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Written by Connie Jelkin

It sounded like a good idea at the time.

Have you ever uttered those words? It does not always lead to good things, at least for me.

IMG_20130614_181651_723I have a real love of pictures. I take them all the time of every family event that comes around! I have an album (plus) for every year I have been married to the most patient man alive!!

I have also spent a lot of time over the years printing photos (remember sending in the film roll and waiting for the pictures to arrive??), cropping, finding books, laying out pictures all over the dining room table, organizing and the story goes on.

Well, my extended family decided it was time to have a cousin reunion in May and my mind went right to creating a history book of family pictures. How hard could it be?? Right!!

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The good news is that I have moved off the Dining room table and now put all of my pictures together using the computer and a place called Shutterfly. They allow, I’d say encourage, me to upload my pictures and then create books, calendars, coffee mugs, etc. I’m sure you have seen the service at places like WalMart and Walgreens. 

So all I need to do is have family members send me a few photos, I will upload them, put them in order and Viola!! We will have a family book!! Oh the innocent. . . . .

First of all, some pictures were sent to me via snail mail so I had to scan them in. No problem. Well some problem, note to others, always scan pictures in at a high resolution. The second try worked very well.

IMG_20130614_182048_229Next issue . . . .way more photos than I could use. Where to cut off the generations for the first book and think about the next book? It really was harder than you think.

And then, to my surprise and delight, some of the stories behind the photos began to come in. Who knew my family had their own Downton Abby!! Our family stories are just as wild and interesting as any I have seen on TV. Next note to self, spend more time talking to the older relatives at those reunions. The stories they can share are better than anything you will see on the tube.

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Shutterfly let me scan in old certificates of marriage and births, old recipes that were hand written and even a family history that Grandma had recorded. 

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As a side note, Shutterfly is amazing to work with! My first book was sent to my cousin to proof read. She and her husband sent back 24 pages of typos that I spend 2 hours correcting in the book. I then ordered three copies and when they came to the house no corrections were in the printed book!! Talk about heartbreak and despair. But one phone call to Shutterfly and I had a code to use to make the changes and re-order!! I can not tell you what a smile that put on my face!!

IMG_20130614_182148_821The finished product ended up being a gift to myself. The work was overwhelming and sometimes I worried just how much I had taken on, but now I have this precious family history book that I continue to page through.

It really was a good idea.

**Editor’s Note:  After Connie showed this book to her family, they were so impressed they ordered copies for themselves. It has been a hit for everyone she’s shown. Also, family members are talking about printing the book and donating it to their local library as local history.

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Connie Jelkin

I have been a Librarian for over 25 years in both the public library and now in the school system. I really feel that it is important to teach kids the love of books and reading. That being said, I love going to all kinds of movies and plays with my husband, Jim. Everyone says that he is a very patient man.

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