DEAR ABBY: I have a suggestion for your readers. Tell them to urge their parents to identify the photos of their ancestors. When our parents died, my sister and I had no idea who was in the photographs we were left.
Fortunately, my sister traveled to Denmark and was able to get in touch with relatives who could identify the people. -- MARILYN BIRD, ROSE CITY, MICH.
DEAR MARILYN: I couldn't agree more. A few years ago, I received this letter that dealt with the problem:
DEAR ABBY: You suggested that "older people" should mark the backs of family pictures while they can still remember who's who, when the pictures were taken and the approximate dates. Why only "older people"? That's something everybody should do as soon as a snapshot is developed.
For years, I was too busy (or too lazy) to do it, and now that I'm retired and have plenty of time, I can't remember who half the people are.
My parents can't help me because my father has been dead for 25 years, and my mother is in a rest home, unable to remember much of anything.
So here I sit, with a big box of family pictures -- beating my brains out trying to recall names, dates and places. What a mess!
Abby, please remind your readers often to label their pictures. Then their grandchildren won't have to go through what I'm going through now. -- KICKING MYSELF IN ASBURY PARK
DEAR KICKING: Not only should family pictures be labeled, but accounts of historical events and newspaper clippings of births, graduations, marriages and deaths in the family should be preserved in a sturdy scrapbook.
Fascinating family histories could be preserved if younger members interviewed older relatives at family gatherings. A tape recorder would be ideal for this purpose.
Succeeding generations will love it!