Saving your Family Photos

Today I wanted to share a number of tips and tricks to help preserve the precious family photos in your own family, by discussing my photo preservation journey.

I’m back from my long European Vacation (I did not see Chevy Chase) and with my body aching from all the great fun I’d had, I decided to take on a project that has been slowly simmering over the last 2 years.

My uncle Ralph passed away in October 2015 and left behind a treasure trove of 1501 pictures from his 77 years on this planet. Also found amongst his belongings were a number of my Grandmother’s albums, which contain an additional 527 photos from her 85 years on this planet. He albums have been missing for about 10 years and we thought we had lost them forever. The only copies available were some early scanning I had done almost 15 years ago. Hard Drive space was so expensive then that I could only do 100 dots per inch (DPI) scans, which is grossly insufficient for modern printing standards.

He had done his best to preserve the photos but lacked some essential knowledge of the techniques involved in archiving the images. Time and mother nature hasn’t always been kind to the photos and how and where they are stored going forward will play a significant role in their longevity.

The task ahead was great and I had promised that if I was the one that was allowed to archive them that I would assure that everyone would have a copy, but I had no idea of how I would do that or when I could accomplish it. I’ve spent almost 2 years being overwhelmed by the scale of the project and just recently determined how I would move forward. As I did finally start moving forward I made my own mistakes along the way and now clearly see the path that must be taken, not only to digitize the photos in their current state, but to store them in such a way that they wouldn’t be able to be harmed by the elements, light, that toxic glue that many of them had from those terrible albums sold in the 60s and 70s, wood pulp and most importantly each other.

Let me take you through my process, but before I start I must confess that I am very meticulous and detail oriented. People have called me a few other things in my life, but let’s not get into that now. I also have a tendency to just jump in on a project and get started, even if that isn’t the most efficient way to do it. I know that I’ll determine a process as I move forward and am anxious to get started…and more importantly get finished! This time I took my time and tried to make sure I was doing it right. I still made mistakes along the way but this time they didn’t cause a loss of information and my early preparation paid off to get me back on track.

The process I used followed these steps:

  1. Before attempting anything, take pictures of everything! How the photos are organized, likely meant something to the person who assembled the album or clustered them together. Being able to define what came from where is essential in putting it all back together in the future. So, grab your camera phone, find a place with enough indirect lighting that doesn’t come from above. This way the Mylar on album pages won’t reflect the lights in your pictures. Move decidedly from the front of the album to the back taking a picture of the covers and every single page. This will give you a permanent record of how you found them and can come in handy when you drop a bunch of photos and need to put them back in a particular order (yep, it happened to me).
  2. Next, I tackled the loose photos, because they are easier to run through the scanner quickly. My uncle had never really put together an album from his photos, but had taken the unusual step of trying to document almost everything in his collection. His work provided me a great amount of information about the photos, but it also resulted in some damage to those same photos he was trying to protect. Take a good look at this photo, calculate the number of errors you can spot and then we can discuss it next.

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  1. Rubber Bands were used to group the photos together. This is great, except that the rubber band is a petroleum based product which will degrade over time. After several years, they are no longer flexible and often will discolor the item they are there to secure.
  2. Paper Clips often leave their indention on photos and cause them to warp. In humid climates, such as the Gulf Coast, where my family is from, paper clips are known to rust as well.
  3. Post-it Notes have glue and while it isn’t especially sticky imagine how they might deteriorate over the course of several decades in this condition. The glue would interact with the face of the photo below it and discolor or strip off the top layer of part of the image below. Instead of Post-its I made notes on blank 4×6 photo paper  that had come with my printer so that I didn’t have to touch the originals.
  4. The Post-its are two errors in one. What isn’t apparent from the picture is that he wrote his notes on the Post-it Notes while they were on top of the photo. This left an indention with the words he had written on the photo below. While I’m on the topic, lots of well meaning people will circle someone’s face in a photo with a large group of people, or write other information somewhere on the photo on the front, back or in the margins. This is something else you will want to avoid. It is very easy to damage the image this way and the ink also has a long term impact on the photos longevity. Instead of ink, use only a light pencil and better yet, do that on a secondary image that accompanies the original, so you don’t impact your source photo.
  5. Ziploc Bags are also a Petroleum based product and the chemicals used in the creation aren’t of Archival Quality.
  6. Paper Envelopes contain wood pulp and glue, which aren’t of Archival quality. While the paper decomposes at a different rate than the photos themselves, it can disfigure the items which you hold so dearly. The same is true of most Cardboard products and you will want to take precautions to only use Archival Quality boxes with no Wood Pulp.

As I scanned the photos, I removed and discarded all the 6 items listed above and transferred that information into the tags (aka Metadata that accompanies every file). Once scanned I maintained the organization using the blank photo paper as dividers in a modern Archival photo box and place them on a high shelf inside the house in an area that receives little light.

