Phyllis Smith,   Memories in Focus: Picture Your Stories Preserved

Phyllis Smith, Memories in Focus: Picture Your Stories Preserved


I’m a classic Boomer—my kids are building their own lives, we’re making plans for downsizing, and my parents are aging. When my parents decided to move into a seniors’ residence, I was handed all of my mom’s photo and genealogy materials and all of her digital images, including MANY images scanned from prints. My mom—God love her—has never been a great organizer. There was no discernible system, very little metadata attached to any the images, and the stories are still largely locked up in my mom’s head, with only tidbits captured on paper separate from the images.


I’m a librarian and an organizer. I was the weird kid who would organize the junk drawer in the kitchen. I like to find the order in chaos. My own photo collection is not perfect—I wish it was—but it works. However, my mom’s gift of a family treasure proved to be a challenge. As I began the work of turning the piles into a proper collection that could be easily shared and preserved, I realized that I was not the only person who might experiencing overwhelmingness when they look at their own family’s history in photos. The organizational approach that I take for granted could help others protect their own family treasures.

The mission that drives me and that I share with others, is that there is no single, perfect way to turn your photo collection into a priceless legacy. My system may not be yours. Your system can be as complex—or as simple—as you need it to be. You don’t need professional-grade software and you don’t need to spend hours maintaining your system. It just needs to be good enough to help you

  • identify your best photos and free yourself from the rest
  • connect them to your most meaningful family stories
  • share those photos and stories, and
  • ensure they can survive changes in technology or the unthinkable.

You can achieve all of that within the time and resources you have available. Do you have a vision of your family legacy? Let’s make it a priceless treasure that you will be proud to share with family and friends .