Heritage Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking Your Family History

My last post started with brainstorming ideas for ways to record family histories that didn’t include lots of writing. Scrap booking seemed to hold the most promise & flexibility. I should confess at the outset that my one and only attempt involved cutting & pasting pictures of Elvis Presley! The result wasn’t pretty but I guess it reflected the effort I gave it! This time I will remember that “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

3 Types OF Heritage Scrapbooking

  1. Scrapbooking your family tree can take many forms. The oldest form of scrapbooking made use of various types of paper craft. If you lack ideas Googling mages, “Victorian Scrapbooking” will either prove inspirational or, as in my case, admit defeat! Many “crafting scrappers” take a more simple approach but the Victorian legacy is still there. Paper crafting skills are the building block although ready made options are easily sourced.
  2. The latest development in scrapbooking your family history involves computers! For those of us who lack the digital skills to paper craft Digital Scrapbooking is our salvation. There are two reasons I chose this option. Firstly, my gluing sticking and pasting skills are limited to working with my grand-daughter (who has been know to comment that “I’m not doing it right!”) Secondly, living on a boat where storage is minimal my laptop takes up much less space.
  3. Hybrid Scrapbooking. As the name suggests hybrid scrapbooking is a combination of the two. In the gallery you will see that “Siblings: Then & Now” shows how hybrid scrapbooking can use the best of both options.

The Right Way To Get Started

An open book showing photographs on a layout using ribbons, cards and heritage scrapbooking material.
Heritage Scrapbooking
  1. Planning your layout for scrapbooking is not an optional extra. One of the obvious differences between scrapbooking your family history and writing your family history is in how your material is put together. When I make a mistake with my writing I simply hit “delete”. And, when it comes to adding and removing photos, I can “drag & drop” to my hearts content.
  2. Keep an open mind about layouts. Many of the scrapbook examples I’ve seen have used vintage themes with ribbons, pressed flowers and scrolly borders. However, it’s not compulsory! The same applies to Digital Scrapbooking. The Canva example may show breeds of dogs so you will have to engage your imagination to see wedding dresses!
  3. Take your time in sourcing materials. Bargains are out there if you wait for the right time to pounce. Paper crafts and bargain bins seem to go together. Digital software may cost a little more but from my experience there are more than enough free options out there.
  4. If scrapbooking your family history is a new venture then my advice to you is, “Be gentle!” Start with a small project that really interests you.
  5. Keep in mind that while you may be focusing on recording the past but you are living in a time that will be the past for your great-grandchildren!
  6. When you put these first two tips together there is no reason you can’t start with your own generation. My favourite would be, “Family Weddings” For this project there will be no shortage of photos which usually includes large group photos of different parts of your family tree.
  7. Record information that is specific to your family. Did anyone travel from overseas or does a particular family group have unique family traditions. Searching local newspaper archives can turn up surprising results. Sporting awards, political involvement or community activities shine a light on our ancestors that allow us to get a glimpse of the person behind the “dates”. Be prepared for the unexpected though. Archived newspapers have not changed that much over the years. My Great-great Grandfather, Theophilus Adcock, made the news, in the police records! Still, without this misdemeanor I would never have “known” him at all.
  8. Remember to add names and dates. “Grandma’s Birthday” is not going to help future family history researchers.

Try These Easy Scrapbooking Ideas

If you are starting with your immediate family then you can’t go wrong with “Siblings Through Time”. Framing the finished product also makes for a very personal gift for those hard to buy for members of your family.

One page of scrapbooking showing young siblings and the same siblings many years on. Labeled "Now & Then"
Scrapbooking Siblings In Your Family History

Really you are only limited by your imagination, personal interests and in the beginning, the memorabilia you have to hand. To begin with this will include photographs, postcards, letters etc. so it makes sense to start here

A poster image showing a scrapbooking idea showing a family history through weddings. There are 3 images of wedding couples for the years, 1937, 1970 and 2010
A Family History Of Weddings

The second easy option is the “Family Wedding”. Placing your Grandmother, your parents & yourselves on a single page is only the start. Other pages could include the different cars for each era, venues and fashion all add historical reference to simply adding the “date of marriage” to your family tree.

To avoid any gender bias in this post I have given some thought to less obvious ideas that would add to your family history.

Looking through my own photographs I was surprised at the number of times I was pictured sitting in or on cars. From my first little Mini to my rather old sports car to an equally older campervan I could recall my family history through each of my purchases. Now, if you have a car enthusiast in the family or better still through the generations you won’t have any difficulty in filling up a page. You can research prices of the car, fuel and journeys made to add that all important historical context.

A collage of three images used for heritage scrapbooking. Showing a bricklayer, trowell and volkswagon.
Working Through History

Many of you may have photographs that aren’t really celebrations but are no less worthy of a place in your heritage scrapbook. The type of work our ancestors did may be far removed from where you are now or, on the other hand, it may show an historical continuation. This page is more than a bricklayer at work. His tools and a vehicle from that era are just as important to future generations of your family.

Gallery For Scrapbooking Ideas

My Favourite Three Sites For Heritage Scrapbooking

https://www.canva.com/ This is my go to for Digital Scrapbooking. Simply add “scrapbooking” in the search options on the home page and you are ready to go. My advice is to fiddle around with changing fonts, colours and images and then just start. I tend to focus more when I’m working on an end product so my “fiddling” stage is usually short!

https://www.craftonline.com.au As I don’t use these products I am relying on contacts who have recommended this site. I have no affiliation to it so do your own research please.

https://www.thoughtco.com/scrapbooking-your-family-history-1420758 This is a super easy site to use and I do recommend it for beginners. Again I have no affiliation with it.

We don’t own our family history. We simply preserve it for the next generation.

Rosemary Alva

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