Fire and Floods can have a devastating effect and although it may be tempting to store these photos in a Fire Proof Safe, please do NOT! Temperature and humidity control is very important and the safe tends to hold in moisture which damaged the items I was trying to preserve by leaving them with Mold. If you live in a flood prone area, seek a location on higher ground, but not in an Attic or Garage. They must be stored in a climate controlled environment.

scansnapTo scan the photos, I used my handy Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500, which isn’t cheap, but can be found on Amazon for about $400. It is about the size of a football and is also a fantastic tool to digitize your entire office and remove all those old file cabinets. I have already scanned over 10,000 pages with this scanner in the year I have owned it and it is a joy to work with. Depending on the size of your project you may not need such a beefy scanner, but for the work I do with the Babb Family Association, it is essential.

When working with photos that have been in contact with those “Toxic” photo albums from the 60s and 70s, make sure to clean the scanner lens regularly and check quality of the scanned image constantly. At times, I had to stop and clean the lens after every 5-10 photos.

I’ll come back to these so called “Toxic Albums”, other types of albums and how to digitally recreate them in future posts. I will also cover how to share those photos once you have them digitized? The last step in this process is about how to share them with your loved ones and perhaps your family too!

Shoals Marine Laboratory (Library/Shirts)

Thanks to one of our members, I’m ordering some new replacement t-shirts for the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) on Appledore Island. As anyone who has been on a Reunion with me knows, I buy a T-shirt everywhere I go! I’ve got a shirt that I’ve worn out after all these year and am in need of several sturdy replacements. I wanted to share the information so that others who were interested could purchase their own.

Additionally, I am donating copies of the first 5 volumes of Babb Unabridged book series to their library so that those who brave the journey to his island and have questions about Phillip Babb are able to have them answered. These are the volumes that pertain to Phillip and his descendants.

 


T-Shirts:

You can review the key shirts available for sale here.

The items pictured on the site are as follows:

  • Navy blue 50th anniversary t-shirt, front and back pictures included
  • Bright blue v-neck t-shirt with squids and the SML logo on the sleeve
  • Grey t-shirt with SML logo with darker hems at the neck and sleeves
  • Light grey JB Heiser t-shirt, front and back pictures included
  • Blue t-shirt with a map of Appledore on the back
  • Light grey long-sleeved shirt with a whale, front and back pictures included
  • Blue long-sleeved 50th anniversary shirt, front and back pictures included

 

Not pictured on the website, but available is a heather-grey hoodie with the SML logo on the chest—the same one that is on the Appledore map shirt. The hoodie is a one-piece sweatshirt (no zipper) with pockets in the front and a very soft interior lining. The hoodie is $45, the long-sleeved shirts are $28, and the t-shirts are $22, with $5 for shipping. Please contact Samantha Claussen via email to confirm availability of the sizes you need before sending money. 

Samantha Claussen (Samantha.claussen@unh.edu)
School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering
Shoals Marine Laboratory
Morse Hall, Suite 113
8 College Road
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: 603.862.2959

Kroger Babb (1-2-2-1-3-2-2-2-7-1): Mom and Dad-Movie Advertisement

Kroger Babb is probably the second most infamous Babb of all time (behind Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals). But one thing is for sure, he made a lot more money along the way.

In a time of tight censorship he was able to make some of the most provocative movies of his time. His flair for stirring up excitement and controversy show he is a true member of our family.

His genre has come to be known as Sexploitation. He would disguise suggestive content under the heading of an educational/hygiene movie. This was something that the Censors would allow a much greater amount of latitude because it was “educational.” Of course, by today’s standards, these films could be on network television during the family hour and not even raise an eyebrow. They are not commonly circulated, because they are simply terrible movies. I’ve not had the opportunity to locate this movie, but I’ve seen a good number of his films and they are unremarkable. But his advertising was top notch!

Kroger is known as the King of the Roadshow! He would produce a movie and take it from town to town renting out movie houses to sell out show after show. Mom and Dad is his greatest example of this. He is alleged to have sold more tickets than the original Star Wars movie over the course of a dozen years that he toured this movie. I’ve yet to see the movie itself, but it tells a cautionary tale of a Married couple that engage in unsafe sex and end up having a baby. It shows the live birth of twins.

Kroger would have separate screenings for men and women and bring in Sex Experts to discuss intimate issues in a question and answer session. Then he would sell pamphlets to the audience. I have some of those, but they are lengthy and scanning them will take some extra effort. So, those are for a future day.

In today’s example, we have an item that he would circulate around town in advance of his theater opening. It is designed to look like a newspaper, but is purely an advertisement for the film.

Note: Full size images are available by clicking on the pictures below.

Finding Reason! (1-2-2-2-5-12)

Finding Reason! (1-2-2-2-5-12)

In these times of so many nonsensical things it is so great to bring in some Reason!

