This is the story of how this media became highly organized and developed.
Website design and videos by Eric since 2000 with many
major sophisticated digital photo repairs in 2014. Those who complain instead of collaborate or provide constructive feedback are omitted. Estimated solo work hours: 500.
In 1987 when my grandmother Lotte Erler passed away, my mom, Erika, flew to Germany to obtain a lot of her family heirlooms which included many pictures. She typed an interesting story. She made a great attempt to bring back and preserve family sentimental heirlooms. She was lucky to have obtained all this considering it was still a rather ruthless communist state at that time.
Throughout the years, my parents accumulated a massive amount of photos. They mostly randomly inserted photos in disorganized and fragile photo albums. There were hundreds of photos of things that were insignificant such as photos of fish they caught.
Around 2007, I started to create “single page photo biographies” of everyone in my family and other topics. This was a consolidated version of everyone and every important thing about our family. I searched through all the family photo albums and digital photos for a few days to pick the best photos. It was daunting to search through so many photos. Then I spent many more days to digitize them and created the single page photos to fit into 8 ½ x 11 frames. Later, I had my parents autograph theirs.
At about the same time, I started working on video autobiographies. It was surprisingly extremely rare that people have video autobiographies made. I consider my mother's autobiography a pioneering project, one of the first or the very first in the world of its kind. It was extremely time consuming and hard for me to make these of which I did completely on my own with the exception that my brother digitized some VHS tape video. I find it virtually torture to watch long, unedited amateur home videos. My final products are not like that, however the original videos were very unappealing in the raw form.
A few months before mom passed away, she and I discussed how to better organize the large trunk full of family albums in disarray. I suggested we go through them all, resort and redo them. She agreed and started working on it while I was gone, but when I came back she had a lot of the photos in the trash, particularly hers from Germany. I pulled them back out of the trash to claim them. She had also haphazardly glued many of them on pages, so I had to work to separate them before the glue further set. When I asked her why she did it this way she said nobody is going to care about us when we are gone anyway.
In early 2009, I spent a week working on ancestor.com to update all the family data and photos. I spent much of that time doing research to expand the family. I also placed my parents and my deceased brother on findagrave.com. Someone already beat me to putting my mother on there, so I asked her to transfer that account over to me. She voluntarily did.
In June, 2009 when mom passed, I spent the first two weeks totally focused on providing the highest quality funeral services I could for her. This took me by surprise as I didn't know there could be so much involved which made every task extremely fast paced and demanding, ranging from writing a eulogy to deciding what to put in the casket for her. Then I created an 8 x 10 image to be converted into a porcelain plaque that I mounted on her headstone. Then dad went to Ohio for a month, during which time I reorganized mom's albums, etc. I was home alone with just my dog (thank you Tippy!) and it was less than a month since mom passed, so it was very difficult (solitary) for me. I vacuum sealed important and fragile historical documents and items. I explained to others what I was doing and asked many times for input and assistance, but nobody wanted anything to do with it and expressed no concern.
In 2013-2014 for a whole year I took college courses in Photoshop and website design. I used those skills to significantly improve the website and make a large amount of desperately needed professional digital photo repairs and enhancements. Take a look at the original photos and compare to the ones here and you will see why it was worth the effort.
I have done the absolute best job I could do to create high quality media of my family mostly for the purpose of our future generations to know and appreciate who we really were. I also hope they learn from our experiences in many beneficial ways to have even better lives than we did. Of course it was also done in honor and respect of my family, particularly to reward my parents for all the hard work they did in raising us (the best they knew how) and preserving the sentimentals.
This digitization ensures the family heritage will endure forever and can never be lost and can't be destroyed by anyone.
Trolls against my work have been omitted and no photo repair work offered.
Master Albums Before Negligent Executor Ransack of 2012
Master albums have all original documents and photos albeit largely destroyed by the negligent executor.
Nothing is permitted to ever be sold; please keep in the family forever
Ancestry.com & FindAGrave.com
: Eric created over 30 accurate memorials in each site.
Leo John Talaska:
Erika Lina Erler - Talaska:
Leo & Erika's Marriage / Anniversary Album
Johnny William Talaska:
8½ X 11 Consolidated Info Plaques of each family member, etc.
Digitized and enhanced photos, documents, etc. from Eric's computer
Home movies unedited: 25 VHS tapes and DVDs (best scenes were already put in video autobiographies)
German Christmas, wedding anniversary, funeral sympathy, etc. cards (Lee has)
Three fire station cookbooks and fire department manual (Lee has)
Seemannslieder music CD
Inherited Met Life insurance policy documents - Future heir may be able to collect