Category Archives: Archiving

New Family Tree

Family TreeAs I promised in my previous post, I will be sharing more about digital storytelling in a future post, but I wanted to share that I have found a family tree sitebuilder I’m excited about. My cousin Rick Zeutenhorst uses it on his site. I really liked the look of my cousin’s site, and based on his recommendation, I decided to get it for two reasons:

  • Having a site in the cloud will make it easier for me when I migrate. I know I can save gedcoms from software programs, and I have done so in the past, but I have also lost things in the transition, and I think this solution will work for me as well. I can back it up so that I always have a copy of my data, should losing data ever become a worry.
  • At this point, the only place I have my data is Ancestry.com, and there may come a day I don’t want to use the site anymore (right now, I’m happy with it, and I obtain tons of information quite easily that I would have to spend a great deal more money to obtain). It’s probably not a good idea to put all my genealogical eggs in one basket, though.

In addition to these two reasons, I also like the idea of having control. I have set living individuals to “private,” but collaborating family members can register for an account.

I opted to start building from scratch rather than using a gedcom because over time, I know errors have crept into my Ancestry tree, and untangling the errors seems to me to be a more daunting task, if you can believe it, than starting over.  I also will be able  to standardize conventions for dates and place names if I start over. Starting over allows me to be careful and cite sources for information as I work. I am a much more careful and thorough genealogist than I was when I started. I will admit it—I fell prey to the lure of looking for famous ancestors in my tree and often attached unproven connections that appeared uncited in other trees.

I know starting over is a lot of work, but it will prevent me from introducing errors and will allow me to go slowly. As such, the tree is a little spare at the moment. Rest assured I will be adding people, and if you have information to contribute, feel free to contact me.

Some things I really like about the sitebuilding software, which is called TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, are the ways in which photographs are handled and the “Most Wanted” feature. I have really only just begun to explore the possibilities. The site is easy to manage after a small learning curve. The most difficulty I had with it was my original upload didn’t work, so I had to re-upload it to my site. I happen to feel comfortable with managing the back-end of my site, but others’ mileage may vary on that score.

You can view the family tree by clicking this link or by clicking the permanent link in the menu at the top of the page.

The Civil War

Civil War buffs (and genealogists who like to see Civil-War era photos) will appreciate this video:

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Scrapbooking Your Family History

Scrapbooking is a very popular hobby. Many scrapbooking enthusiasts create scrapbooks to document events in the lives of their children, vacations, or other special occasions. Genealogy is a tailor-made subject for scrapbooks. Scrapbooking photographs and other mementoes is an excellent way to preserve family history for generations to come. In addition, it is an attractive way to gather information from records, histories, photographs, and other items essential to preserving family history.

Many scrapbooking companies now create product lines just for family history scrapbooks. Try looking in the scrapbooking section of your local craft store or visit one of the many scrapbooking stores. Some alphabet stickers and stamps have been designed to match antique photographs. Special papers and other embellishments can also be found.

A note about materials: in times past, folks used to tape, glue, or rubber cement photographs into albums. These materials are damaging to photographs. Make sure all paper you use is acid-free and lignin-free so that your photos will not be harmed. Use inks that are acid-free, archive quality. Make sure you use glue that is made for scrapbooking, too. Some glues can harm your photographs. There are a wide variety of archive quality glues available. Your safest bet is to choose all materials from the scrapbooking section of your craft store.

Scrapbook pages generally come in two sizes: 12 x 12 inches or 8½ X 11. I prefer to use 12 x 12 pages, which allow more room for creativity. I have also found a wider selection of papers and scrapbooks available in this size. Papers come in a variety of colors. Family history embellishments are often in sepia tones. I have found that these tones look very nice with sepia photographs. However, you are only limited by your creativity. For example, my husband gave me a picture of himself that his grandmother had labeled “Almost two” on the reverse. This is what I did with the picture:

Almost Two

I found some red paper with an interesting texture for the accents and cut out a four-inch strip to run along the side. I found an embellishment that was literally a photgraph of overalls — it was on photo paper. If I had wanted to get really interesting, I might have been able to find an old pair of the kids’ overalls to cut. I trimmed the parts of the photograph I wouldn’t need. I glued the red paper on top of 12 x 12 navy blue card stock, then glued the overall picture on top of the red paper, aligning the edges. I cut out a “frame for the photograph,” glued the frame to the cardstock, and then glued the photo to the frame. I cut out a small piece of paper and stamped “Almost Two” in dark blue ink. I found a cowboy hat embellishment and glued that near the title of the page. It was one of the first scrapbook pages I did.

If you don’t feel very creative, there are a number of scrapbooking magazines and materials that demonstrate how to create layouts. All you need to do is copy the layout.

Suggestions for inclusion:

  • A family tree
  • Recipes
  • Histories and/or biographies
  • Photograph stories
  • Birth, death, marriage, and other vital records
  • Baptismal, confirmation, bar/bat mitzvah records

It is a good idea to handwrite some of the information in your scrapbook. It lends a personal touch, and the generations that follow may appreciate having an heirloom in your own handwriting.

Here are some more samples from my Family History scrapbook:

Glamour Girl

For this page, I used archive paper designed to look like an old newspaper, not an actual newspaper. Newspaper is made on low quality paper with low quality ink (which is why it fades and smudges so easily). If you want to save a newspaper article in a scrapbook, I would suggest making sure it doesn’t touch photographs or other mementoes. Be aware that there might not be much you can do to preserve the newpaper’s quality, but you might try techniques mentioned here and here. I glued the picture of my great-grandmother to the paper, then I cut a small piece of brown paper and hand-lettered the words “Glamour Girl,” copying letters from a computer font. Then I hand wrote “Lucille Inez Willis, age 13, 1927.” I glued the brown pieces of paper above and below the photograph.

Uniforms

This is a very special picture of my great-grandfather, Herman, and his son (my great-uncle Alvin). Alvin had joined the Army in WWII, and my great-grandfather pulled out his WWI uniform. They posed in their respective uniforms for this picture. You may be able to tell that the background paper I chose for this has a military theme. I used a dark brown card stock for the frame. I cut out the frame and glued the picture to it, then I glued it down on the scrapbook paper. Then I spelled out the word “Uniforms” in old-fashioned alphbet stickers onto a piece of the dark brown card stock. Then I trimmed the card stock around the letters and glued it to the page. For embellishments, I chose a postcard sticker written in French “Carte Postale” and handwrote “Herman and Alvin Cunningham — World War Veterans circa 1941.” I placed the sticker on the page. Finally, I found a sticker of a French stamp and put it near the bottom of the page. I chose the French postcard and stamp because much of both World Wars were fought in France. I do not know that Alvin was in France in WWII, but I know Herman was in WWI.

Paper Dolls

For this page, I found two pictures of my mother and her paper dolls. I created a paper doll out of card stock and made a dress for the doll with a different color and some stickers. I spelled out the words “Paper Dolls” using old-fashioned looking alphabet stickers and placed all the items on the page at angles.

Jennings

For this page, I created frames out of parchment card stock. I glued the photos to frames and embellished them with button stickers. I spelled out the Jennings name and year in old-fashioned alphabet stickers. I am not certain about this day, by the way; John B. Jennings and Lucinda Fannie Curry married in 1865 and he was killed in 1875. I split the difference. If anyone has a correction for me, don’t hesitate to let me know. It is an easy matter for me to correct the date. Often, scrapbooking stickers are easy to peel off without damaging paper or photos underneath.

Here are some resources for scrapbooking your family history:

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