Who, what, when, where, and (if you are lucky enough to know it) why a picture was taken are great things to leave behind on those digital images of photographs that you may have in your collection.
This 1985-era photograph of my grandmother and her niece was one of many in my parents’ collection of family history ephemera. Fortunately it was identified on the back, albeit in a handwriting which I did not entirely recognize. The only clue was that it referred to my grandmother as “Aunt Ida,” indicating that it was written by one of her nieces or nephews.
This was one of those photographs taken during my lifetime so the identification was not necessary for me, but the date was helpful. The location of the picture was well-known to me as my Grandma Neill’s kitchen and the pitcher in the red circle is one that I currently have.
Creating captions for digital images is a great way to ensure that future generations who see the image know who the individuals are. Metadata is great and helps with searches, but screenshots made of images do not include the metadata–text on the image itself can easily be included. Creating such captions can be an excellent genealogical activity when long-deceased ancestors have the researcher extremely frustrated.
Caption creation can also help the researcher remember stories and preserve those as well.