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Reel Treasures
8/7/2014
Home movies can play a valuable role in your family history. Discover what you can learn from old family footage and how to preserve these priceless pieces of your past.
After you've scoured your closets and sifted through your kin's film collections, what should you do with all the old home movies you've turned up? Follow these steps to organize, share and protect this unique part of your heritage:

1. SURVEY WHAT YOU HAVE.

Find out if the boxes or cans are labeled with subjects, dates, names or places. If not, try to identify the date of the film based on the information written on the side of the box or by product and format. Basically, you're looking for information that will help you place the images in your family history. Start sorting them in chronological order while they're still in the boxes to see if you can construct a timeline of films and events. Interview family members to find out what they know about the films, including their memories about making the movies. And don't forget to use the footage to help jog their memory — your relatives may not recall some details or situations until they receive a visual clue.

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