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The Terjärv Photo Archive:

Preserving Our Heritage in Photographs

Joelle Steele

I am always saddened when I find hundreds, sometimes thousands, of beautiful old photos moldering away in a dusty antique store bin, separated from their living relatives who probably did not know who the subjects were because they were not labeled. We always assume that our children will cherish these priceless gems of history. Unfortunately, many will not. Some will merely look at the photos as curiosities and abandon them to a box in the garage or basement where they will rot into oblivion -- at a complete loss to future generations who might well cherish them.

In 1984, I began collecting photographs of ancestors and descendants of Terjärv parish and the surrounding areas, many of whom came to settle in Rochester, Washington. I have since amassed over 600 photos which I have put into electronic (computer) format. Only about 40 of these photos are still in need of some identification. I have created a cross-referenced list of all the people in each photograph, using the various spellings of their names to ensure that any photos in which they appear can be easily located. In addition, I have very carefully digitally restored all damaged photos. Each photo is in a TIF format and almost all are saved at high resolution so that they can be printed out onto photographic paper, suitable for framing. The list of names will eventually be posted on my website so that anyone can obtain a CD, with their choice of photos on it, for only the cost of the CD and shipping. I will maintain this archive as long as I am able to, after which I will turn it over to the SFHS for them to maintain.

To ensure that your Terjärv area heritage is preserved for future generations, I invite you to contribute photos to this archive. I welcome all photos, and I am especially looking for ones of our ancestors in Finland. You do not have to part with your original photos Here are your options:

  1. Scanning. Scan at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. If a photo is damaged (scratches, spots, tears, etc.), scan it at 600 dpi. Save scans in TIF file format, in the same size as the original photo, on a CD or zip disk.
  2. Photocopying. Even if your photos are B&W, copy them in color on a high quality color copier onto smooth-surfaced paper. You can put more than one photo per page. Do not make copies on a B&W copy machine. This option only works with color photocopies.
  3. Cameras. Use a camera only if you have a tripod, a steady hand, and the lenses for duplicating photos. Digital cameras must have the quality level set to HIGH and the compression to the level that generates the largest file size your camera can make. If you do not set these levels correctly, your photos will look good on a computer screen, but they will not be usable for the archive. If you use a 35mm camera, always shoot color film (print or slide) even if your photos are B&W. Send me prints or slides.

Clearly label each photo (or number them and attach a list) with full names and as much detail as you can, including birth dates, if possible. I will send you a CD of any and all photos that you contribute to this archive. Here’s how to contact me:

Joelle Steele Template:Quarterly 13-1

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