Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Treasure Trunk of Memories...Reflections by Terri

Robert B. and Louetta McKinney Fonville (Jerry's Granny and Grandpa)
 on their honeymoon in 1915 in Ft. Worth, TX.
Over the past several years I have spent quite a lot of time working with hundreds of photos stored in Granny Fonville's Treasure Trunk of Memories. Also stored in this trunk were newspaper clippings, letters and greeting cards. Unfortunately paper products give off  gases that are highly damaging to photos.  I am often amazed that these photos have survived over the decades.  Fortunately many of them were black and white photos which don't seem to deteriorate as quickly as the "new, improved" color photos.
This photo discovered in Granny Fonville's Treasure Trunk of Memories is of Jerry's 
Grandparents riding in a surrey during their "courting days" in the Spring of 1915. Unfortunately a portion of the photo has ripped off.
Luckily Aunt Helen had a better preserved copy of the same photo.
Most people tend to store their photos, slides and negatives in trunks or shoe boxes scattered throughout their home. Some people actually store these trunks in the attic, storage shed or garage which is probably the worst place for photos. 
For safe storage of your photos  I recommend using either a Creative Memories Power Sort box or a 11X14 Expandable PicFolio (slide-in) Photo album. Power Sort boxes will hold up to 1200 of your photos up to 5x7 in size.  For larger photos I recommend using  a 11x14 expandable PicFolio Photo album. These albums hold up to 40 pages and are available in both 11x14 pocket pages and pages with 5 4x6 photo pockets.  Just stop by my website: http://www.mycmsite.com/terrifonville to check out some of these photo safe organizing and storing tools.
John Franklin Fonville in 1915 photo. He was Robert B. Fonville's little brother. I am so glad they photographed him in front of the horse drawn carriage.  Little details like this help us age the photo in case our ancestors have not taken the time to identify them for us.
Photo Tip: Photos survive best in environments similar to where we flourish. Heat, light and humidity are three of the worst enemies of your photos. So protect them for future generations.
This badly deteriorating envelope sent to Great Grandpa James Dill Fonville was stamped July 5, 1893 Ardmore, Indian Territory. I would love to know what was inside the envelope since only the envelope survived to make it into Granny's Treasure Trunk of Memories. I imagine it must have been important since Granny took the time to place the envelope in the trunk.
Photo Tip: Remember you do not want your photos to be stored in the same container as newspapers, greeting cards and letters since paper products give off gasses dangerous to photos.
This photo found in Granny's Treasure Trunk of Memories is of Alma Leona McKinney
sister of Grandpa J. E. McKinney taken on July 4, 1902. As you can see it
was professionally attached to a cardboard backing which is badly deteriorating.
Recently,  I was asked what to do with photos that have been professionally attached to cardboard backings. I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to take the backing off of other old photos, so I recommend to just leave the backing on, but scan the photo now before it deteriorates further.  Since the cardboard will continue to give off gasses be sure to store this photo separate from other photos. If you have several of this type of photo you may want to designate one entire Power Sort box for photos with cardboard backings.
This badly deteriorating photo was in a cardboard sleeve.  It is of Steven Alexander Fonville who was born June 1, 1913 in Seymour, Baylor County, TX and died Sept. 3, 1914.
Using Creative Memories Memory Manager 3.0 much of the damage on your heritage photos can be corrected. This software can be downloaded from my website @ http://www.mycmsite.com/terrifonville. It is amazing what you can do to restore your priceless heritage photos.
Stephen Alexander Fonville photo after I have restored it
using CM's Memory Manager software.

Great Grandpa James D. Fonville before his 1893 Marriage
(front of photo).
Photo Tip: When scanning old photos be sure to scan both the front and back of the photos.  Sometimes some very important details can be found on the back of photos.
Back of the photo of James D. Fonville before
his 1893 wedding to Mary Jane Winton.
I love that I can scan all of Granny's old documents from her Treasure Trunk of Memories directly into Memory Manager 3.0. This software is an incredible organizational tool as well as a great storage tool for your family's heritage items.  Once the items have been scanned into Memory Manager 3.0 any family member can have either a digital or paper copy of all of your family's special treasures. I love that Memory Manager 3.0 allows me to write the story that goes with the photos and memorabilia.
As a history buff I love exploring all the treasures in Granny's trunk...it's almost as if history comes back to life. In school I learned that US citizens were required to pay a "Poll Tax" in order to vote...since Granny Fonville kept everything...including their "Poll Tax" receipts I now know that Granny and Grandpa paid $3.50 in 1929 just to have the privilege of voting! Amazing! Can you imagine having to have to pay to VOTE??? Oh how far our country has come!
Another thing I've learned while working with Granny's photos is that sometimes you need more than one photo to tell the entire story! I was so excited when I uncovered this old photo with Grandpa Fonville in front of an old automobile which appeared to have a flat tire.
When I came across the next photo I was so excited because Grandpa was actually changing the tire. I love that someone actually thought this was an important activity to photograph.

Herschel, Helen, Elaine, Jesse, James and Brantley with Granny holding Marcus in photo taken in 1935.
But the story was not complete until I found the negatives showing the progression of events that day which included this photo of the family waiting for the tire to be changed. Yes...that's two sets of twins you see...for Granny Fonville had twins in 1923 and in 1926. Can you imagine driving that old car with 7 kids and your wife on board??? How did they all fit?
Twins Helen and Herschel munching down on Baby Ruth candy bars in 1924.
When I discovered this photo I wondered about the story behind it.  I actually thought maybe they were posing for a commercial for Baby Ruth Candy Bars. After asking several older family members I discovered that at the time this photo was taken Grandpa Fonville was actually a wholesale candy salesman. I knew he was truly an entrepreneur since during his lifetime he had owned the City Garage, Fonville Cleaners and several farms I just didn't realize how diversified he truly was. I guess with 10 kids he had to be resourceful to keep his family fed.
I love the stories told by old photos. I hope that the information I have shared in this post will encourage you to take care of your family photos so that they will be around to share with generations to come.  Terri

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