• Tara Hollow

The Importance of a Family Portrait

As you may or may not know about me, I've been researching my ancestry for about 7 years now. It's another hobby that I love, that I'm passionate about. It is extremely time consuming, hard work, sometimes frustrating when I hit a dead end and sometimes rewarding. I really wish I had taken more time and interest in my family tree when I was younger. Now that my paternal grandmother, Erma, and all but one of her siblings have passed away, I feel left with so many unanswered questions about her side of the family. She has tons of photographs, because she loved them too, of family members and so many of them lack names and dates written on the back.


Ancestry.com has helped me put together some of the broken pieces and even discover things we didn't know. For instance, my Papa Doug, never knew his paternal grandparents, didn't even know their names. With the help of Ancestry.com I not only discovered their names, Taylor Harper Haynes and Mary Alexander Moore, but was fortunate enough to find a family portrait of them that another member posted. I don't think you can even imagine the excitement and joy I felt and still feel looking at this photo. I'm so thankful that someone posted it and even more thankful that my ancestors took the time and paid the money to have a portrait made. These are my second great grandparents! They are my history, their blood runs through my veins and I have a picture of them! My Papa was just as thrilled and it made him a little emotional. The sweet boy on the far right with the hat and tie is my great grandfather, Wyatt D Haynes.

They Haynes family - Pickens, South Carolina

Not all family portraits have to be professional, sometimes the images that become most cherished aren't professional at all. Hence the image below. That's me holding my youngest and on the far right is Erma and Doug Haynes. I insisted at this family gathering that we take some group shots. I was by no means a professional photographer at this point, I just loved pictures. Looking back I'm thankful that I did. When this picture was taken, we had no idea that in just a few short months, my Nanny was going to be called home to the Lord. I can't even type this without the tears pouring down my face. I had no idea that this beautiful property we're standing on, where I was raised, would be sold to another family. This image isn't posed, it's grainy, slightly out of focus, my kids are looking at each other and it has background distractions, but it's one of my most cherished photos. I will never get a chance to recreate this moment, it's gone forever. This image is now part of my family history, an unprofessional portrait that will stay with my family for years to come.

The Haynes family - Alachua, FL 2015

My message to you today is get family pictures taken whether professional, by Uncle Bob or your neighbor. Guys, quite griping when your wife or your daughter ask to you to dress nice for portraits and don't roll your eyes when I ask you to give me a genuine smile. Moms everywhere, make sure you hand over the camera for once and get in the pictures. Don't let body issues hold you back from being in the pictures. Your kids aren't going to look at these images and think you're fat, that you should have been wearing makeup or that you're wearing the wrong clothes, they just see their loving Mom. These images are your legacy, your family history and your memories for you to look back on when you're old and gray, for your kids and great grand-kids to appreciate when you're dead and gone. Family portraits are captured to enjoy for generations. Don't let the moments pass you by.


Please note that I am in no way affiliated with or compensated by Ancestry.com.

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