New Old Media




Convert your old media to digital…

Before it is too late!

Restoring old media may enhance your family history.

Through the years, I have been the one to collect photographs of our ancestors from anyone willing to share. One of the first things that got me sucked into family history was the old basket of pictures that my paternal grandpa let me bring out on our regular visits. As a preteen, I was obsessed with finding out the names that belonged with the faces on those old photos. Poor Grandpa! I really put him to work finding out.

I have also done a lot of work to scan not-quite-so-old photographs and slides, capture video, and then use that media to put together slide shows and videos for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. I also love having a just right photograph available for every situation like when my son is watching “Up” with my granddaughter and needs to show her a photo of himself in a boy scout uniform.

Media can help tell the family story and maybe even give a glance at the personalities of the people in the family tree. My journey into Sally Aschbrenner’s photo album certainly showed us a side of Sally that we might not have otherwise known.

I have recently been fortunate to add some photos, video, and audio to my collection. This post tells a little bit about my recent experience with some slides, video tape, and audio tapes and concludes with a call to action.

“New” Slides

My in-laws took most of their pictures as slides for many years. While I had scanned most of their collection, we were always missing photographs for a two to three year period. Finally, this year, those missing slides were found and brought to my house. So, I gradually scanned them.

It is quite fun to see photographs of my husband and his family in the years right before I came into the picture. Pun intended.

The role of the eldest son will now be played by Thomas

I was quite shocked and really got quite sad when I scanned the photos from the year my husband went off to college. Imagine my surprise when instead of my husband, JNK, and his two brothers, the photos were of Thomas the Exchange Student and the two brothers. They still took family photos of the family of five, but instead of my husband with his parents and brothers, there was Thomas. Thomas even got to be photographed with extended family.

Thank goodness, they did let JNK be in one Christmas photo.

After a birthday, prom, and graduation, Thomas was the “son” who got to go on the family vacation. JNK was left home.

He’s back – whew!

Luckily, they seem to have let JNK rejoin the family when Thomas went home after his year in the US. I think the original son looked good, but I am very partial.

The original family went on without their Austrian “brother.”

Winter cruising, graduation, vacation, hunting, and holidays

A new year brought a winter vacation for CMPK and JFK without any of their children. They traveled with a group including many members of CMPK’s family.

Middle son TJK graduated and a few family members made the trip to help with the celebration.

The family did some summer vacationing.

Then it was time to return to school, hunt, and celebrate the holidays.

“New” Video

Another thing that was delivered to me this year by my father-in-law was one 8 mm video tape. It was not dated and was simply labeled “swimming.” I imagined seeing a film of my husband as a young boy at a lake. I have never seen a video of him as a boy so I was excited to have the tape digitized. But after spending money to have the film converted from old-fashioned 8mm to digital, I found that it was film of a 1979-80 Montevideo High School swim meet. My brother-in-law TJK was a participant. My husband was not on the tape. A disappointment for me. But, hopefully TJK and his family will enjoy it. There is a brief shot of my mother-in-law in the stands, so that is fun.

The movie begins with an unidentified man dragging a dead deer? Who was he?

Whose video camera was this?

There is no audio on this type of video, so you will just have to imagine a cheering crowd.

The swimming portion of the tape plays back at really high speed. I do not think they were really swimming that fast. When you watch the movie, you may want to adjust the playback speed to slow things down. Hint: once you start watching the movie, you should see three dots in the lower right corner. Click on those dots to bring up an option to change your playback speed.

“New” Audio

The biggest recent acquisition was a set of reel-to-reel audio tapes. These too came from my father-in-law. Can anyone tell that he is trying hard to clean stuff out of the house?

In this set of six tapes there were some real gems.

The highlights for me were a tape made around my husband’s 9th birthday and a tape that included the voices of Norman and Sally.

The birthday tape was recorded to send back to the maternal grandparents in Illinois. The other tape was one sent to my in-laws from the paternal grandparents who were visiting their other son out in California.

Why the family recorded the Nixon/Agnew inauguration is a mystery. I have not listened to that one. Another was a bit hard to listen to because it was just one of the boys making a lot of noise. We did that on our cassette recorder when I was a kid too, but unfortunately, I do not have the tapes of my own siblings and I being obnoxious.

Another highlight (from a family history perspective anyway) was hearing the voice of Morgan Rasmussen, a maternal cousin of Norman Krueger. It was also fun hearing the family do some singing on another of the tapes.

