I recently read a great post that was linked on the Oct. 12, 2014 GeneaBloggers Daily by Gordon Belt: Scrapbooks: the Original Social Media. The article is by Katherine Hoarn, and her premise is intriguing:
“As a means of creating and communicating self, … scrapbooks operate in much the same way that popular forms of social media do for students today.”
Ms. Hoarn continues in her article to discuss how scrapbooks served the same purpose years ago as Facebook does now- to allow communication between family and friends and give a sense of who the person was at a certain point in their life.
Scrapbooking- and by extension the paper ephemera passed down that we family historians so cherish- is also an act of curation, Ms. Hoarn explains.
She compares this collecting of text and images to Pinterest and Tumblr sites that showcase interests, passions, and events. Whether neatly organized onto boards on Pinterest or into a scrapbook, autograph book, photo album, diary, or even a shoebox, most of what we have inherited has been culled through generations to be the most important ephemera of a life. If we are lucky, we may even have commentary attached to give us more insight into a life.
Instagram, of course, is today’s electronic version of the photo album and if we are REALLY lucky, our old images will also be “tagged” with names, dates, and places.
A caption can touch our hearts or give us a giggle- sometimes both at the same time.
As one who laments the passing of paper and worries what treasures will be left for the next generations to cherish in their even more ephemeral electronic world, I truly treasure the scrapbook, photo albums, and shoe boxes of photos and papers left by our ancestors. I am so glad that we do have ways of sharing the old-timey via new technology, though, so all can gain a bit more insight into those who have gone before.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Geneabloggers Daily: http://paper.li/geneabloggers/1306385546
2) In the near long ago, boys graduated to long pants as they matured- a rite of passage that was longed for by many, much as our generation cannot wait until we can drive.
3) While searching for appropriate pictures for this post, I found the above image of Mabel- we have a younger picture of her that until this moment we thought was the only one- see Mystery Monday: Mabel Mulhollen. She may be more important in our family than we realized since there is more than one photo of her. We can also use this photo of her at an older age to compare to other family images from the same time period that include people we do not know. Is she family or part of the FAN Club? More research needed.
4) FAN Club= Friends, Associates, Neighbors; researching these folks can help us learn more about our ancestors.
5) The Newton (Iowa) High School Class of 1892 included Lillie Brown, Ella Clarkson, Marie Hass, Henry Jasper, Fred Kennedy, Belle Lambert, Artie McKinley, Willie McMurray, Hettie McCord, Fred Meredith, and Lillian Patten.