Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Facing the Challenges Found in FamilySearch Memories

The Memories program has proved to be an extremely valuable adjunct to the information contained in the Family Tree. But the Memories program has its own challenges, not the least of which is the fact that the user can only edit his or her own contributions. Because of this limitation, there are often multiple copies of the same photograph. Documents do not seem to be duplicated quite so often, however. Here is an example of some duplicated photos:

The four photos indicated by the red arrows are all duplicates. There could be an exception for the "headshot" but I have already written my opinion in general of headshots. See "Let's Avoid "Headshots" in the FamilySearch Memories." If you are determined to include a headshot also upload the original showing the context of the photo. This is especially important if the headshot came from a group photo.

Of course, the quality of some of the above photos leaves a lot to be desired. But, we certainly do not want to discourage people from sharing photos even if they are torn, folded, faded or have other defects. However, I think that when I have a photo that is the same as an existing photo, but better quality, the better quality photo should be uploaded to the website. It would also be a good idea for the person who has the lower quality photo to remove the poorer photo unless it includes information or is uncropped. The two darker, better quality photos above appear to be cropped versions of the brown-looking, more faded photo. By the way, the "black photo" above is really a document and it a simple process to move the item from photos to documents. See this menu on the items page:

But again, only the original submitter can make any changes to the item. Here is an example of an original photo and the cropped headshot that shows valuable information that is lost in the headshot.

It is also important to include a copy of the back of the photo if there is any information on the back.

The third photo above shows part of a scanned family group sheet with several mounted photos. It is a really good idea to include a smaller scan of each of the photos and attach them individually to each of the people depicted on the page. Each of the people in the photo should also be identified and tagged. Also remember to add a descriptive title to each photo and document added to the collection. In the family group record photo above the submitter, fortunately, added tags to all the people.

Another issue with historical photos involves using photo editing software to modify or "improve" the original. I have written on the topic quite a few time previously, but it looks like it is time to go over the subject again.


  1. I had to upload a head shot of a man in a photo that FamilySearch restricted because the man had apparently been hunting and was posed with the deer he had bagged. The dead deer was deemed not appropriate. My point being, there may be exceptions that require the use of a head shot. I appreciate the points you've made here and agree wholeheartedly.

  2. Another problem I often see with the uploaded Memories is that they don't have a title or a description. Those fields are simply blank. I'm thinking a title should be required before the memory can be saved.