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    Scrapbooking Your Family History

    As I watch my 12-year old granddaughter pour over her photo album, adding pictures and decorative touches, I realize the value of saving one's photos and cataloguing those of past generations. When we began scrapbooking, I also didn't realize it would become such a family affair involving my daughter and granddaughter, sometimes my niece and her daughters.

    Scrapbooking, one of the fastest growing activities or hobbies, draws families closer together as they sort pictures, reminisce about shared events, and research family members and ancestors they only know by photos in albums.

    This ties in, too, with family history writing. You can include in the scrapbook tidbits of family stories or use the photos and decorations to illustrate the stories.

    What is Scrapbooking?

    Some have asked me, "What is scrapbooking?" At first, I thought it was simply pasting photos and/or clippings onto a blank page album, as I'd done as a child. However, in today's world, scrapbooking takes on a whole new meaning as we embellish those scrapbook and photo album pages with many decorative ideas.

    Various companies make archival, acid free and photo safe papers, stickers, pens, stamping inks and glue that will not destroy the items you're saving. Instead they will help you preserve these items.

    By utilizing decorative accompaniments, you can enhance your photos, tell a story with them, include memories about the various occasions. These albums become more than simply a place to paste your photos. You can keep the album pages very simple or greatly enhance them.

    Various Scrapbook Ideas

    Many people use the traditional size scrap book or photo album, about 12 x 12-inch or slightly smaller to which you can add extenders and pages. Others favor a three ring binder type of album.

    However, there are many types of scrapbooks you can use to save your pictures and record family history. Simply make sure they are acid free and photo safe. These can vary in size and binding.

    • Travel journal - In this you might record several trips throughout the years. Or you could keep a photo journal for one trip, using pictures and story.

      I've come across some notes my mom jotted down about a family trip in my childhood. Coincidentally I found a few photos of this trip. This small travel journal could involve my mom's journaling, my memories, and the photos enhanced with scrapbooking decorations.

    • Wedding - Every bride wants an album of her wedding and often they're elaborate ones purchased from the photographer. However, even if you have one of these, you may desire to create smaller, less formal albums for bridal showers, get togethers, and the honeymoon.

    • Special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, family reunions, etc. can be part of an album of one's life. However, these events often take up a scrapbook of their own.

      I've come across memorabilia and pictures from my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary in 1938. With the aid of my daughter and granddaughter, I want to compile this collection into an album that will bring these ancestors "alive" to them, and build upon my memories.

    • School days - A record of school days with report cards, awards, and special papers, along with photos and memories make interesting albums or scrapbooks.

    • Baby's first year - These are very popular and with scrapbooking can be developed into fascinating records.

    • Promotional - If you have a business or profession, you might want an album chronicling this. As an author, I have photos of book signings, workshops, conferences, and writing my books. It's fun to compile these events into a scrapbook.

    • Ancestral - Albums in which you collect pictures, memories, stories, and data of ancestors can take many forms. My mom was a school teacher in a one-room schoolhouse when she married my dad. I have pictures and some of her recorded memories of these days which I want to save in an album that will tell her story.

      An album of the years my husband was an Air Force pilot and our travels during this time will make a record of that era of our life.

      My uncle took pictures of some of his experiences during World War II. Collecting these, along with memorabilia he saved, will chronicle a phase of his life of which he was very proud.

    The types of scrapbooks and photo albums, and the occasions for which you compile them are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

    Online Types of Scrapbooking

    With digital cameras, scanners, and computer printing programs, some scrapbookers are developing online scrapbooks. Those who are doing this say it's fascinating.

    Some scrapbookers first save their memories on paper, then digitize them and put them on CDs.

    I teach classes online and off about writing one's family history and scrapbooking and find this an enjoyable way to help others save their family stories.

    Copyright © 2003 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen researches and writes her family stories and helps others do this, too. She also can provide you with information about obtaining scrapbooking supplies. In "When We Become the Parent to Our Parents," she chronicles her mother's journey through Alzheimer's. Visit her web site at

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

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