Crafting Genealogy: We’re Not Calling it Scrapbooking It’s Memory Keeping Updated! 1

Welcome back! This time in Crafting Genealogy we're going to collect our photos, our memories and put them in a scrapbook, but this isn't the scrapbooking you may remember from a few years back! Nope this process doesn't involve the overwhelming task of creating works of art for one photo on one scrapbook page. Today's scrapbooking is much simpler and doesn't even require adhesive if you don't want it to! The crafting world calls it #ProjectLife. I call it fun and easy.

My variation of #ProjectLife is getting photos into an album with as much journaling about the photo(s) as you want. It's your preference there isn't a wrong way to do this. The main objective is to get our pictures off our memory card and into albums where everyone can enjoy them.

Here's the supplies we're going to need:

  • 8”x8” photo album – It can be a two ring binder type or a post-bound album. It can also be another size like 12”x12” album but I want to start out small and work up from here.
  • Refill pages that fit your album. I bought one refill package with pages that held two 6”x4” pics and another package for four 4”x4” photos.
  • ProjectLife journaling cards – I used a coupon* and bought a small box of these but I also have tons of scrapbook paper and cut some of my own journaling cards into 6”x4” and 4”x4” sizes.
  • Photos – All photos I used here have been scanned and saved to my genealogy file on my laptop.
  • Pen (for journaling)
  • Paper cutter, corner rounder (optional)
©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

So the first thing I did was decide what photos I wanted to use. I chose my childhood pics to put in this album. Once I gathered them all together I put them in chronological order. From there it was choosing what album refill pages to use. I eyeballed the size of my photos and put them accordingly in the album pages I bought. My childhood pics are all sizes from 4”x3” to 5”x5” and some 6”x4” scattered in.

Now the best part of this is just sliding your pics in the page openings. No adhesive, no gluing. I chose to slide a journaling card behind some of the smaller pics to give them a background and take up some room but you don't have to. I also used my corner-rounder and rounded the corners on all the scrapbook papers/journaling cards I cut. Since the few journaling cards I bought had rounded corners it gave them the same appearance throughout my album but that's optional.

©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

Cut your own journaling cards from scrapbook paper ©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

On each page I left a photo opening for a journaling card to write about the pics on that page. All pics have at least the people in the photo and approximate dates journaled. My mom (God bless her) did put names and dates on the back of many of my baby pics. Those without dates I gave my best educated guess. If you look closer at a couple of the pages, I printed the photo info on labels and placed them close to the pic. I did that as an additional journaling option for you. Actually I think we should hand write all this info into our albums even if we think we have terrible handwriting (I know I do). I'm sure future generations will be happy to see our actual writing especially from this high-tech era we live in.

©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

Just slide your photos and journaling cards into the openings. ©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

I also believe it's really important to journal as you insert your photos. Besides names, dates, places add whatever tidbits of info you remember. Get it written down. I have a family photo of me, my parents and five siblings taken about 25 years ago. No date, no idea why we were all together and the pic was taken at my house!!! I'm sure I thought I'd never forget this occasion (especially since I hosted it) so I didn't write it on the photo. Ugh! My guess is that we were celebrating my parent's wedding anniversary, looking at how we're dressed and the time of year but that's just a guess. So write as much info down as you can! If you have a lot of information try slipping a card slightly smaller with the information behind the pic. Or your journaling card can be folded in two and slipped in the album. Just don't lose that valuable family memory.

Now the great part of this scrapbooking is you don't need to glue anything down. I can always pull these pics out of the page if needed. Especially if I want to see my mom's hand writing on the back. I will say when I put together an album of current photos I usually adhere them to the background card. Since they're digital pics to begin with I can get an exact copy made easily, which of course I can't do with the old photos.

Another thought would be to use the full size 8”x8” page that comes with your album to add your children's art work, larger photos, certificates, etc. to your album.

©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

©Cindy Freed 2014; used with permission

A nice option with this type of scrapbooking is that you don't need to labor over lay-outs and try to be more creative with each page. You can put photos in an album, with journaling which adds a little bit of flair. Yet if you want to be more creative with your journaling cards you can. If you have a stash of scrapbook supplies add some of your rub-ons, stickers or ribbon to your journaling cards. The amount of time and effort involved is up to you.

This type of scrapbooking also makes a great gift. My genea-buddy sister and I made a scrapbook for our older sister celebrating her 75th birthday. The two of us spent two evenings putting together pages of photos with journaling through her 75 years for her scrapbook. She loved it. Her children loved it. I'll bet we were thanked a dozen times for this gift.

So what I'm hoping you'll do is print your Instagram photos (4”x4”), your cell phone pics, the photographs on your memory card and get those family moments in an album for everyone to enjoy. Journal about them. Don't we all wish our great grandparents had done that with their photos? You'll love your finished albums, your family will love them and your great grandchildren will one day have a precious family heirloom.

Have fun Crafting Genealogy!

* I always use my 40% off whether I'm at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnne's, etc.

P.S. For additional ideas and inspiration just Google #ProjectLife. There are lots of images, blogs and tips to help with your album.



Cindy Freed

About Cindy Freed

Cindy Freed is a genealogist, researcher and writer. Her blog Genealogy Circle ( documents her personal family research as well as her continuing interest in the Civil War. Along with her monthly IDG column, Tracing Blue and Gray, Cindy is a regular contributor to 4th Ohio, First Call quarterly magazine for the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Descendants Association.

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One thought on “Crafting Genealogy: We’re Not Calling it Scrapbooking It’s Memory Keeping Updated!

  • Colleen

    Cindy, I suggest using archival safe refill pages if you are using original photos. Any glue, tape, pens or papers should also use archival safe if those are original rather than copies of photographs.