golden Wedding Celebration of Michael McDonald and Anna Haggerty in 1916.
The Haggerty Farm:
An amazing photograph of Haggerty Farm in Farmington, Clarion County, Pennsylvania was located earlier this year. The original photograph was found in a crawl space below the original farmhouse. The current owner of the property was kind enough to share a copy of the photograph with Benjamin Patrick Norris, a Haggerty descendant. Benjamin graciously shared a copy with me.
|Haggerty Farm in Farmington, Pennsylvania|
Giving back made 2014 so special. The Portraits of a Life project served as a catalyst to connect with others as I attempted to identify the individuals in the photographs. One of the individuals I connected with was my 1st cousin 2x removed Leona Pietrzak. My great-grandmother Helen Tillie Bukowski had several photographs of her niece Leona and her brother Robert. Many of these photographs were unknown to Leona and her daughters. Over Christmas I had the opportunity to meet Leona and her lovely daughters. To thank Leona for all of her assistance with the family tree I surprised her with some framed photographs.
|Leona Pietrzak with a photograph of her mother, |
Clara T. Bukowski (left) and herself as a young girl in the 1940's (right)
One of the other individuals who made my family research journey possible is my 1st cousin 2x removed Sr. Janet Staab. When I first started my family history journey St. Janet was kind enough to share her extensive research on the Selker, Guth and Loll families with me.
|Sr. Janet and I|
|Sr. Janet holding a portrait of her grandmother Frances Philomena Guth (L), |
great uncle and great grandmother Theresa Loll
Moving into 2015 it is my intention to continue the Portraits of a Life Project. There are still many old photographs to be sorted, edited and shared. The project is an extensive one and I intend to enjoy the journey.
I also have plans to finish the Portraits of a life blog series with the hope that it will help others who are working to archive, digitize and share their old photographs.
Another goal for 2015 will to research and write more blog posts for the WWI Centennial series.
I hope you will follow along in 2015!