Frustrated Working With Your Family Photos? Here’s What To Do.

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Have you ever been working on your photos or family history and felt so frustrated trying to do something that you were almost in tears and finally decided to just give up? I can relate because recently I had a situation just like that.


In this post I’ll talk about what to do when you get frustrated and can’t figure something out and also about an opportunity coming up to make 2020 the year you finally make it through those boxes of photos!

My Frustrating Morning

I’m a morning person so one morning recently I woke up and even though it was still dark I felt refreshed and ready to start my day. My alarm hadn’t gone off yet so I looked at my phone and was shocked to see it was only 1:48 in the morning. I get up early, but not THAT early so I tried to get back to sleep but after an hour I said, “Forget it—I’m wide awake. I might as well get up and do some scanning.

In my last post I showed you how to turn papers or documents  into PDFs that recognize type and turn it into text you can copy and paste. It was the same scanner I was planning to use that morning, but do you think I could get it to work?

The scanning program was open on my computer, I had a document ready to scan, but when I pushed the blue button nothing happened. So I kept trying and trying and it just wouldn’t work. I knew my husband Charlie could probably fix it but he was asleep because it was still only about 3:00 a.m.

But I wanted to scan NOW!

So I kept trying and got more and more frustrated and finally, after wasting a bunch of time I gave up and said, “I’ve had it. I just have to wait until Charlie gets up.”

pushing scanner button

As soon as Charlie got up I told him my dilemma and he dutifully followed me to my office to rescue me. He came over to my computer and scanner and looked it over and then he reached behind my computer and picked up a cord and plugged it into my computer.

That’s when I had my head slapping moment where I realized I hadn’t actually plugged the scanner into my computer.

Oh, my gosh! Did I ever feel silly! But I was actually more grateful than embarrassed.

How long would it have taken me to figure that out? Eventually, yes, I would have figured it out, but now I didn’t have to waste any more time and I could get right to scanning.

So what does this have to do with you?

If you’re reading this blog post it’s probably because you care about your family photos, but as every family historian knows, dealing with them can sometimes be as frustrating as my experience this morning where you hit a wall, and you try to get through it or over it or around it and nothing is working.

What To Do When You Get Frustrated

Let me suggest 3 possibilities:

1. You can keep slogging and given enough time and effort you may eventually figure it out, but if it’s too frustrating and taking too long, it’s also possible you may simply give up.

In Disney movies there’s always a Hero who has a quest. Along the way the Hero encounters problems that have to be solved to be successful reaching that quest. Usually, somewhere in the movie the Hero wants to give up or actually decides to give up and all of us watching are saying, “No, no! You can’t give up! You’ve gotta keep going!” We’re rooting for them, right?

Snow White with apple

When it comes to our boxes of family photos you and I are the Hero on a journey.

Some of us were born for this. I’ve considered myself the family historian since I got a diary as a Christmas gift at age 10.

Some of us, though, were dragged into the role of family by default. We were the ones who inherited the boxes of photos from both sides of the family. But either way, all of us, myself included, at one time or another have wanted to say, “I give up! This is too hard! I’m so frustrated!”

And we simply have a choice to keep trying or throw in the towel.

2. A second option when you get frustrated is to ask for help. Find someone who’s already done it or has a skill you don’t have and ask for help for the specific thing you’re struggling with.

A great place to do this is the FamilyHistoryHero Facebook page. I’m there to help you and so are other family historians just like you. Together we represent a lot of wisdom and knowledge from having been there and done it! So before you get too frustrated, go to the Family History Hero Facebook page and ask for help! And while you’re there I invite you to Like the page and Follow it!

3. And finally, consider using a Guide. In Disney movies there’s always a Guide somewhere along the way who gives the Hero directions or wisdom or support.

Because here’s the problem—sometimes you don’t even know what to ask.

Case in point: After Charlie helped me with my scanner he watched me set up the next scan and then very nicely asked me a question. He said, “Are you open to me teaching you a shortcut for naming your scans?”

“Well, sure!”

So he showed me.

“What?! I’ve been doing it the hard way all this time—using a more complicated method and taking twice as long? Who knew?!!”

That’s what a Guide can do for you. For family history heroes like you, your guide can be a class or a challenge.

Challenge Coming For 2020!

We have a new year coming up—and not just any new year. It’s a new decade. So I thought it would be appropriate to have a challenge for all of you Family History Heroes!

I’ll be telling you more about it soon and you can make a choice whether you want to keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing or whether you want to launch into the new year with the skill and motivation to deal with all your boxes of photos in one year and make 2020 the year you actually get it DONE!

Family History Heroes-2020

Stay tuned for more information about the challenge!

To get the latest updates, be sure to sign up for Family History Hero News.


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