Friday, October 23, 2015

postheadericon Scrapping Your Heritage Part 1-How to Begin



Scrapping Your Heritage – How to Begin
First try and identify why you are going back in time to make layouts about your heritage.  Why are you scrapping pages and scrapbooks about your ancestors?  There may be one overwhelming reason with a deadline, or just curiosity on your own part.  I had several reasons and that helped me focus.  The reasons changed as I went along and yours may also.  I remember my first reason was that I was the only person left alive who had known my grandfather and I didn’t want him to be forgotten.  I also was retiring and I knew a lot of facts and stories that did not interest my children now, but might later.
You need to start with what you KNOW.  It may be a family tree, or information in your possession.  It may be, as in my case, just 9 little sheets of handwritten notes from my grandmother.    A gift of Family Tree Maker from a daughter helped me organize the meager information I had at the start.  There are many programs out there and most use a GED file format so information can be transferred between researchers.  The prices of commercial programs vary greatly, but some have free trials.
Others have free resources to download.
Free Genealogy Stuff  is a great collection of free resources.
You may need to file, identify and store photos and documents from the far past.  If you are lucky enough to have acquired the originals I urge you to contact an expert.  Many counties in the US have wonderful Historical Societies.  I actually use the one in the neighboring county because it is more active than one in my own county.  Someone there is always ready with new information on products that are available.  I use a box that is free of all those known chemicals that can harm papers, photos, tintypes, and old glass photos.  They also suggested Glassine envelopes and special separators to hold whatever information I have about each image.  There are great archival resources online, as well.   
You probably want to start with scanning the photographs and documents, once you have them sorted.  Instead, you might have some old family photos a relative has temporarily put into your care.  The standards have changed since I started scanning my old photos so I find myself re-scanning them every so often.  This makes it difficult if you have borrowed the photos.  Whether you are storing or borrowing photos and slides, the Internet is a great resource for scanning.

You may prefer to take digital photos of the old images.  While I scan photos, I have taken digital photos of all of the family heirlooms in my possession.  In either case, you want to make sure you have all digital images, scanned or photographed, stored in the safest way possible.  I remember back to some pretty outdated methods.  I will pass on advice given to me…”at the rate technology advances, do not think any storage method is forever.  Re-store every 1-2 years”.  My old black floppies went to 3” disks, to ZIP disks, to CDs, DVDs, and now External Hard Drives and Cloud storage.  You may loose a bit with every transfer.  It is best to acquire the technological know-how to store in a “non-lossy” method right from the start.
Once you have some information and resources, you will be ready to scrapbook some photos and documents.   Don’t be surprised if you find new information and need to re-scrap some pages. 

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Laura Lou
I am a retired Middle School Science teacher from Michigan spending 4 months each winter in Florida and learning about a whole new world.
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Forty Years of Scrapping

Long before it was popular, I was trying to decorate arrangements of photos and sentimental items. Here I want to share some of my personal history and more important, some ideas I have gleaned from more than 40 years of scrapping.

lauraloub

lauraloub
A granny with a camera and a computer

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