JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: What Can I Do With Old, Unidentified Family Photographs? #general

Erika Herzog

I agree wholeheartedly with the consensus that you shouldn't throw them out.

In answer to your question on advice on what to do:

I have been working on digitizing my family's photos for a while now,
I have found having the pictures in a digital format (i.e., online)
has been a very positive experience.

So if you can, I would recommend scanning the photos and putting them
onto a free Flickr account*, noting in the descriptions any pertinent
information you might have (i.e., dates, who took photo, locations,
surnames, etc.).

If you do this, I recommend setting a Creative Commons license on the
photos ( -- that way the
photos can be shared as you specify.... >from very restrictive use to
complete free re-use. Creative Commons licensing
( makes it really easy to allow for

Photos on Flickr are also very friendly to Google search engine
optimization, so any metadata / details you add to the photos will
make them very discoverable to a huge online audience. Photos on
Flickr can also be used on Wikipedia, so if there are
location-specific towns that would be a great way to expand Wikipedia
entries of our shtetls to include photos.

It might be possible that some institutions or archives might accept
your photos and maybe digitize them for you; however, it's very easy
to scan photos nowadays (and putting them in an institution or archive
would not make them as accessible as they would be online). I think
many drugstores in the U.S. that have photo services will scan your
photos for a fee.

Depending on how many there are, I would be happy to scan them for you
and put them online. Feel free to contact me at my yahoo email address
off list.

This would be a great group project for us JewishGenners, to create an
online repository of orphan images like this. I would be very
interested in participating.

I always wonder what happens to all of our photos as we age. I worry!
I love photographs -- and really there's nothing like a physical
photograph. But maybe if the photo is digitized at least it would live
on in perpetuity in that form? I wish the Internet Archive
( provided this for photos.

*I am not affiliated with Flickr, JewishGen, Internet Archive -- these
organizations are mentioned in answer to advice of the original
poster, and as a possible open data solution for fellow JewishGen
genealogists encountering this common issue.

Erika (my main email address)

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