Texan's Family Tree Blossoms with help from Paint Shop Photo Album
Don Judson's family had amassed over a thousand documents including family papers, photos and negatives, some with references dating back to the 1700s. These documents were not only valuable to his family but also to the history of the areas where his family had lived.
Several years ago his Uncle Roger Judson meticulously went through hundreds of negatives to identify the people in the pictures, he said. This task, though formidable, proved invaluable. His father, Ed, also had a collection of family pictures and helped in identification as well.
"It's just amazing that they did this," Judson said. "People forget how much knowledge the previous generation has, once they're gone so is their knowledge. Without my uncle and father we would never had been able to do this, we would have had bunches of pictures of nameless faces."
Family members started expressing interest in Don Judson's collection of thousands of documents and photos, a collection that spanned over 200 years. Copies would also need to be provided to a historical society in New York. It was their interest in his ancestry that made Judson realize he had a bit of a problem on his hands.
"Once the historical societies started expressing interest in these photos, I realized we had to do something to get them organized and on CD," Judson of Midland, TX said.
Of course, identifying the people in the photos was only the beginning. There was still the question of organizing everything.
Coming up with a way to organize more than a thousand documents and photos that spanned over 300 years proved to be a lot easier for Judson than he initially thought. Though he tested over fifteen photo album software packages, Judson knew he had a winner when he found Paint Shop Photo Album.
"We desperately needed a way to organize all those photos and documents," Judson said. "All of the other software we tried was too complicated or didn't have enough of the organization capability we were looking for. Paint Shop Photo Album was powerful enough to organize it all."
But powerful organization tools wasn't all Judson was looking for in his software package, he also needed something that was easy to use.
"Paint Shop Photo Album was powerful enough to organize it all"
"I have a programming background and have worked with different database and organizing software," Judson said. "But we had a need for something with tremendous organizational ability that was also so simple, anyone could sit down and figure it out."
Paint Shop Photo Album was the only one that passed the test and has helped Judson turn his jumble of family photographs and documents into a family tree his entire family enjoys.
Judson said they started by adding keywords of great grandparents, then grandparents, parents, children, and quickly realized they were building not only a beautiful way to organize their photos but also a fabulous family tree.
"I've got about 250 keywords now," Judson said. "Photo Album's keywords are already in a tree structure, which lends itself perfectly to a family tree. I can't tell you how much it sped up the organization process, because really, Photo Album does all the work for you."
But keywords aren?t the only part of Photo Album that Judson has used to create his family tree. Judson also uses the descriptions to show the order of people appearing in each picture.
"Photo Album does all the work for you"
"We've used everything in this program," Judson said. "The best part is you're not just limited to pictures. You can use the keywords on documents too. Now when I search on my great grandparents' keywords, not only do I see their picture, I can see their wedding invitation too."
With the keyword family tree, Judson loves to look at the photos of his ancestors.
"It's great, I select a picture of someone and I can instantly see how everyone's related," he said. "It doesn't get any better than that."
Even though there are hundreds of photos in the family collection, a few of them have a little more meaning to Judson.
"There's one picture of my great grandfather, who was a wheelwright, that everyone in my family loves," he said. "It's great because, not only does it show you what he looked like, it gives you a snapshot of what his life was like."
Now that Judson has managed to get his photo collection under control, he encourages other people to give it a try.
"Anybody can take this software and do what we did," he said. "Someone with no experience can sit down and use the keyword tree to create a family tree. It's really that easy."