I’m talking about Reason Smith Babb, who’s ancestry was lost. Thanks to a query by one of our members and some detailed research it has now been found and verified!

I’ve never been able to sort out the ancestry of Reason Smith Babb, because I only had the name Rees from the early records. One of his descendants provided me with his full name and the context that he went by Rees. Having his full name allowed me to compare and add context to his life.

I found that he married twice, first to Achsah C. Dye in 1856 and next in 1876 to Hattie Marinda (McCowan) Preston, who was the widow of Peter H. Preston. Achsah had also passed by this time, so Reason found his new meaning with Hattie and they were married through the remainder of their long lives into their late 80s.

They were living together in the 1910 Census, which provided me with initial details about their proper age and birth locations.

Note: You can click on any one of the images to see it in full size.

1910 Census Rees S Babb

I also came across a marriage record for his first wife Achsiah C. Dye, which gave me her last name. This led me to a FindaGrave entry for Achsiah, which mentions him on her headstone. The entry mentions that she went by the nickname Axie.

Achsiah C. (Dye) Babb-HS

This set me off on a long string of updating descendants and eventually brought me to the members parents and back to Reason’s wife Harriet in a City Directory in 1916. This lead me to a variety of other census records for Reece (Reason) under spelling variations of his name. But nothing that connects me to his

US City Directories, 1822-1995 - Harriet Marinda McCowan

I then turned my attention to other possible naming variations of Reece in my database. There are two possibilities, Reece B. Babb (1828-1903) that has easily identifiable paper trail and different birth/death dates. I quickly eliminate him.

The other possibility is Reese Babb (born 1841 in Hampshire, VA to Archibald Babb). I’ve lost track of him after the 1850 Census so he is a good possible match. His father’s birthplace in Virginia (in a portion of the state that was later to become West Virginia) is correct and his mother Margaret Stone has a limited paper trail as she died in 1851, shortly after the US started keeping an every name Census in 1850. That record states that she is from Virginia, which isn’t a match with the 1910 Census which shows her to be from Maryland, but is a match with the 1900 Census that shows she is from Virginia. The birthdate is a little different, but this is my only solid lead, so I pursue it.

As I push further into his records, I find an easily traceable paper trail of his move to Marion, Missouri which is where Archibald and Margaret died. In 1860 he is living with what is apparently Margaret’s family. So, he is not our match either.

We appear to have a brand new Reason on our hands. But while searching I notice something else. There are only 5 total Reese’s and the one Reason in all of the tree. Without exception, they all descend from one common ancestor (1-2-2-2-4) which is Abner Babb (1768-1815) of Winchester, Frederick, Virginia. Abner has 172 descendants listed in the tree and our Reason is a probable descendant of one of them.

Reasoning that Reason must be associated with this lineage I compare and for a variety of reasons I eventually eliminate all of Abner’s descendants from being the possible father. But our member noticed something that I hadn’t. Abner’s brother Peter Babb Jr. (1-2-2-2-5) had a son listed Rees listed in his will. I looked for the will, but did not find it in Jean A. Sargent’s records. There was mysteriously little information about him. I looked back and found that he was included in the 2nd and 3rd Editions of Jean’s book Babb Families of America. I had made an improper connection back in 2006 to a Presley Babb that accidentally obscured Rees from the tree. Fortunately, I keep notes on such things and was able to correct my mistake.

We found the Estate Records of Peter Babb in Belmont County, OH and located the entry that mentions Rees in the will. He is apparently the youngest son of Peter (1-2-2-2-5) and was a mere 4 year’s old at the time of Peter’s death. Reason moved to Washington County, OH and started a new life in his 20s. This is why the paper trail is so lacking. I’ve never been able to locate him in the 1850 Census which might have short circuited this whole process. In 1856 we find him in Marietta, Washington, Ohio with Achsah.

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 - Reason Smith Babb

From there I can easily pickup the trail and come up with more interesting documentation such as his Civil War Veteran Census record in 1890 and his marriage documents for Harriett. But I’m still lacking that essential piece of information that draws a more permanent connection to the proper locations. Belmont County is about 70 miles from Washington County, but that in those times that is still somewhat of a distance.

Searching for that single document that helps me prove the link between Rees and Reason, I start searching up and down the members of the tree. I looked through records of Rees’ siblings and through the 100 or so pages of Peter’s estate records and found only scant evidence of his existence. It was a similar experience checking through Jean A. Sargent’s files and I found that even she doodled trying to figure out which Rees she was dealing with. She never figured it out and her books only contain a single note about him, that he is mentioned in his father’s will and disbursement records. After that he seemed to drop off the face of the earth and isn’t a match with the other 5 Rees/Reece Babbs listed in the tree.

