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crafting your own heritage album

by Deborah K. Millemaci
(return to genealogy)

To most of us compiling our family history is a mountain of census forms, family group sheets, vital records etc. But there are innovative ways to present your family history that will be a treasured family legacy that will be passed through succeeding generations. Crafting Your Own Heritage Album is a wonderful book by Bev Kirschner Braun and is valuable resource that will help you to produce an artistic treasure for your family.

Ms. Braun begins with the basics:

Organizing Your Collection & Sorting Options - It is important that your work is organized for easy retrieval and saves you valuable time. Also, how is your information categorized? Do you use a chronological format, or do you compile information for each individual or family?

  • Items to Include - This chapter explains what you can include in your heritage album. Photos, written histories, copies of vital records and mementos are just a few sources you can incorporate into your album.
  • Items to Save - this would include any information that is part of your family�s story (newspaper clippings, school records, birth announcements, etc.)
  • What�s Missing - This section will show you how to locate missing information.
Archival Information - This area covers the importance of using acid-free paper and other products which protect your work. She also discusses paper deterioration, storage and preservation. This would include protecting your photographs, restoration techniques, labeling, and proper storage of photos and negatives.

This next chapter introduces you to The Album. Ms. Braun describes the various albums available and you can design your album according to your needs. She explains the tools you will need to create your album and how to use them. Paper, color, layout & organization are also discussed. Photo techniques combines choosing your best photographs with using original or duplicate photographs. In addition, there is information on Mounting Original Photos, Cropping, Matting Photos, Layouts, and the use of Templates and Panoramic Pages. Borders and Embellishments can also be an integral part of your layout. This section also shows you how to use Memorabilia Pockets, Pocket Pages, and "Keepsake Keepers" - which hold three-dimensional items.

Journaling is a key part of heritage albums and Ms. Braun outlines the tools and writing aids that will help you, as well as provides basic interview questions. She shows how to journal entire pages and how to journal the unpleasant memories in our lives. She also discusses computer journaling and journaling with your genealogical information.

The chapter on Genealogy Basics covers a lot of information we already know about genealogy. She gives insight on Interviewing Relatives, Note Taking, and Places to Search for Information. There is an interesting segment on Early Photographs which takes a look at the history of early photographs and the different processes used for developing which were used as early as the mid 1830�s. Bev also gives you hints on how to determine approximately when your photographs were taken.

The importance of documenting your sources is also addressed as well as providing an overview of the various forms (with samples available), and records used by family historians. In addition, Ms. Braun discusses cemetery research, information contained in newspapers, genealogy software, internet research, ethnic research, and referral for those seeking adoption resources.

Ms. Braun concludes her informative book by presenting a collection of photographs which depict sample pages from her own family heritage album. Additional web sites list some of the top scrapbooking sites on the internet. I found the information presented was concise and easy to follow, and would be an excellent reference for your home library.

©Deborah K. Millemaci - March 2003
No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.


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