Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heritage Family Photo Albums or Scrapbooking

In addition to filling in the family history charts, you may also like to portray your ancestors' life(ves) in a scrapbook. David goes strictly for the information, however, I enjoy the stories about my ancestors too – what they were like, who they were, their occupations, how they felt about things, what the world like at that time they lived, and so forth. I also like timelines.

To the left is a HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED! chart I picked up at a scrapbook convention by C.K.Clips (to enlarge, click on photo). The example is one I happened to pick up for our son's scrapbook. In the center I will place a birth photo above his birth year. Around the perimeter of the page are the events pertinent to the year he was born such as the popular songs and television shows, films, newsworthy events, the President and Vice-President serving the year he was born, record-breaking sporting events, cost of living, and other stuff. There are websites online that cater to lists of events that happen each year. Scrapbooks are also a great place to store copies of birth certificates in pocket pages, a time-line of their life, favorite poetry, school memories, marriage photos, a mini copy of their wedding certificate, their children's photos, shots of their homes and cars, a copy of a completed family tree or chart and perhaps a photo of their gravestone. Be sure to use acid-free, lignin-free paper, pens/markers, and plastic sleeves to keep your information bright and readable for many years to come. DO NOT use those cheap magnet photo albums as your photos will deteriorate/fade over time.
To purchase a decent photo album, you may check your local craft store for supplies such as Hobby Lobby, Joanns, Michael's, etc. I started with Creative Memories as that is what my sister sold at the time I learned to scrapbook. There is no right way to decorate a photo album/scrapbook page, except to use acid-free materials. One may spend as little or a lot for decorations such as scrapbook paper, punches, stamps or stickers. The sales clerk can show you the things you'll need to purchase at first and some shops even have how-to classes if you feel you need extra help. There are a wealth of decorating ideas out there in magazines, books (craft stores, scrapbook stores, regular bookstores, library) and online.

Family History Charts

You'll find charts that one needs to begin family research with at this website Midwest Genealogy Research Center .

The first is a RESEARCH CHECKLIST with the types records that one can check X as you find information on your ancestors.

Begin at the beginning with your ancestor's name. Then document where they were born, married, and died and the locations for each – gleaned from family Bibles, family interviews, birth certificates, birth announcements, doctor or hospital records, church baptism/christening records, adoption papers, scrapbooks/diaries/journals/logs, saved letters, marriage license/certificates, church district or ministerial records, divorce decrees, county records, county historical society books, death certificates, funeral home records, newspaper announcements/obituaries clippings, cemetery/gravestone records, wills, etc.

Next check the US CENSUS RECORDS. Each state has census records county by county. If you know approximately where they may have lived, check the census & copy those records. Other documentation may be found in family Christmas card address books, church membership records & service bulletins, club membership records, land records, military records, photo albums, probate records, tax lists, telephone directories, voting records, etc. If they emigrated from overseas, you may be able to locate passenger lists. Historical societies/museums might have exhibits showcasing your ancestor(s) in the area (s)he lived. Information can be found off-line at research libraries/archives and on the internet too. As for the internet, make sure they cite sources as you are doing.  List title, author, date of publication and page number. If it's reference material found only at a certain location, note that also.

Next chart is the FAMILY UNIT CHART. This is a fill-in-the-blank chart for the information you found for your ancestor. You will need one for each family unit with descendants. Be sure to fill the chart in pencil as you might need to change information as you find it. If you don't have a computer program, it is handy to organize your family charts in a file folder or a 3-ring binder notebook. A good supply of pencils, an eraser, a pencil sharpener, a filing system, small spiral notebook, tote bag, change purse (photocopies), a camera, water bottle, white cotton gloves, and a hole punch comes in handy when out doing family research field trips. A county cemetery map, walking shoes, bug spray, camera, scissors or hand gardening snips & soft bristle brush are great to have along when visiting cemeteries. A recording device is also helpful during family interviews. David finds much of his information at family reunions and later fills in the blanks with records not available at the reunion. Many bring extra copies of old photos to swap and show and tell their family scrapbooks. I have written many snail-mail letters/emails to family members that I cannot visit in person, sometimes enclosing a photocopy of the family unit chart to indicate the information I want or to check to see what I have is correct. DO NOT send your original copies—you may never get them back.

Third is the SIX GENERATION CHART. Let's see how far back you can go. Start with yourself at the far left hand side, fill in your information, your father and mother, and your grandparents, great-grandparents and so forth towards the right side. On our computer program we have such a chart, but with an addition -- cropped head/bust photos can be inserted along with information which can be printed out.
For those who enjoy puzzles, this is a giant one! =0)
Enjoy and happy hunting!