Friday, October 23, 2015

postheadericon Scrapbooking your Heritage Part 3-How Will YOU Approach Your Family History?

It would be best to make a few decisions before you actually begin your next album.  I am going to assume you have read and maybe followed the first two articles.  If you have, then you have already done an album with the first approach which I call:

 “Just The Facts”

“Just the Facts” is not why most of us are scrapping heritage.  You want to get the stories out there before they have been forgotten.  In my case, I wanted my children and grandchildren to feel what I felt for my grandparents.  Now I know that the stories my mother and grandmother told me will die with me if I don’t scrap them, as well.  So your next approach might be:

 “Story Time”

This is journaling at its best.  You might need to spend some time with a word processing system or a notebook and pencil just writing.  Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar…at first.  Just write.   

There are wonderful journals out there that have prompts on each page.  Check for:
A Mother’s Legacy – Your Life Story in Your Own Words by Gift Books from Hallmark- ISBN 1404101276

Journal by Artworks International - j5354 ISBN #1-57938-535-4 

To My Daughter with Love by Donna Green – Vermillion Press ISBN 1-883746-01-9

There are others out there. But these are the ones I have used to keep prompts of my own memories.  They are great for writing a page a night before bed, writing on long trips or while waiting for an appointment.  I have another book put away that I started with my mother but it was far too late.  She just didn’t want to put forth the energy to dredge up the memories.  Oh, how I wish I had started sooner when she was more able.  

Since then, I have discovered a box with her three 5-year diaries.  She was only 13 when she started and most of it was regular teen stuff; going here and there, going to school, skipping school, boys, boys, boys.  There are big important periods of time with nothing written.  There are, however, several periods of writing I treasure...when she met and first started dating my dad and when they broke up; and when her mother died. 

This approach is great with the snapshots in your heritage collection.  It is a little harder to connect stories to formal portraits but not at all impossible.  My grandmother had a collection of obituaries from the little paper in Nobel County, Indiana, all for relatives of ours.  What a source for “gossip” those old obituaries were!  I wonder if Grandma kept those hoping one-day I would record the family history.  


 I stumbled onto this approach through a friend who was a member of the email group, Computer Scrapping at Yahoo Groups.  They explore historical times like farming, The Industrial Revolution, the different wars, the dawn of the Auto Industry.  They look at a different historical age every few weeks.  The members who are designers also design elements around those historical times.  The elements go well with vintage and heritage kits. 

The approach of connecting your family heritage with historical times can revive your heritage scrapping.  For example, as I talked about The Industrial Revolution, I realized how that changed the roofing industry and the company my grandfather owned.   Instead of the artisans creating the roofing and cornice elements, they bought expensive machines putting the company into debt that couldn’t survive the Great Depression.  I had photos that helped illustrate this.  Maybe your family has a farming background, or emigrated from a country facing one of the famines.  Looking through historical eyes gives an insight you wouldn’t otherwise have.

“Slice of Life”

 I have to admit that this is a new approach to me just since the Simple Scrapbook’s special issue “Slice of Life Scrapbooking” arrived in my mailbox.

Look at the things, places, and times of everyday living found in your vintage photos.  It may be as important as the old family homestead or as small as a great aunt’s hatpins.  Tell the story!  How did your Great Aunt use those hatpins?  Generations to come may not ever know how important big hats were, let alone that those vicious looking weapons anchored the hats to their hair.  Take the photos and tell the stories.  There are precious few candid snapshots before the 1930s so you may have to improvise by taking a picture of the home as it is today, using photos of family heirlooms in your possession, or even doing a journaling-only page. 

postheadericon Scrapbooking Your Heritage Part 2-Getting the First Photos Scrapped

Let’s assume that you have scanned all or most of the photos and documents, archived them safely, and returned those you borrowed.  Now you want to share the photos and documents with family.

Whether you decide to share the photos exactly as scanned, or restore them first, you want to get this part finished in a timely manner.  Because I had two beautiful leather bound photos books, I chose to create 4” x 6” layouts to fit into the pockets of the albums.  The albums also had 2 pages at the back of for CDs or DVDs.  One held all of the scanned original photos, and the other had all of the layouts on disk.  There are many 4” x 6” albums out there from the Dollar Store to folders at the photo counter to high end like I found on sale quite by accident.  If you choose to go that way you will also want all of the mini-layouts to coordinate.  I found 4x 6 Brag Book Templates fit the bill perfectly.  I also chose to stay with elements from just one kit for consistency.  I used my favorite kit for heritage.

When I started to put the albums together I had over 40 pages done, quickly, with the templates.  I turned the 4” x 6” designs upside down or flipped for some pages if the design lent itself to turning.  I made the two albums identical, one for my family and one for my brother’s. 

If you prefer a square format, check for a Quick Album.   Each design could be turned 4 ways and flipped to turn 4 more ways.  That makes the purchase of a quick album kit economical and those pages go together so quickly.  Below I show just 4 of the layouts I made, all from the same pre-made album page. 

I have printed and re-printed square format pages in large 12” x 12”, 8” x 8”. 6” x 6”, and even 3” x3” for a keychain album.

I used the French Country Album by Doris Castle at Studio Girls/Scrapbook Graphics.That album no longer exists but they have many more Quick Albums.


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. 

About Me

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.


A granny with a camera and a computer

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