What would be a great family history gift?
July 25, 2006 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Now that I've scanned all my family photos and videotaped every living ancestor, what should I do with it?

I'd like to make some "family history" gifts for Christmas this year.

I'm using a Macbook. All of the pictures are in iPhoto tagged with the person and the event and all of the videos are on mini-dv tapes.

Right now I'm thinking iPhoto book or maybe a DVD.

Does anyone have a better idea? I'd like it to be meaningful and I've got a feeling a slideshow just won't cut it.
posted by fellion to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
archive on gold dvd...lasts 100 yeras.

then make a slideshow
posted by benji at 9:07 AM on July 25, 2006

First, congratulate yourself for doing something wonderful. Not enough people take such a concern or interest in family history. Kudos.

Second, how much text does an iPhoto book allow? The site was rather ambiguous. If enough, I'd suggest writing up short bios of the folks in the pictures, perhaps with quotes from their video tapings. Shine a light on their lives and experiences so its something more than simply, "Here's Aunt Gertrude. She was born in 1925 and lives in Miami, Florida."

I believe, or at least hope, that those who will treasure your work the most may not yet be born yet.
posted by Atreides at 9:07 AM on July 25, 2006

You need a montage (montage)

I think you could do wonders with a multi-part gift, of a coffee-table book, and a dvd with (perhaps) short, musical slideshows.

It's okay to have a longer version that the people will treasure, but a four or five minute version is perfect for showing to friends, without boring them at all.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:20 AM on July 25, 2006

Interactive photo/video family tree?
Make a family tree as far back as you can, then include photos or hyperlink to videos for as many of the family members as possible.
posted by leapingsheep at 9:22 AM on July 25, 2006

Best answer: Whatever you do, see if some local historical society will take a copy as well. A hundred years from now, decades after your ungrateful kids disposed of all your research at an estate sale, some Fellion ancestor not yet born is going to be doing family history. And will thank you.
posted by LarryC at 9:24 AM on July 25, 2006

Best answer: Well, on a much smaller scale, at the conclusion of my home movie DVD, I'm planning to include a single "page" bio, including current still photo, of each family member. The text portion would look something like this:

Earl Smith

Born: March 17, 1950 Las Vegas, NV
Parents: Fred and Ethel (Jones) Smith
Spouse(s): June (Wilson) Smith, Debra (Carson) Smith
Children: Dave, Wendy, Beth
Grandchildren: Zack, Britney, Chase

I got the idea after seeing some very old home movies shot by my grandfather in (we think) the early to mid sixties. Think Zapruder film in black and white. They were neat to look at, but forty years after the film was shot, no one was sure who exactly all these people were. That guy standing in the kitchen... is that Uncle Billy? That baby... is that Aunt Sheila or Cousin Delbert?

With the biographical info included, each audience member can figure out not only who these people on the screen are, but exactly how he or she is related to each of them.

In addition, when each person first appears in the course of the film, I introduce them to the audience with a freeze frame and a subtitle thingy stating their name.

Because it would also be nice to know where the video was shot, what special occasion prompted the videography, what all these people are doing, and so forth, I'm also including some text narration. These are just very simple "titles"; white text on a black background. They're short and to the point with one appearing before each segment. "On June 28, 2002, the Smith family held their semi-annual reunion and chili cook off." That sort of thing. And of course it preceeds the video I shot at the reunion. Then, when I'm ready to move on to the video shot at the restaurant or at the hotel, I insert another title. And so on.
posted by Clay201 at 9:28 AM on July 25, 2006 [3 favorites]

LarryC has a wonderful idea.

Good for you, fellion, for taking on this project and seeing it to completion. Generations to come will appreciate your efforts.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 9:33 AM on July 25, 2006

Print a copy and give it to the local library's archives. If you really want to make it usefull, talk with the archivist or cataloguer to include as much useful and relevent metadata as possible.
posted by jmgorman at 9:34 AM on July 25, 2006

If you haven't done so already, you could document your family's history with a product like FamilyTreeMaker. Check out Home Movie Depot, too.
posted by NYCinephile at 9:36 AM on July 25, 2006

Did any interesting stories emerge from your interviews? In the long term, you might want to write a book.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:57 AM on July 25, 2006

I made one a few years ago...

DVD with menus to bios, photos and videos. I had new video and captured old 8mm fims.

The DVD menu for bios linked to information about each person. The Photograph menu linked to photographs and the videos (obviously) linked to all of the videos.

I tried to cross link the menus. If you were looking at videos for a person, for example, there where menu links to that persons bio and photos.

We gave them away at the holidays to everyone in the family.

Not the best tool, but I did it in Pinnacle.


Just a personal note. My wife and I met when we lived in two different cities. We were surprised to hear that her family and mine lived on the same street when our parents were kids. My mother is in her family's home videos. Her aunt had a birthday party (as a kid) on my grand mothers front porch, etc. Small world...
posted by Leenie at 10:22 AM on July 25, 2006

You might try to get some of your results archived on places like archive.org or other sites dedicated to keeping long-term archives of human history.
posted by wackybrit at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2006

Make a coffee table book using blurb.
10% discounts if you buy 25 or more at once.
posted by ThePants at 10:38 AM on July 25, 2006

If cost isn't prohibitive, do a hardcopy version in addition to DVD. Books never go obsolete. This won't help with the videos, but get the photos on (acid-free) paper.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:21 PM on July 25, 2006

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