Friday, December 18, 2009

’Ancestor Searching’*

November, 2009

Vol. 4, # 8

A Service of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library

*Now in the fourth year of distribution with over 400 subscribers!

Genealogy Scrap booking

Throughout several decades now, people have used several ways of preserving their family history. Maintaining photo albums and photo collages are some of the ways of maintaining a family history. People generally maintain family history to try and get the future generations acquainted with their roots and also to treasure their family members. A comparatively newer way of maintaining family history could be scrap booking family history. In fact, remember childhood times, when as students assignments were given to maintain a scrapbook for school. Scrap booking is a method for preserving a legacy of written history in the form of photographs, printed media, and memorabilia contained in decorated albums, or scrapbooks.

What is a genealogy scrapbook? A genealogy scrapbook is a scrapbook designed to trace a family's tree through pictures and photos handed down from generation to generation. Photographs are quickly being replaced by digital images and photos from parents and grandparent's era are beginning to deteriorate, even with the best of care. If they are not taken care of and treated well by storing in maintained scrapbooks, these pictures will be lost forever.

The first step to creating a heritage album is choosing the actual album. The album should reflect the contents of what is to be put inside. For example, one may want to consider a high quality album in deep rich tones for a heritage scrapbook. Or, an album that uses top loading pages, not knowing when a new photograph that fits somewhere in the middle of a book, for instance, will show up. Top loading pages make it easy to change the order around when needed.

After choosing an album, it is time to choose paper. Always use acid and lignin free papers in scrapbooks to preserve photographs. Since old photographs are most likely going to be black and white or sepia tones, choose colors that will interact well with that color palate. Cream, burgundy, navy blue, gold, silver, and other rich tones work best in heritage albums. If using patterned papers, make sure that the pattern has an antique look to it, otherwise it will clash with the overall theme of the scrapbook.

Before starting a genealogy scrapbook, check the supplies and make sure there is enough paper on hand, but also avoid the temptation to run out and buy everything in sight. If more supplies are needed, it’s easy to go out and get more paper or stickers. Consider the types of embellishments to be added and spend money on those. In a genealogy album, the types of embellishments are extremely important; say, to be able to add that "aged look" to enhance the photos being used.

Once some basic supplies have been purchased, get out the pictures. Don't forget to ask family and friends if they have any old pictures that could be browsed through that they are keeping in a shoebox somewhere. Find the appropriate pictures to include, and then take them to a store that has a one-hour-photo. Most one-hour-photos have a machine that allows scanning a picture and reproduce it. Do this for as many of the pictures as possible, because chances are the old photograph is already starting to fade and decay. By making a copy of it, pictures can be preserved for several more generations. It’s fortunate that black and white photographs are more durable than their color counterparts, but by taking the time to preserve them now, the originals can be given back and the copies used.

At the start of assembling a genealogy scrapbook, the ultimate goal the creation of what will hopefully become a family heirloom passed down through generations. By doing research and finding as many names and dates as possible about the people in the pictures, write the information down and keep track it in the book. Remember, this project is more than just a scrapbook, the book will be a valuable keepsake for future generations.

With the pictures try to make sure to use a contrasting color for the background paper. This will help to bring the details out in the pictures. Combine the pictures and the journaling together in a pleasant manner; also include documents that relate to different aspects of their life. Certificates, military papers, work related items, newspaper articles, tickets from a show, or quotes from an interview. Don't put too many items on a page though or it will look crowded. Spread it out. Add three dimensional items whenever possible because it helps to make the person more real. Other family members can feel and see the item. Also, use words and memories about past ancestors because this gives a different point of view of the person. Add imagination and use pleasing colors, shapes, lace or leather, whatever fits the personality of the person that is being researched. The most important thing is to bring out memories of that ancestor.

