Old Family Photos

Howard Cook (1)
A photo booth picture of my great grandfather Howard Augustus Cook

Last year I had the great privilege of borrowing my late great grandfather Cook’s photo collection, which I scanned. I’ve seen few pictures of my other three great grandfathers. When I opened the boxes of Great Grandpa Cook’s pictures, I was stunned at the volume of photos, and to a lesser extent, the fashion sense of some of my ancestors. He had many pictures of his siblings, too. I get the feeling that he and his five siblings cemented their bond over the years by sending portraits to each other, in addition to the usual family snapshots.

Some of these portraits reveal a great depth of feeling. My second great aunt Mabel looks to have been a master of relating the ongoing story of her life just by a look on her face. This one is a photo booth picture, which was the selfie machine of its time I suppose:

Mabel Cook

Great Grandpa Cook worked as a pastry baker at a local hotel for 20+ years, where he was known as the “Pie Foreman” in local newspaper ads:

Howard Cook Barr Hotel

He developed baker’s lung mid-career and switched to an occupation with more retirement security, school custodian. There were lots of school pictures of his custodian days in the box of photos, such as these two, which I find deeply amusing:

Howard Cookc4fb4cc7-95fd-41a4-a260-c2c7fe1caf0e

Yesterday I assembled my favorites and made a slideshow video of them. I highly recommend making this kind of video to anyone who has lots of photos of their ancestors. I used Windows Movie Maker, a super basic video editor. All I had to do was drag and drop the pictures into the program and choose a transition preset. I uploaded my video to Facebook and YouTube and was delighted to see these pictures play on my living room TV.