I am sure you have heard the old saying a picture is worth 1000 words. According to Wikipedia, “A picture is worth a thousand words is an English language–idiom. It refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single picture, this picture conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does.”
The saying has been around for at least the last 100 years and is a part of our culture. The saying is around because its meaning holds true today. Many things can be best described by a picture because people are visual by nature and a picture shows so much more than words could ever convey.
One of my favorite movies is Ever After and in that movie is a line that goes “a lady had many secrets. I merely painted one of them.” It was spoken by Da Vinci, the great painter who painted the Mona Lisa. I like this line because it reflects on the saying about pictures being worth 1000 words. As Henry says in the movie, “she laughs at me sir. As if she knows something I do not.”
Missed The First 2 Steps?
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- Step #1 – My Family tree – How To Complete Your Family Tree
- Genealogy Oral History Questions – Step #2 To Beginning Your Family History Research
The Power Of Photos
Growing up I always wondered why people said “a picture is worth 1000 words.” I couldn’t see beyond the fact that a photo is just a picture and says nothing, or so I thought. Over time I have come to realize that a picture does actually tell a story. You can see the emotions people have in pictures and can imagine the story behind them.
Photography has become a hobby of mine and the part of photography I love is taking pictures of people by surprise. I love seeing the raw emotion from that surprise picture that shows the true emotion felt by the subject. I sometimes take twenty to thirty photos of the same person until I capture that essence I am looking for.
I once took a photo at a relative’s wedding that made me contemplate the power of photos. My husband and I had gotten thereafter most people had arrived so we were in the back of the room. I used my zoom on a really good quality digital camera and caught a picture of the bride and groom where the groom did not look happy, but the bride was blushing. You could really feel her happiness. I remember telling my husband that I didn’t think the groom was happy about the wedding.
At the reception afterwards of course there were toasts and a lot of stories of the two meeting in college and how they were “meant to be.” I let it go, but the picture always got to me because I didn’t see how someone could look so unhappy at their own wedding. A year, year-and-a-half later the two were separated and divorced. I now look back and think I was right all along, the groom really wasn’t happy and I caught that moment on camera and saw that raw emotion.
Pictures can truly speak louder than words…you just have to learn how to listen.
Photos, A Treasure Trove Of Information
You are probably wondering why I am talking about photos so much on a genealogy website and honestly I would probably wonder the same thing if I were you. Photos are actually a great resource for the genealogist…particularly old family photos. They are a treasure trove of information. You get a real glimpse of your ancestors from old family photos and family photo albums are a great place to find them.
I will often visit my mother and dig dig dig through her old photos! I always find new and interesting things each and every time I do. There are all sorts of things in there besides photos like death notices, old newspaper clippings, mementos from family events and more. (Click here to read about a great way to store photos, family mementos and your family history research!) But the photos I find most intriguing. Staring into the faces I see if I can figure out who they are and what their story is.
It is amazing how relatives look so much alike between generations. It is intriguing how each generation follows a similar pattern and from this you can glean a lot of information for your research. The best part though is what you can actually find from photos.
Pictures Are Worth 1000 Words
Pictures are worth 100 words because of what you can glean from a single look. A glimpse at the soul of the person in the picture, a sense of who he/she is and where he/she came from and a bit of what the person’s life is like.
I recently was given a photo of some people from my mom and all she could tell me was that they were related somehow. There were names on the photo so I had first and last names and no other information. Most of my family is in Michigan so I took a wild guess and did a broad search for the surname in Michigan and within a few minutes I had found the two older people in the databases.
Having the picture helped narrow down possibilities because there are so many people out there doing genealogy research for their families that the chances are pretty great someone is researching someone within your line. Having the picture helps you connect the dots. Genealogy is like a puzzle where you have to put one piece together at a time.
Take Your Own Scavenger Hunt And See What You Dig UP
For many years now I have wanted to dig into my grandmother’s old family photos. I recently discovered her pictures in a box of my stuff mixed with my mother’s stuff. I have my mother’s stuff because my parents lived with me for a while and we are still sorting through some items.
Anyways, I found my grandmother’s pictures and spent a good long while digging through them and seeing what secrets I could unlock from them. I actually found a lot more than just pictures like my grandparents marriage license, a loan for a car my grandpa co-signed with my uncle and the total loan was for $250, old army paperwork from when my grandfather was enlisted and more. It is always amazing what information you can find when you are looking!
Take your own scavenger hunt through family photo albums, drawers, boxes or wherever your old family photos are stored and dig dig dig through them all to see what you turn up! I have found posting the pictures on social media like Facebook to be particularly fascinating because relatives see them and make comments. Sometimes the comments are lucrative as far as providing a snippet of family history is concerned. If all else fails, it will be some quality time spent with family members taking a road down memory lane.
Thank you for reading my post. I hope you have enjoyed it and would love to hear your comments and/or questions. Please like and share the post if you found it useful.