by Loren D. Jones,
Albert Einstein once said, "A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind."
I vividly remember spending time at my grandparents home as a child. I remember a family photo album she had. It was about three inches thick and was covered in rich red velvet with some ornate metal trimming.
Inside was page after page of beautiful, old brown-tone family portraits dating back to the late 1800s into the early 1900s.
This album had been handed down to my grandmother from her parents, who had immigrated from Norway in the 1870s. Each page contained a single photograph with either an individual, a couple or a family grouping.
I remember studying these photos very intensely, noting the serious expressions on the faces of every family member, each one dressed in their finest attire. The posing was always nicely balanced and held you captive in the image.
I remember the beautiful, soft light with which these images had been lit, and the elegant feeling they evoked.
Grandma would try to explain to me who everyone was, to the extent she knew. Many she had no idea, just faces familiar from photographs, but names long forgotten.
Decades later my mother began a search into our family history. Through various resources, including the Sons of Norway, she made contact with a researcher in Norway who began the process of tracing our family history over there. He ultimately tracked down a third-cousin in Norway who was still living on the family farm from which my great grandfather had immigrated from back in 1872.
After becoming acquainted through mail correspondence and then telephone conversations, a family reunion was arranged at the family farm located just outside of Kvam, Norway in the lovely Gudbrundsdalen valley north of Lillehammer.
This cousin, a Norwegian bachelor farmer, proved to be incredibly gracious and hospitable as he insisted we stay with him at his farm.
I will never forget the day of that reunion and the sight of these elderly people filing into his residence, each clutching their precious family photo albums, some looking very similar to the one I remembered studying so intently as a child, and which had accompanied us to the reunion.
As we laid out these albums and began looking through them their albums contained the same beautiful portraits as our album.
They easily identified the people we didn't know, and we identified those they didn't know. Together we filled in the missing pieces from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
This was all made possible because my ancestors understood the importance of documenting their family history through professionally created portraits with the longevity to carry that history forward more than a century.
A professionally created family portrait, carefully prepared and printed on archival quality materials will stand the test of time and preserve your family history for generations to come. Your family deserves nothing less.