Lisa’s fascinating story about family memories preserved and shared

It started with my grandmother’s photo album from her teenage days (1915-1916) until her marriage in 1917- including her wedding pictures!    The photos were in such good condition for their age I wanted to find a way to preserve them and share them.  Leave A Legacy scanned the photos from the album, letters and my grandmother’s confirmation and marriage certificates onto discs to share with siblings and cousins. I was so delighted to hear from my nephew and a young second cousin who were fascinated by the old cars, clothes and those somehow familiar faces. Oh, if only we had my grandmother to identify some of those people and places.

Both sides of my family were pioneers in a small Iowa town where descendants of family and their friends still reside. To see the old familiar faces and places on the computer screen is just so awesome but the lesson of listening to stories and identifying pictures while we can is most apparent!

Of course, these projects tend to snowball! My cousin and I asked Leave A Legacy to scan  and organize another generation of photo albums. These included my four uncles- brothers who served in WWII together along with my own Dad and other men in our families. What great pictures we’ve been able to share of wartime weddings and happy homecomings!

The project continued with albums of my own generation! All those video tapes and movie reels along with more photo albums were moved to CDs and DVDs – confirmations, graduations and weddings for future generations to enjoy.

Along the way, Leave A Legacy reprinted some long lost negatives from an album discovered in a barn and Leave A Legacy was able to restore some faded photos! How lucky to not only find the long forgotten album but to be able to preserve pictures I had never seen.

The next chapter in this project will be slides from my parents/grandparents – that will be CD # 3 to share. My aunt’s 1950’s movies of a European vacation Leave A Legacy transferred to DVDs was a bit of a bust- not due to Leave A Legacy’s efforts – but my uncle had placed his camera on the dashboard of the car making most of the trip a dizzying adventure!

bride 1 restored
After: full restoration
bride 1
Before: photo of a photo

When my grandson, Ryan, announced his engagement to Hannah I began thinking of a way to welcome the bride to our family. I had thought so many times, in getting to know Hannah, how much my mother would have loved her and how my grandmothers and aunts would have been so proud of Ryan and Hannah’s travels and accomplishments!  The idea of a Bride Book from all those wedding photos of long ago -those happy young women with their futures so bright – especially my grandmother who was married nearly 100 years ago – began with the help of the bride’s family and the wedding pictures of my own relatives. I realized how the hopes and dreams of these young brides became the great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers and aunts of my generation – forming the strong, independent women we are today! Who wouldn’t enjoy celebrating them!

With the help of every family, Leave A Legacy was able to restore, enhance, and organize a beautiful book of 26 brides from both the bride and grooms’ families. Some wedding photos nearly 100 years old in a studio with the groom, some lovely professional photos of the beautiful bride alone and some of the wartime photos were just snapshots!
Since the thought was a welcome to Hannah from the brides that molded all of our lives the book became very powerful for those of us who worked to gather photos.

What a thrill on her wedding day to share the book with Hannah!  But it was also emotional for me to see the reaction of the bride and grooms’ grandmothers, mothers and aunts who were actually present at the wedding! I hadn’t really expected their reaction but it was wonderful when Hannah’s grandmother saw her own mother’s wedding picture in the book!  The Bride Book brought many tears and hugs. The memories that were made that day we’ll treasure.

So, we already have a new bride to add, Hannah’s photo, of course, and another old07 bride photo has been found!  Just what I dreamed – a book that can continue into the future!

Certainly, Ryan loves the bride book. He chose a photo from his past with Hannah and one of the groomsmen- a special photo of the camp they attended when they were children- a location that holds many wonderful memories for the three of them! Leave A Legacy was able to print and mount the photo as a thank you gift to a special groomsman.

These projects- especially the Bride Book- have been so meaningful to my family!  Not everyone is enjoying the old photos (another nephew told me he only liked seeing his aunts and uncles – people he knows the best). But those of us who are more interested in family history are communicating more, sharing stories and memories and working on new projects- perhaps that Groom Book or a military history of our own heroes!


Now that is a fascinating story!