How to Label Old Family Photos

Hey friend! Welcome back to another article! Today, we’re talking about how to label old photographs. As someone who uses old family photographs in my research, it makes my job 100% easier when someone has previously labeled the photos! So today, I am going to teach you how to label photos, what kind of writing utensils to use, and what kind of information you should write on the back photos to make future historian’s jobs easier. Let’s get started! 🙂

How to Label Old Photos

  1. Handle the images along the edges. There is nothing worse than leaving fingerprints on old photographs…
  2. Use a #2 pencil for labeling on paper items. This is the best thing to use because it’s easily erasable if a mistake is made.
  3. Find a spot on the back of the photo to label it, or at the very least a discreet location.
  4. Include the names of people, date, and location on the photo. PLEASE. There is nothing worst than finding an unlabeled photo and not being able to figure out who the people are… It makes me so, so sad.
  5. Also, label the Digital files as well! Name, date, and location is a good place to start.

What Writing Utensils to Use

Please use a #1 or #2 pencil when labeling old photos. They are soft and likely won’t puncture the photo. Remember to write lightly so that the writing doesn’t show through on the front.

What Information Goes on the Back of Photos

Please include the following information on the photos you label.

NAME

DATE

LOCATION

These are just the basic things that a photo label needs! There’s no need to stress out on trying to include an entire story! But if you want to write more then feel free to do that as well. All future historians and archivists will be forever grateful to you for your labeling effort! 🙂

Concluding Thoughts

I hope this article gave you some useful tips on how to label old family photographs. Preserving family history is so, so important and I am glad that you are taking the steps to preserve yours! Keep up the great work!

I have a few other articles about family history! I’ve linked them below for you to check out!

How to Write Your Family History

How to Conduct an Oral History

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

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