Preserving Memories: My Journey in Archiving Family Photos

Preserving Memories: My Journey in Archiving Family Photos

Nostalgia has been my favorite feeling, especially since having my daughter, Rhema. I didn’t appreciate all of the things my mom saved from my childhood until she pulled out quilts from my childhood nursery, toys I’ve played with, and photos that showed how much Rhema looks like me.

I know not everyone feels the same about archiving family history or childhood memories, but I felt overwhelmingly loved that my mom kept everything that she did. It was my favorite thing to do when I was pregnant and made the time of nesting that much more precious.

Did you know there is research that having family photos in a home for children to see gives each child high self-esteem? In the podcast “the MomForce” Dr. Trisha Weeks talk about the relationship between printed photos and family connection and the research that supports it.

Our study (comprised of focus groups and over 15,000 survey respondents!) illustrated how physical photographs build a sense of identity, increase self-esteem, lower behavioral issues, and enhance the connection between family. Looking at photos and conversing about the events captured is a shared experience – something you simply can’t gain by scrolling through pictures on your phone by yourself. Documenting our family’s story makes us feel like good moms… and it turns out we really are doing good for our children. It’s science!”

– Dr. Trisha Weeks

Other findings in research done by HP and Chatbooks through a survey of 15,591 families include:

  • 76% agreed that they connect more as a family when looking at printed photos
  • 2.5x more people agree that looking at printed photos is a shared experience vs. looking at digital photos
  • 91% said that their children love looking at and talking about photos of themselves
  • 78% said that their child like to look at photos and talk about them together.
  • 62% agreed that their child’s self-esteem increases when looking at printed photos of their family. 32% were neutral and only 4% disagreed.
  • 75% said that family photos give their child a stronger sense of their own identity.
  • 83% of parents report that their children experience additional positive benefits from looking at printed photos

Family photos also help parents feel connected and healthier.

  • 68% of moms said that looking at photos of my family makes me feel like I am doing a good job as a parent
  • 53% said that they feel softer and more forgiving towards their children after looking at printed photos with their children.
  • 53% said they feel more realized as a parent after looking at printed photos with their children.
  • 91% said that printed photos enhance memory for parents and children.

This data made my heart happy as a therapist, a mom, a wife, and a daughter. It made me think about the times my siblings and cousins and I would walk down my grandma’s hallway and look at pictures from her early days of being a professional dancer, her wedding photos, and photos of my mom as a child. We could have stared at those photos for hours.

Seeing family photos can create a sense of belonging for a child. They provide a visual history of their family, helping them understand their roots and the journeys of their parents and grandparents. Photos can also capture special moments, milestones, and events that the child was a part of, reaffirming their place and role within the family. Moreover, it can help children see their growth and development over the years, fostering a sense of continuity and progression. Lastly, family photos can also serve as a form of comfort and security, reminding children of their loved ones’ faces and the love they share.

Beyond these, family photos can also establish a sense of tradition and history. By seeing their relatives, children get a sense of the continuity of their lineage and feel connected to people they might not have met. They can see the physical resemblances and shared characteristics that run in the family, which can be a powerful reminder of their roots and identity.

Moreover, family photos can be a tool for storytelling. Parents can use them to share stories from their own childhood or about relatives who live far away or are no longer with them. This not only helps children to know their family better but also fosters a sense of empathy and understanding towards others’ experiences and perspectives.

Lastly, participating in the process of taking and preserving family photos can itself be a bonding experience. The act of gathering for a photo, saying cheese together, or even sorting through old photos, can create shared memories and strengthen the family bond. It’s a fun and interactive way to involve children in preserving their family history.

In conclusion, family photos are more than just images; they are connections to the past, present, and future, a visual record of a family’s journey, and a medium to express love, connection, and belonging.

Because of how special that experience was for me, I want to do the same for my children. I spent a lot of time watching vlogs, reading blogs, and scrolling on Pinterest to see what others do to document childhood photos. That was my first project of 2024. How do I document Rhema’s childhood? Do I keep everything digitally? Do I put all of my photos in a photo book? Or do I print out individual photos to put in an album?

These are questions I asked myself as I sought to create a system that may help me stay organized when as our family grows. This is what I came up with so far.

Here are the three steps I am taking every year in order to stay on top of documenting family photos:
  1. My photos from my phone is stored on my Google photo account. I love how easy the app is to use. Anytime my phone runs out of storage (which happens often) I clean out my photos. I have used Google Photos for five years now and it has been working well for us. I am thankful I have our early years of marriage on this account and in one place. This makes printing out individual photos once a year less overwhelming.
  2. Next, I print out 300 individual photos per year to put into the family photo album of the year. I decided to print out the photos just like my mom did. I want my kids to have individual photos to take out of the album and do what they’d like with each photo. I am going to use this specific album each year for printing out individual photos. When we have more kids I will probing out more copies of one photo so that each kid can take that photo for their album someday. I love the linen look of this album and because it is not too wide, the album will fit on most bookshelves making it easy to store. I used the Google Photos option to print out the photos and I was super impressed by the quality. Throughout the year if I want an individual photo printed I can always use my Sprocket printer. I describe my Sprocket review in this post.
  3. Next, I want to have a Chatbook series printed out for each child. Chatbook has a fun toddler photo book option that you can create each month of your child’s first year. I have one going for Rhema. You can keep creating monthbooks for your child after their first year, but I think I will reassess after a year. This way my kids have photos of themselves in little books from the first year of their life. I may put together other photo books for special events but I don’t feel like I will do this often. When I do I will use either Chatbooks or Google Photos to create these photo books.

The above steps have been my process for archiving my family photos so far. I would love to share more of this process in the future and update as I go, but so far this is what I am doing. Let me know if you’ve done anything fun and helpful for archiving your family memories.

Subscribe for updates on how I am archiving my family videos and how I am displaying family photos in my home.

Thanks for stopping by, friend,


Gift Dad Memories this Father’s Day

Remember all the magic moments you spend together in a photo book.×628-Ad1.jpg
Hannah Lynn Miller
Hannah Lynn Miller

Hannah is a radio/podcast host, blogger, and mental health therapist who loves Jesus and fashion. Her work revolves around betrayal trauma and the eldest daughter population.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


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