There are many ways to preserve family memories and history, using photos, videos, words, and music with the ability to make a digital scrapbook. With the computer and many programs available for choosing hundreds of designs and add in photos and videos. Customize color combination, journal entries, and different embellishments with photos to enhance the history of the family. Recap the last family reunion as soon as possible and the memories will be fresh. Sharing the family's happiest memories with others are so much fun but also gratifying. Share discoveries when doing family research with other family members. It is amazing how little may be known about a family and how interesting it can be. Preserving family history can also be vital information needed for future generations. Bigger items such as a wedding dress, pocket watch, Purple Heart award or family quilt that can't be captured on a page can be included by photocopying or scanning them and using the copies in the history.

The hardest part of scrap booking and preserving family history is getting started or getting organized. It can look overwhelming at first. Work and organize by sorting photos in files or boxes that are archival safe. Make sure to label them by person, family, time-period, life-stages or other theme. Then assemble all the materials needed to scrapbook pages together. If working with digital items, then get all of the programs and materials needed to achieve the project in that manner. The digital programs are very easy to follow and are very user friendly.

Family history and genealogy is much more meaningful when it is shared with the living relatives and preserved for future generations. It's important to share the present, preserve the past, and share the history. Connect with family members and work together on the memories and preserving old family photos of importance. Family history can be shared and displayed in a lot of ways, such as a family tree, a time line, or a chart. There are many online resources to help families with ideas and tips of family history. There are many resources online that will help with every little step of a family history, a family history CD, or an online blog, from writing to designing to publication.

Some families like the more personal touch and like to hand write the history or at least journal parts of the entries. It can be very relaxing for a lot of people to scrapbook. Some families have got together for special occasions like 80th birthday or 50th anniversaries and have every person in the family do one page with photos and memories of that person and then compile the pages into a scrapbook history book for the person. It is a great way to celebrate their history and their life.

When tracing a family's history it is important to remember the importance of preserving not only the stories of the past, but also the stories of the living. Encourage family members to record memories for posterity with one of these wonderful journal type history books. Have questions with ample room in which there is room to write answers. This will become a treasured part of the family history for generations to come. Remember how important it is to share the present, preserve the past, and record the history for future generations.

Documenting your family history can be a long process that involves plenty of research. Instead of simply using that information to complete a family tree, consider scrap booking family history for future generations so that they can come to know about their roots. This allows them to put faces with names of those who they never got a chance to meet. Scrap booking family history involves making sure the right information is available before starting. Make sure to incorporate all the accurate details and information when beginning the process for scrap booking family history. Try not to exclude any family members during the scrap booking efforts and try to make sure there is at least some information about all members of the family. To make the process easier, use loose leaf pages when scrap booking family history. This way if a mistake is discovered, then just add the additional family members and keep things in chronological order.

Don't let precious photo's fade away in an old shoe box or old photo album. Don't let those precious stories of past ancestors go untold. Gather the pictures and put them together with the stories of ancestors in an organized manner that will preserve the history of their life. Much can be learned from a family’s past and there can be much to enjoy getting to know them through the pictures and stories. So much can be done to display a family’s heritage story, and it is a story. Being part of a family that started further back than anyone can remember; tell everyone about it in a unique way. By telling a story of real life, make sure to tell the good times and the bad times.

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Genealogy Workshop

Fact: At times preserving old photographs becomes a little tedious as they have the tendency of getting worn out easily. Scrapbooking family history offers a good method for protecting them from further damage or deterioration. Photos can be easily copied at copy centers just as long as they are not professional photos that are copyright protected. If the photos are very old, consider copying them in black and white for scrap booking family history. This allows the use a high quality photo while persevering the era of the photo.

Tip: Scrap booking family history can make a wonderful birthday or anniversary gift for parents and grandparents. They will definitely treasure a sentimental gift. Scrap booking family history may not seem important right now but in the future, it actually has the potential of being one of the most treasured possessions of every family, after all who does not love to remember their family members, especially if they are away from them. Family is the one support system that supports without expecting anything in return. We all make friends but it is our family that supports us without even asking us to do so. Therefore, we should make sure that we know our family members and try to get our future generations to know about them. Bottom line, start collecting the materials and start scrap booking family history.

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See You In The Heritage Room!

Richard White
Computer Genealogy Librarian
Huntsville-Madison County Public Library
915 Monroe Street
Huntsville, AL 35801

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