Once you start researching your family tree, it won't take long until you have amassed quite a collection of documents and old photographs. You will probably have found birth certificates, death and marriage certificates, birth notices, obituaries, military records, and naturalization papers. Besides official documents, you may even acquire special mementos like a ticket stub from a movie where your father proposed to your mother.
Rather than filing these treasured documents away in a filing cabinet, why not take up family tree scrapbooking and make a keepsake that your entire family will enjoy browsing through every time they visit.
Scrapbooking is a fun and unique way to honor your ancestors. It provides a convenient and attractive way to share the information you have gathered to others in your family. Your scrapbook can even become a family heirloom and be passed down from generation to generation with each new owner adding to the book as time passes.
You should be careful in your choice of scrapbooking materials when it comes to a family history book because you will be placing many old and treasured documents inside of it. You need one that is acid free and made specifically for archival use. This will help preserve the documents and keep them safe for many generations to come. It would be nice to have the type of scrapbook that lets you expand by adding more pages. That way your scrapbook doesn't have a bunch of empty pages, yet if someone in your family wants to add to it, they can just add another page and keep the book growing.
You can order your scrapbook any way you want, but traditionally, the oldest photographs and documents go in first and the more recent ones are in the back. You can do both sides of your family in chronological order or do your maternal side first and then your paternal side.
Before putting anything inside your scrapbook, gather your items first and organize them in the way you want them to appear. Not all important memos will fit inside of your scrapbook. For example, your family may have a wedding dress that has been passed around through the generations. The dress won't fit in your scrapbook, but a picture of it will. You can also ask all of your relatives to write down their memories of deceased relatives and add that to your scrapbook as well.
You don't want your pages to be cluttered so make a page for each person to be included in your scrapbook and include all of their details such as when and where they were born, their parents and children, where they lived, a little of their history, any photographs you have of them, and their vital records such as birth and death certificates. Any time you add photographs to your scrapbook try to identify everyone in the photo, not just the person you are researching at the time.
It will probably take several tries to get the layout you like best. You can tailor the layout to each individual or use a template and keep them all the same. If you need ideas, you can find samples online.
You can give your scrapbook a lot of personality by using regular scrapbooking supplies such as patterned paper, die cuts, stickers, clip art, rubber stamps, stencils, and paper punches. These supplies help you put your unique touch on your scrapbook and make if feel more personal to those who look at it in generations to come.
Just be sure to take extra precautions to keep your scrapbook and its contents safe so it will last for many years. You need the right kind of scrapbook, paper, and adhesive. Don't overlook the importance of using the right kind of adhesive. Only buy products that are labeled for archival use and acid free.
You can consider spraying your documents with deacidification spray. The documents themselves might be acidic which can destroy other pages over time. The spray helps to combat this. You may not want to spray delicate old documents however. For them you can use acid free sleeves. This helps to shield the documents from deterioration by light and also keeps your other documents from coming into contact with them.
You can use various colors when decorating our scrapbook, but when writing, it is best to use black. Research has determined that black ink stands up the best over long periods of time when compared to other colors of ink.
Family tree scrapbooking is an activity the whole family can enjoy. Even young kids can help decorate a scrapbook page. While they are having fun, they can learn about their ancestors and family history. Who knows, in years to come, they may even be the ones helping their own children decorate a page to add to the family scrapbook.
Daniel K. Voyles is a genealogy enthusiast. For more great information on family tree scrapbooking visit www.yourgenealogyhistory.com
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