APPO‘s Director of Operations and Training Lisa Kurtz invites you to follow along the journey to organize your photo life. In this installment, she creates a family timeline as a valuable tool in the process.

Milestones of Our Lives

Most of our lives can be mapped into important milestones on a timeline, even though we may not know specific dates. Preparing a family timeline aids in the sorting process as we begin to tackle our heritage photos.

Once a timeline is created, we’ll use this as a roadmap for indexing our photos during the sorting process next week.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you took the time for this step.

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Organize Your Photo Life: Create A Family Timeline |

Map Your Family Timeline

As you look at the entire collection of photos that you are working with, in this case, your heritage photos, determine the oldest photo and the most recent photo. This is the time span that you will plot on your map.

Looking at my family timeline, my oldest photo is my Grandma at about 5 years of age in a photo that has been marked 1920. Lucky me! But I’m not sure about my Grandma’s birthday so I will use a year for this marker. And my most recent photos are my high school years and graduation.

Once you have these major markers in place, you can begin to jot other moments or milestones in between until you are satisfied with your timeline. You will refer back to this often as you start sorting, and details may change based on some of your photo discoveries. This is a good time to ask your relatives about key dates and events for accuracy!

Since many of my dates and key events are missing from my photos, I’ll need to take some time to reach out to my cousin who can fill in some of the blanks. There is joy in reminiscing and we haven’t chatted in a while…..

And that’s just an added benefit to sorting your photos!

Are you ready to start your family timeline?

Follow the Organize Your Photo Life Series

Organize Your Photo Life: Create A Family Timeline |

If you need help organizing and preserving your lifetime of photos, videos, and keepsakes, find a photo organizer near you at the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.

Lisa Kurtz, Association of Personal Photo Organizers

When Lisa Kurtz lost her mother, grandmother, aunt, and uncle in three years, she was left holding a box of unidentified photographs with nobody to ask about them. Lisa embarked on a lifelong quest to discover and preserve her mom’s story, for herself and her kids, which led her to a career in professional photo organizing. Today, Lisa is the Founder of Pix & TALES with her daughter and together they help busy moms manage their pictures and tell their family stories.