We all know a picture is worth a thousand words, but hearing the details of a photo or an event in the words of our ancestor is priceless. Audible memories are not something we currently offer in photo books, but I recently learned about a great on-line service helping people preserve their audible memories; so, I wanted to share the information to those interested in passing down another form of storytelling. It’s Saving Memories Forever. They were the Grand Prize Winners of Developer’s Challenge Award at RootsTech (A Family History and Genealogy Conference.)
Saving Memories Forever business is unique (like Photo Nanny) and something I wanted to learn more about once I heard of the service. The task of saving memories for loved ones to pass down through the years is something we all appreciate, but it’s a task nonetheless which requires a great deal of time and care. Saving Memories Forever is a great resource for people to accomplish the task easily, and it’s super exciting.
The website www.savingmemoriesforever.com is easy to navigate, and the cost for the service is very reasonable. (FREE or currently just $40/year for a premium membership.) When looking at the site and seeing what they’re providing for these minimal fees, I’m amazed and think it’s something everyone can afford.
It’s obvious they care about helping people tell their stories as much as we do. They have easy to follow tutorials on how the website works and offer great suggestions for questions you can pose to various family members to gain insights about their lives for future generations.
One of the things I like best about the site is the fact that with a paid membership you and your family can all have access to the memories and can download (this is the key) the MP3 audio files and/or photos and video to local hard drives, so you don’t have all your eggs in one on-line basket without the safety of having them locally stored as well. This is a huge plus as far as I’m concerned. Cloud storage of photos, video and audio are handy and convenient, but it’s best to have local backups of all things that matter, and they make that easily available. For non-paid subscribers, they offer this MP3 download option for a minimal fee if they want to back up everything at one time, but still don’t want to opt in for an annual membership. But I’d probably recommend the annual subscription simply because their fees are so reasonable and you can back up periodically throughout the process.
In a nutshell, they’re doing for audio storytelling what we’re doing for photo storytelling. And they suggest the option of including digital photos as well, so you can see and hear what someone is talking about.
They talk on the website about options for people scanning their own slides and photos and offer resources for people accomplishing those tasks on their own or hiring professionals to help with those tasks. One of the things I didn’t see mentioned is photo album scanning, and that’s something I think many people might think is impossible to accomplish. It is difficult to accomplish on personal scanners most people have in their homes, but using large professional scanners, the pages can be preserved as they were created.
For “mass market” companies providing scanning services, loose pictures are easy to handle, but scanning photo album pages is a custom service they don’t provide. Also, lower cost scanning services often use Digital ICE to make images appear less dusty and to hide any blemishes. I will write more about this in a separate blog, but suffice it to say, the way they “hide” blemishes is by creating a minor blur to each scan. So, if you’re scanning a scrapbook page to preserve the captions, you certainly don’t want the captions to be blurred. Be sure to inquire if Digital ICE will be used before deciding to use any service.
Scanning album pages is tedious and not something that can be done by sending items through a feeder. Photo Nanny scans full pages with white-glove flatbed scanning services, and we find it’s often the best way to go for capturing the time an effort our ancestors spent on passing down the family legacy. The old photo albums remain intact as we preserve the historical memories by the page. And they’re scanned in a way which any individual photo can be cropped out, enlarged, and printed for an individual family member. So, it’s the best of all worlds – saving the historical captioning as well as the images themselves.
All this said, I want to note that the Saving Memories Forever site offers a mobile app for helping record and manage your family memories in a way that is hard to accomplish any other way. The site is constantly being updated to keep up with technology, but most of all they have the same level of dedication to memory preservation as we do. So, for those who have the goal of preserving audio as well as visual memories, I’d recommend checking out their services and giving it a try. Even if you just work on preserving your current lives for the next generation, getting started today is a step in the right direction!