The stories behind our photos and possessions are what brings our memories to life. Record the backstories that are pieces of your history. Bringing other family members of various generations into the process has been noted to strengthen the connected bond of family history.
Previous blog posts have presented dozens of ideas that help organize our lives, preserve our family’s legacy and protect our home from natural disasters. Quiet busy work can be very inspiring, as we do our best brain storming when we’re relaxed. While scanning we remember stories behind the images and things we had planned to do while developing a whole new honey-do list.
Use the Flip-Pal Toolbox 4 software or the ScanTools app (iOS or Android) to record those stories and ideas and create StoryScans™ talking images. Whether we are detailing the stories behind groupings of photos from events and timeframes, adding little known facts to the scans of heirloom receipts, we’ll be building on your documented history.
The next time you are visiting a person who is included in a picture you’ve already scanned, bring your Flip-Pal with those scans stored on the SD card. Record their voice as you select each scan. If you didn’t bring your own laptop, use their computer to create a StoryScans™ talking image. No need to install the Toolbox software on their computer – simply put the SD card into their computer and run the software directly from the SD card. Make sure to also bring the white SD to USB adapter that was included with your scanner. And, any new pictures they have that are of interest to you, create a StoryScans talking image as you scan each. Have some fun – maybe have both of you speak a bit about each photo.
Bring along a high-quality USB microphone to reduce the background noise and tinny sound from most laptops’ internal microphone. Our favorite that is easy to take with you is the Samson Go Mic. Find a quiet place to do the recordings.
My mother had a fantastic habit of writing the backstory of items on simple index cards and tucking them into everything. That was a cost effective way for her to document a large amount of family history. Every book, photo album, and heirloom we touch seems to have a story written by her inside. These mementos are now counted among our cherished heirlooms, because they’re Mom’s stories in her handwriting. If you have similar notes from your mom, or her handwriting on the back of the photo, have her record those notes with the Toolbox software the next time you are with her. Unfortunately, my mom has passed and can’t do that. I hope you don’t wait – time marches on relentlessly. However, I have her index cards and have created StoryScans talking images by recording those notes myself. When I sent those talking images to my siblings and relatives, they too have mom’s notes, as audio.
You can create talking images from the scans you’ve done before (or pictures from your camera) and stored on your hard drive. Download and activate the Toolbox 4 software. Use Browse… to locate and select the file you want to create a StoryScans talking image from. Click Record Audio and then Record. Speak into the microphone to record your voice describing the picture. You can Pause, then Listen or Re-record. Click Save to create the talking image. Repeat for other files.
The Flip-Pal Sketch Kit can also help record the backstory. If the narration says something like “This picture was taken two months before Uncle George left for the Korean War” you could use the Sketch Kit to put a circle around Uncle George.
When you start audio recording, give yourself a few seconds before speaking. Have fun. Use humor. Be yourself. Don’t get caught up in trying to sound like a news anchor unless you’re a news anchor. Your family wants to hear your natural voice.
[Editors Note: Adapted from a post originally written by Mary Danielsen of Documented Legacy]