Monday, 16 July 2012

Skype Your Family History

About the time I began Jax Trax, just before we went overseas, I connected up on Skype and talked my Dad through setting up too. Having heard horror stories of global roaming charges blowing out I thought this the best way to keep in touch, and keep an eye on them.
Since coming home I have found a few unforeseen benefits:

Mum doesn’t like computers – Dad says she’s scared the mouse might run up her skirt! She would barely even look at an emailed photo of a grandchild without Dad printing it out.
Benefit 1: Since skype, she now sits in front of the computer – because she can see me. She even sits long enough to read my blog and look at the photos, although I think she still gets Dad to scroll down for her. Who knows what she will do next!

One of the gems Mum showed me on skype
3 generations: Mum as a baby with
her mother and grandmother (father behind)
Now I am writing some genealogy blogs, she is even more interested. So much so that she has got out her old photo albums, and boxes (yes, shock, horror, boxes!) chock full of photos to show me over skype. I have quite a few old family photos that Dad has scanned in over the years and knew there were more, but not how many more!
Benefit 2: Finding out how many photos of ancestors your mother really has, while she still has the memory to tell you who they are.
Benefit 3: Being able to get the randomly stored photos digitised before they fade (any more).

Some of the photos are of family groups where we haven’t always known who they all were.
Benefit 4: Now with me seeing the photo (held up to the computer camera), or having a copy (scanned and emailed by Dad), I can open my iFamily program and look at ages and relationships to jog Mum’s memory – all as we talk over skype. We can both see the same thing at the same time without being in the same room.

This is more important when your family live long distances from each other. I can’t spend as much time with them as I would like, and when I do there are always so many other things to talk about. This way, Mum can have a few photos ready to show each time we talk – maybe we’ll even get through them all – or at least more than we could before.

Yesterday, we identified everyone in this photo, even the
children - while on skype we talked, zoomed in, and looked at
ages from the genealogy program. It's Mum's grandfather on the
left with his mother next to him, his sisters, one of their toddlers,
and his brother's son (brother not in the photo). Taken c1895

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