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Photographing to record and remember 

A photograph found in a box of old pictures shows my great, great, grandfather Jacob Ungeheuer with his wife and children. - UNGEHEUER FAMILY
  • Ungeheuer Family
  • A photograph found in a box of old pictures shows my great, great, grandfather Jacob Ungeheuer with his wife and children.
I recently visited the Kansas farm where my mother grew up and where my grandmother still lives in a little stone house.

My grandmother raised her four children in that house and helped to raise more than a dozen grandchildren. Upon my visit, she suggested that I look in the north room, saying "something" was there.

What I found was an incredible box of black white photographs.

My mother had spent a lot of time looking through some boxes before she passed away in 2009. 
Inside were the photographs, some of them were over 100-years-old and carefully notated by my great grandmother Georgia before she passed away in 1978. It was like Georgia knew that the generations afterwards would need to know who these people in the family picture were.
click to enlarge A photograph of my grandmother Hilma in a black dress. - UNGEHEUER FAMILY
  • Ungeheuer Family
  • A photograph of my grandmother Hilma in a black dress.
What a prize find this is!

Georgia's notes name my great, great grandfather Jacob Ungeheuer, with his wife Sarah and eight of their nine children... all staring out at me (pictured above). I've often wondered about him, Jacob, my son's namesake. He was a 16-year-old German immigrant who didn't speak a word of English. After arriving in America he fought in the Civil War and homesteaded a sucessful farm in eastern Kansas.

Seeing the picture gave me chills, but there were more of them, and more rich stories too.

My Grandmother Hilma poses gracefully in another image (left), and another of her handsome husband Donald, my Grandfather (below right).

click to enlarge My grandfather Donald pictured holding his baby daughter, my mother. - UNGEHEUER FAMILY
  • Ungeheuer Family
  • My grandfather Donald pictured holding his baby daughter, my mother.
These two young people stand proudly, with vim and vigor, in front of the stone house where they created their own history together. See below.

I understand better now, why I became a photographer. While looking at these pictures I can almost feel the passage of time, and I realize how little of it I really have.

A couple recently interviewed me to be their wedding photographer and wondered aloud why they needed to have a wedding album. I showed them these photographs.

To be remembered is one of the great ambitions of human history, a wish photography can fulfill for generations to come.
click to enlarge A photography of my grandfather and grandmother in front of the old stone house near Centerville, Kansas. They renovated the house and raised their four children in it. - UNGEHEUER FAMILY
  • Ungeheuer Family
  • A photography of my grandfather and grandmother in front of the old stone house near Centerville, Kansas. They renovated the house and raised their four children in it.

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