With no luck finding that connection I start looking for more modern records of Reason’s children to see if one of those contains the needed information. For some reason, I started with his youngest son John Otis Babb and worked my way to the top of the list. I hadn’t found anything until I got to his first child Alonzo Reese Babb. Alonzo’s death certificate mentions his father, so I pulled it up and finally found what I had been searching for. It shows Alonzo’s father, Reese Babb as having been born in Bridgeport, Ohio. Not familiar with the city, I looked that up and found that it is in Belmont County, Ohio! I have finally found Reason at last and was able to fully prove his connection to Peter.

While repairing the tree, I came across another error of mine relating to an accidental crossover of records with Peter Babb (1-2-1-4) & Mary Beeson, which was cross referenced with Peter Babb (1-2-2-2) and Mary Bowen. I’ve untangled that and have also included an updated tree of Peter’s (1-2-2-2) descendants, this time with Reason!

Descendants of Peter Babb Jr.(1-2-2-2)

 

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Daisy Dell Babb history unveils new Babb Branch (1-2-1-4-2-1-1-1-4)

1-2-1-4-2-1-1=1-4. Daisy Dell Babb (circa 1910)Today I’ve been assisting one of our members in trying to unveil the mystery of her Ancestor Daisy Dell Babb who died in 1930. While researching her line I was able to connect her into the main tree of Phillip Babb of the Isles of Shoals. How I found and verified it was too complicated to try and explain here. But I wanted to share the line so that others could benefit from it’s inclusion.

Daisy is one of 6 children of George Francis & Alice (Searcy) Babb. George’s lineage is actually the one that was cut short in the tree, having only been identified as George Babb (a name which was too common to match as he aged and moved from the family home. But as I always say, climbing a tree is a very different task that coming down from one. With the pieces of her history that were known I am now able to describe a new branch.

George Francis Babb was the son of William Alfred & Julia Ann (McKeg) Babb and marks the second child of William’s known to have born children. There are likely others, but for today I wanted to share the descendants of William Alfred Babb (1825-1909) for all to see.

The full tree is available for your viewing here:

Descendants of William Alfred Babb

 

My Brave Little Boy

My Brave Little Boy 

 

Caesar

Caesar (2001-2017)

My Brave little boy, Caesar, passed from this earth this morning.

 

It was just on Monday that we learned that his recent weight gain was being fueled by a fast growing baseball sized tumor in his abdomen. It had appeared, as if out of nowhere over the last few weeks and seemed to grow in appearance daily. It had reached sufficient size that it was pressing on his stomach and was keeping him from being able to eat.

Eating was one of his favorite things in life. When he first found us leaving a News Year’s Eve party held by his now God Parents (Sean & Leslie), he was homeless and cold. David likes to say, Caesar wrapped me around his paw and said, let’s go! I unzipped my leather jacket and put this tiny 4 pound/4 month old kitten inside. He purred so loudly and we were immediately bound together.

He rode, in my jacket, most of the way home from Justin, TX to our place in North Dallas which is about an hour with only his head sticking out of the front. Just as in that first night, he has always been sweet, gentle and loving, with the most cheerful of dispositions, especially when he was getting fed.

Initially we had thought he was a girl pussycat and selected the name Josie. But the vet quickly corrected us and we moved on to the name Caesar. About a year later we named Caesar’s adopted little sister Josie in tribute to this moment.

 

file

This picture was taken a few months ago of Caesar laying on my desk and inside the picture is one from about 15 years ago of him laying on my 17″ monitor (remember those) at my desk.

 

Early on we realized that he was going to be a big cat as his paws started to grow and he quickly rocketed up to 20 pounds before we started controlling his portion sizes. He then settled back to about 17 pounds which he held for most of his life.

We put him on a limited diet of just 3 meals a day, which were administered at 8am, Noon and 5pm. He quickly learned this schedule and started to remind me when I was about to miss it. Every day as Noon and 5pm came, he would stand on my desk and start meowing so excitedly. When I’d look over at the clock it was almost always right on time, so we joked that he had learned to tell time.

At any time of day you could ask him “Are you hungry?” and he was sit up at attention and scream in excitement, then meow all the way to the bowl and until you put the food down in front of him. He never seemed to tire of hearing those words.

He was my constant editor for my Genealogical pursuits and listened patiently as I practiced all my presentations over these 16 years. He has been with me for roughly 1/3 of my life thus far and I don’t know how I’ll begin to live without him.

Caesar is preceded in death by his sister Josie who passed about 2.5 years ago and his brother Aristotle, who died in 2007. He is survived by his much younger adoptive brother Evan and his loving daddies. He would sleep on my desk all day and cuddle all day and slept on my pillow next to me most every night. That will be the hardest part for me. Going to bed without him and not having him there to wake me up by licking my forehead when I’m oversleeping.

I’ll miss you sweet kitty!

Your Daddy Dan