I expect that I am the only one in the world who will listen to these recordings in their entirety (minus the inauguration tape), so I am just sharing a few selected clips with you here. Any family members who want to hear the whole clips are welcome to do so upon request.

Note that I added a few at least somewhat related photos and used a tool called Clipchamp to create the videos to present the audio clips. I had the tool automatically insert captions for us. Even with a little manual clean up, some of the captioning is not quite right…

Reports about Christmas and a Birthday

Report from the Baby and Mom

A majority of what I’m dubbing the birthday tape included CMPK giving a report of happenings for her parents. The following is only part of what she said. Even so, this clip is quite lengthy. There was a lot to report, with a new sister-in-law in the family, holiday travels, and life with three boys. Baby BPK did not have a lot to say.

The Birthday Boy

The birthday boy had quite a bit to say about the gifts he received and travels to Wausau.

The Younger Brother

The middle son was quite smitten with his new aunt and quite proud of his bowling abilities.

Finally some words from Dad

To close out the message, JFK, made his contribution to the tape.

Greetings from California

Norman and Sally Krueger traveled to California to visit their son CNK and his bride, PAWK. They also visited with Sally’s Aschbrenner relatives including her Uncle Ed and cousin Evelyn. On this tape, CNK and Norman reported on their activities, letting Sally and PAWK chime in a little. You can hear Sally at about 7:35 in the first clip.

Are you ready to convert your old media?

Do you have photographs, slides, or tapes sitting around your house collecting dust? Are you curious about what might be on those slides and tapes? Do you know what is on those video tapes and wish you could see the faces in them again?

If you have old media sitting around and have any interest at all, I would recommend getting it converted to a format you can use sooner than rather than waiting for a later that may never come. Quality can diminish over time. Photos and slides can fade. Tape can break. I know a lot of people who talk about doing something with their old stuff and fewer who actually do something. While you might not find exactly what you thought you would, there are no doubt things in your collection that will make you smile and/or remember.

But how do I get my media converted?

I can give you a couple ideas based on my experiences.

Do it yourself

In my case, I do have the equipment to scan slides and photographs myself.

But it can be tedious work.

I find that I have to spread the work out over several different sessions.

I especially do not always have the patience to spend long periods of time scanning a lot of slides. My scanner lets me scan only four slides at a time and I always make sure to stop and rename the files as I go so that they are organized on my computer. So, very tedious. With some stick-to-it-ness, I eventually get through them all.

I can also scan photos and in the past have converted VHS tape. So, I know it is possible to do-it-yourself for these type of media without a lot of expense.

Hire a pro

In my case, I do not have the equipment to convert the 8 mm film or reel-to-reel tape that was recently delivered to me.

Because these are older technologies and I only had a few tapes to convert, I did not even look into buying equipment to do the conversions myself.

About 23-years ago, I had my maternal grandpa’s 8 mm film converted to VHS. So, I went back to the same local business to have this new tape converted. That business was not able to convert the reel-to-reel audio tape, but he knew a guy who could do it. So, I was able to have both video and audio converted locally.

The cost is higher locally, but I did not have to send things through the mail and I like supporting local business. Both of these gentlemen were accommodating and a pleasure to work with. If you are lucky enough to have these services available, you might want to give the local guys a chance.

You may wish to check with your local library. Many libraries have equipment available for you to come in and use. I know that our local library has a “Convert-O-Lab” which is a collection of equipment for digitizing older formats so that they can be preserved and enjoyed today. Unfortunately for me, their Convert-O-Lab is temporarily closed. But check your own library and see if they have some equipment for you to use to do the conversions yourself.

Another option is to hire a remote professional service. I cannot recommend or complain about any of these, but I can list a few that I have seen advertised and let you do your own research.

  • Legacybox
  • iMemories
  • Walmart

Enjoy your media

I hope I have inspired you to dust off the old photos, movies, and other media stashed around your home. I thought I was done with this exercise but came home from a trip to my in-laws with a very old photo album and eight more audio tapes. My journey with new old media continues…



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“Electric Pick A Peg Game,” eBay ( : accessed 07 Jun 2023).

“Periscope (arcade game),” Wikipedia ( : accessed 07 Jun 2023).

“Inside Billy Moy’s One-World Inn,” “You Know You’re From WAUSAU…” Facebook ( : accessed 11 Jul 2023)

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