In an era where we are inundated which digital images from the present and the recent past it is difficult to work out what to keep, what to organise and how to organise it.
So I thought I’d share something that I did for grandmother when she was alive and that I now for my mother in law at the moment and once I get that up to date I hope to do one for my own 78 year old mother.
I create descendant scrapbooks/picture books as gifts for special occasions, for the elders in my family.
These books are not fancy they are pictures mounted on plain card using family photos, (I found our elders do not like photos on angles or too many embellishments as it makes the pages too busy and distracting, although patterned paper is find)
I made my first one for my grandmother for her 90th birthday . I worked my way through each of her descendants stepping down through each generation. I included wedding photos of every marriage (it gave me an excuse to get the photos, and organise those that I already had) and I used copies of invitations that I had and for those that I didn’t I asked people to send me copies. I also including the wedding notices that I kept over the years.
Then I grouped photos of all the families, where there were gaps I requested them from the families (this took quite a bit of time to organise, but they didn’t have to be formal photos, and there had to be one of the current year and then as many as they had of their children together in a photograph over the years).
The overall layout of the Album
I did the gift recipients wedding first and then her family following the same pattern as outlined below.
When I was laying out each family I would do the following pages:-
- Wedding page or commitment page if there was no wedding for the couple
- A page to show the descendants of the wedded coupled in a 2 or 3 generation descendant tree (so not very big) then I would only include a few who family photos (must include parents and offspring) on that page
- Then one or two following pages photos (that would have the title weeding couple 1 and the kids) which included all the couple’s children in a photograph from when they were born until the present day. The trick was to get current photos of the that year (in this case 2007)
- These families were then arranged in the album according to the mains person descendant tree which was at the front of the album, with each of her children’s family line photos being mounted on different coloured paper stock to try and give the album some sort of coherency.
The overall album was set out as followsSection 1
Introducing the main ancestor
Introducing Mr & Mrs “main couple”
Then the family of Mr & Mrs “main couple”
Then a page of shared memories things/events that I knew Mr & Mrs “main couple” thought were important and where there were lots of family in the photos, but not too many you can always do a live story album at another time.
The next generation down (and I moved sequentially through her children’s children(grandchildren)) using the same format
The beginnings of the 4th generation
The back section
I list all the current postal addresses of all the descendants, and I also list everyone birthdays organised by calendar month, with a notation on how these descendants are related to the gift recipient.
These albums are simple and valued by the gift recipients as memory keepers and brag books to show friends.
At family functions they come out and the children search through them pointing out their own images and looking at their aunts, uncles and parents weddings.
At funerals they become talking points and people flick through them and share memories with each other and talk with fondness of times past.
And yes it is the same album that was given initially updated every five years. And yes I have scanned the images , and the resulting pages, so if someone does spill cake or coffee on the original it doesn’t matter I’ll print out a copy.
What’s important is that it’s being used and history has being both created and shared and the muddle mess that I used to have I can now share or give to others.