Happy Sunday! My name is Melissa (yzerbear19) and I am really excited to talk about two of my favorite hobbies: scrapbooking and researching my family’s history. I love combining the two, but it can be a challenge at times without pictures to use or documents that are poor quality. I want to provide a few tips on how you can scrap your family’s history.
I started researching my family’s history in September 2009 using Ancestry.com . I highly recommend Ancestry.com for anyone interesting in researching their family’s history. You can sign up for a free two week trial. There is so much information there. You can create your own family tree for free, but to review any hints or documents you will need a membership. Another great site to find information at is FamilySearch.org . This is a completely FREE site and I have found some incredible documents here such as the death certificate for my Great-Uncle Bruce who was killed when he was only 4 years old.
I knew from the beginning of my search that I wanted to learn more about my Dad’s side of the family. I already knew quite a bit about my Mom’s side of the family so I tried to focus my research on my Dad’s side, particularly my Great-Grandma Frieda. When I started researching my family all I knew was her name and that she died when my Grandpa Paul was a little boy. It took some time and patience, but eventually some key information from a distant cousin on Ancestry.com helped me to answer some of the questions I had about Frieda. I scrapped the story in this layout, “Uncovering the Past.” I used a screen capture of my Ancestry.com family tree as well as an old photograph my Mom had found while cleaning.
When scrapbooking my family history layouts I love to use vintage feeling embellishments – old papers, postcards, keys, film negatives, lace, doilies, etc as well as natural elements like flowers and leaves.
In April 2012 my Mom, my sister Melinda, and I went to La Porte, Indiana in search of more information about Frieda. From my distant cousin I had learned where she was buried, but still didn’t know how or when she had died. Our first stop of the trip was the La Porte County Historical Museum which had a genealogy research room. I had hoped that they would have copies of obituaries and I was in luck! I scrapped the discoveries I made in this layout “Finding Frieda.”
With this layout I recreated the marriage registry and obituary. I wasn’t allowed to copy or photograph the original marriage registry so I copied it down exactly like it was in the book so I could recreate it in Photoshop when I got home. It isn’t the original document, but it’s pretty darn close. I used a font that was similar to the original so that it would look as closely like the original as possible. I had the copy of Frieda’s obituary that we got from the historical museum, but it was really poor quality and wouldn’t scan well. I decided that in order to use it on my layout that it would be better to recreate it. I typed up the text and formatted it the same way and used a similar font. I then created a paper that looked like newsprint and grunged the edges a bit to make it look a little worn. I again wanted the journaling to be the focus.
Inspired by all the new discoveries I was making I actually created a whole genealogy inspired kit called “Find Your Roots”. I used that kit for this layout, “The Harrold Family.” One of my favorite pieces from the kit is the Family Group Sheet. I loved how it turned out and it allowed me to put all of the key genealogical information I had for my Mom’s family on my layout and it doesn’t make it look crowded. This is a layout that I can print out and put in my genealogy binder or frame to hang in my home. I plan to do a similar layout for my Dad’s side of the family.
The Harrold Family
Another item I created for my kit was a pedigree chart. I created this layout with that pedigree chart. It looks so much prettier than the ones I’ve printed from my Family Tree Making program. Again it is something I can print out and display.
My Pedigree Chart
If you are lucky enough to have an original document that is of a good quality, be sure to use that. With this layout I used the images I have of the 1940 census for my maternal grandparents. The journaling includes some of the interesting facts I learned from the 1940 census.
The Harrold family in 1940
Here are some tips for scrapping your family’s history:
1. Focus on the story. Use this as a way to document the journey of finding your family. You don’t need photos or documents. Let the story be the star. Part of the fun of researching your family’s history is the search, of finding that elusive relative or document, so be sure to tell that part of the story as well.
2. Use vintage inspired elements. My favorite elements to use are old looking papers, envelopes, postcards, tickets, labels, etc. Natural elements are also a great choice. I really love using pressed like flowers like your ancestors would have used in their own scrapbooks.
3. Use genealogy documents like pedigree charts and family group sheets on your layouts. Often when you print these documents from a family tree program they are quite boring looking and just a bunch of facts, but you can provide the same information on your layout and have it look so much more interesting.
4. Recreate documents when necessary. If you have a document that you want to use but the quality is too poor, the writing illegible, or you can’t photograph it, use your scrapping skills to recreate it. Use a worn looking piece of paper and add your text. Use an old typewriting font. Use spills to make the paper look more worn and old. Try using different blending options to get different effects.
5. Have fun!
I went through the store here at ScrapMatters and found some great vintage kits and elements:
- Saturday Flea Market by Amy Stoffel (LINK: http://shop.scrapmatters.com/saturday-flea-market.html)
- Unforgettable design team collab (LINK: http://shop.scrapmatters.com/unforgettable.html)
- Vintage postcards by Amy Stoffel (LINK: http://shop.scrapmatters.com/vintage-postcards.html)
- Vintage bits 1 by Amy Stoffel (LINK: http://shop.scrapmatters.com/vintage-bits-1.html)
- Vintage office papers by Amy Stoffel (LINK: http://shop.scrapmatters.com/vintage-office-papers.html)
- Sentiments of Yesterday by Amy Stoffel and Creations by Rachael (LINK: http://shop.scrapmatters.com/sentiments-of-yesterday-by-amy-stoffel-and-creations-by-rachael.html)
I hope the tips I have given will help you to start scrapping your family’s history! You can visit my blog for more tips and ideas.