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Scrapbooking Your Family Tree

Every once in a while I come across a subject that I have never delved into and I am surprised by how extensive and wide spread the activity is being enjoyed by the mainstream public. Such a subject is scrapbooking.


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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Alan Smith
Word Count: 545 (approx.)
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Every once in a while I come across a subject that I have never delved into and I am surprised by how extensive and wide spread the activity is being enjoyed by the mainstream public. Such a subject is scrapbooking. I have written about writing memoirs and family history from several angles, but by far scrapbooking is a unique and creative method of presenting one's family history. The advantages of disseminating family history through scrapbooking are: (1) the ability to use different mediums, heirlooms, and bits and pieces of the past which would otherwise not fit into other formats; (2) a fun and light-handed approach which often can tell your story without being stuffy or literary;(3) the use of objects and items which would otherwise be hidden from view in a box or some other container; and (4) to a degree, it supplants the need to be an accomplished writer.

There are numerous kinds of things which can be pressed on pages that can illustrate a much more personal side to one's family history. Often the objects chosen have significant and sentimental value to the creator of the scrapbook. Some items, such as photos and documents can be the original sources of family lore, and thus a scrapbook can become a depository of family relics.

If you are queasy about cutting out images from their original stock, like old postcards, photos and other commercial artwork, you can make copies of the originals and use digital scrapbooking techniques to create interesting collages which can reflect a period of time or a portion of the family tree. Scrapbooking allows many uses for that old lace and ribbon from long gone by-years, and scrapbooking fits beautifully with old photos from the newspaper of locations long since leveled. Portions of hobbies, like Uncle Fred's stamp collection, or campaign paraphernalia from Aunt Lizzie's run for mayor can be used as separate themes.

The sky is the limit as to how imaginative and creative one can be in scrapbooking the family history. Many icons, like a picture of a majestic oak tree, can be used to silhouette a family tree. Real pressed or artificial leaves can be used as frames around individuals of your family tree.

Historical events, like the Depression, wars, city-wide fires, epidemics, etc., which impacted your family can be culled from history books and set in a streaming timeline. A collection of an individual's pictures from kindergarten to high school can adorn a full page, noting how such a person's physical features changed.

There are many sources available on the Internet and from businesses which supply paper, tools, examples, expertise, and advice on scrapbooking. Such sites as and have exotic paper, cardstock, and articles for your project. In addition, has everything you need to know for the novice to get started. Scrapbooking has made major strides from a cute hobby to professional designer contests, published national magazines, and big conventions. By using software such as Photoshop and other powerful photo software, one can create digital scrapbooks which can be placed on CDs.

Scrapbooking is a brave new world where the researcher can express his or her creative side and produce the family history in a whole new, exciting and entertaining way.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2008.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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