Sharing is Caring When It Comes to Family Photos

By Allison Dolan

This week’s post is from Vanessa Wieland, online editor for Family Tree University, with gratitude and credit to Sandra Mingua Stephens for the photos and the inspiration.

A week or so ago my mother’s friend, Sandy, posted some pictures on Facebook. The first was of she and my mom and some other kids, arms flung around each other on a sidewalk. The image is quintessential 50s, but while the cars and the clothes have changed, the neighborhood – not so much.

The second image she shared was of her father, my grandfather, and two of their other friends standing guard in uniforms, holding American and Kentucky state flags.

I grew up not just a few blocks from the street in the photo of my mom. In fact, both my dad and his mother grew up on the same street I did, and that was only a five-minute stroll from my grandparents on my mom’s side. My parents met because she lived next door to my dad’s best friend.

I’m fortunate to have grown up in a neighborhood where friendships don’t just span decades – they span generations. My father’s yearbook contains the same last names as mine and it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between census years. I’m certainly not complaining, though. It means I have a bunch of uncles and aunts, moms and dads, grandparents, siblings, and even a couple of nieces and nephews, even if they won’t show up in my DNA matches. While it means that every trip to the grocery store becomes a family reunion of sorts, it also provides a lovely sense of security and community.

Though they might not show up in my official family tree, they do contribute quite a lot to my family history.
After all, who better to tell you stories about your mother’s childhood than her childhood best friend? Our parents’ friends can offer a unique perspective and set of memories that we might never get from them – plus, it’s really fun to gather them together and get them talking about the “good old days.” It certainly makes doing cluster searches a lot easier.

Both images were new to me and they’re both fantastic. I’m grateful to have new sources and looks into the past. Why not take some time this week and share some old photos online? Believe me – you’ll make someone’s day.