About the Book
by Walt O'Brien
for my Children and their descendants
Starting a project like this seems a bit self serving, but if my ancestors had all done this we would have no need for genealogy research. Hopefully those reading this will appreciate the effort it takes to complete a project of this type. You'll learn from reading this that although it's about me, it's also about family and friends.
A bit of background: Initially this book was going to be mostly a photo book to document what people and places were like growing up. Then I realized that it would be nice to add some research I had done on family. With that decision made, I renewed a genealogy project that I actually began back in 1991. It was a fantastic journey and impacted me more deeply than I could have imagined at the onset.
The layout of the book will be as follows:
I will start with a discussion and photos describing what it was like to grow up in the Texas Panhandle. I will include photos selected from the beginning, continuing with school, through college years and beyond. I will cover the early years of marriage ending at the beginning of parenthood. You know the rest. To go beyond that would be a massive project unto itself. Perhaps you can take off from there and do a similar project.
The next section will be an ancestry report with photos of the people where available. This will take the form of a family history going back several generations. At some point you find diminishing returns for your effort because the accuracy of what you find becomes more questionable.
In the process of research, I found that putting a face to a name gives so much more meaning to the project and causes one to want additional information. It fills a lot of holes in your past, but also opens many more than it fills. If you ever pursue this, you will see what I mean.
I have been photographing seriously since about 1984. I have worked in many photo related jobs since 1968 after attending Brooks Institute of Photography. Since 1980 I have been the proprietor of several photo lab businesses. I currently print for other photographers, amateur and professional. I have been a member of PhotoZone Gallery since 1992 and have exhibited there and in other galleries to include Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Umpqua Community College Gallery, Jacobs Gallery in Eugene, Emerald Art Center of Springfield, The U of O law center and Maude Kerns Art Center in Eugene. I am also a member of the Photo Arts Guild in Corvallis and the Emerald Arts Center in Springfield. I taught photography at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg and at Lane Community College in Eugene. I currently teach private photo darkroom classes. My creative photographic interests have mostly followed the straight landscape in both black and white and color. I shoot film and print digital.