Saturday, May 23, 2009

Photographs and Scrapbooks

Hello everyone. In my last blog I tried to give you some ideas for ensuring that future descendants don't destroy all of your precious genalogical papers and hard work. We may be passionate about what we do but our descendants may not be. Karen commented that another way to preserve your papers and photos is to donate them to your local genealogical society. This is an excellent idea if you have a good genealogical society nearby. Your descendants can still look at the records by going to the society's headquarters and the society will make sure that your photos and documents are stored properly and preserved. I think I might do that with my box of documents that includes property deeds, citizenship papers, school records, etc. There's a lot of papers included in this box and I could see a future descendant not wanting to hang onto all of that paperwork. However, I think I'm still going to try to have the Vital Records Binder and One-of-a-Kind Photo Album passed down but I'm going to add to my "Important - Do Not Destroy" label a note to say that if they are not wanted to please donate them to the local genealogical society.

Tracy asked where I got the 3-up Pioneer albums that I use to store my genealogical photographs. I found these at Costco. They came 2 in a pack and were around $18. They hold 300 photos and I like these because there is a space for writing information beside the photos. The only drawback is they are not 3-ring so you cannot add pages or move them around. I haven't seen these recently so I went onto Costco's website and I see they now have 3-ring albums. However, these only hold 200 photos, but,of course, you can add pages. They are $19.99 for a 2-pack which is still a great deal. You can see them on Costco's website.

I definitely prefer to have 3-ring albums. I recently made the switch with my scrapbooks. It makes it so much easier to move things around or add pages later on. I like the cloth ones from American Crafts but there are many others to choose from. The one disadvantage I can see is if you have 2-page spreads that join each other then you would have the rings and separation between the pages. I do 2-page spreads but the space doesn't take away from them so I'm quite happy with these albums. As I mentioned before I keep 2 family history scrapbooks. One for my husbands side of the family and one for mine. The challenge is to tell the whole story but keep them manageable especially as I start to add details of my own life and my children. Which has presented the dilema of which album do I put these in? I'm thinking I may have to start a third album or try to find a way to combine my 2 current albums into one. When I originally started this I had planned to keep no more than 2 family history albums so that it wouldn't be overwhelming for my descendants. I already have issues with my everyday scrapbooking, LOL. I think I now have 10 different albums going. Two baby albums for each of my children, two schoolday albums, a sports album, two vacation albums (with one just for Disneyland) plus one for all our camping trips, a christmas album and an 'everyday' album. And none of these are close to done or up to date! They are all 12x12 albums, so they are large and bulky and don't fit easily on a regular bookcase. As much as my family loves to look at my albums I often wonder if they would really want them all after I'm gone. That's why I've always tried to keep the family history ones down to 2. I do this by not scrapbooking every photo I have. I try to pick only the really special or good ones or the ones that really tell the story. Baby photos, wedding photos, military photos, graduation photos, etc. are the most important. Don't forget photos of old houses, cars, etc. as these really tell the story of the life and times of the people in the photos. I try to include scanned copies of certificates as well. I don't use original heritage photos in my scrapbooks. I scan the photos and have them reprinted. This is also good because you can repair damaged photos and have them printed to the size you want to use.

Below are some of my pages. One is my father-in-laws baby pictures along with his birth certificate. Then there is a 2-page spread of my mother and father in-law. I asked both of them to tell me about their life and then typed up what they had said and included it on the layout. It is important to remember to tell the story. Journaling is just as important as the pictures...but that's another blog. Then there is a 2-page spread I did for my niece when she graduated last year. When I look at these examples I find it interesting to see how much scapbooking has changed and evolved over the years. The 2 pictures of my in-laws were done about 10 years ago. Scrapbooking was a lot simpler back then. I look at these layouts now and think they are rather plain. I think I'm going to have to go through my stash and see if I can embellish them a little before putting them away again. Oh, the woes of a perfectionist scrapbooker LOL.


  1. I'm so glad my comment was helpful!

    Nice scrapbook pages! I prefer simplicity of design -- because I have no sense of design whatsoever!

    Oy, yes, our scrapbooks can take over the house if we're not careful. I've done one of the first year of our grandson's life, one of some of our trips and travels, one of just my husband and me. I'm working on a Disney scrapbook (we live about 2.5 hours from Walt Disney World, and my daughter and I have made several visits, and are going again next month!) I'm also working on a scrapbook of the pets I've had over my lifetime, and need to get started on one about my month in Seville, Spain, researching at the General Archive of the Indies! And then there's the job of being the Historian for the Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society -- rehabbing all their old scrapbooks, some of which date from the 1960s and are an acidic nightmare. Ah, well.

    Do you think there are enough hours in the day?

  2. No, there are never enough hours in the day!!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your work. I too scrapbook some (I do digital scrapbooking) and I like the idea of using 3 ring binders for the pages I've done.

  4. Sue,

    I've been following your blog since I found out about it, and enjoy your writing very much.

    I too have had the heartache of having family history information destroyed. My grandmother remarried, and her step-children decided that it was their responsibility to "clear out" anything they didn't want after my grandmother died - as a result, most of the family history information she had from her family as well as my grandfather's family (marriage #1) "went up in smoke". It is a very bitter pill to swallow...

    I do, however, have two of my grandmother's handwritten journals, and I treasure brings her to life! I need to find some way of conserving those journals, as they are in rather tattered shape...

    Pearl in Vancouver

  5. Pearl, If you read this comment send me an email at I may be able to help you with conserving those journals.