I know a lot has been written in the last year or so about the marriage of genealogy to scrapbooking. As a certified creative klutz, I’ve steered clear of doing much scrapbooking; however, a package created by my aunt changed that.
Aunt Helen, my dad’s sister, put together a kind of genealogical “grab bag” —a collection of photos, marriage certificates, calling cards, and her own memories of childhood. Her stories were in no particular order and without continuity, but for me they were treasures. They put flesh and blood on a grandfather who died when I was less than a year old, and introduced me to a side of my grandmother I’d never heard anyone talk about—she wrote poetry.
Aunt Helen’s package made me start thinking about the fate of all those wonderful family stories once I’m gone. Who will remember great-grandma’s hollyhocks, mom’s story about grandpa being robbed on the highway, or great-aunt Dollie’s butter and radish sandwiches?
The longer I thought about it, the more I realized I want to preserve family stories in more than a facts-and-figures “genealogy.” I want the photos, words, mementos, and personal remembrances that make each of us real. So, I went to two scrapbooking stores, bought some supplies, and last night began working on pages about my dad’s brief service during World War II.
Dad was drafted in May, 1944, was wounded in France in November, and then was sent home (after seven different hospital stays) the following spring. I have his original induction notice, his discharge papers, reams of correspondence about his wound-related disability and a postcard he sent to mom from O’Reilly General Hospital in Springfield, Mo. My brother Mark has dad’s Purple Heart, but I found a photo of one online to include in my pages. The image above shows some of these items—click on it to see an enlarged view.
If you’d like to learn more about heritage scrapbooking, check out the great books over at Family Tree Magazine‘s bookstore. I especially recommend Crafting Your Own Heritage Album, Scrapbook Storytelling, and Scrapbooking Your Family History.
Web sites with additional help are:
• Memory Makers Magazine
• Simple Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook Pages
• So You Wanna Try Scrapbooking
• How to Begin Your Scrapbook Hobby