I have always liked to be occupied creating something. As a kid I was always coloring something and my grandparents always would comment on how content I was to sit and color for hours and hours. Though I certainly do not have the free time that I did back then I still feel the call to be creative. Over the years I have tried so many things: painting, photography, sewing, embroidery, weaving potholders, writing stories, and most recently scrapbooking. I have a lovely stack of scrapbooks of my own as well as those made by my Grandma Alford. Hers include pictures of my dad as a kid and all his grade cards, Boy Scout Badges, certificates of merit, graduation announcements, and newspaper clippings. It’s clear that she loved my dad and was so proud of all of his achievements. Unlike the scrapbooks of today though you have to read between the lines and learn for yourself about the person who made the book as well as the person it is about. I had my own old scrapbook stored away and it had programs from my dance recitals, handmade cards from my brother, notes from friends, and my own scrawled notes. It makes me smile, but certainly not something that I would show off to family or friends.
In 2000 I was introduced to the latest in scrapbooking methods through a Creative Memories home show. Boy was I sucked in! There is nothing like a pretty scrap of paper, stickers, and photographs to draw in the crafty of heart. I bought my first album and some basic paper cutters and soon I was scouring the shelves of JoAnn’s, Michael’s, Archiver’s, and Hobby Lobby for the latest deals. When I get into a hobby I tend to go a bit overboard and this was no exception. It is easy to get caught up in spending hours in getting a page “just so”, but really it is about capturing your memories and sharing with others. Check out this picture of the page that I did as a tribute for my maternal grandmother.
Nowadays I find that I can go months (or even a year) before I pick up my scrapbooking supplies and dig in to updating them with my latest photographs. Part of the reason I do not do it as often is because my newest hobby is GENEALOGY RESEARCH. Yes, it takes up most of my free time. All the same, I know that years from now I’ll wish I had written down of that wonderful vacation that I took with my sweetie up in Maine. Why didn’t I put those photos in of my little sister’s wedding? It just may be time to sit back down and get all those supplies out front and center. After all, I need to scrapbook my genealogy finds too! Below is a tree that I filled in for my family history scrapbook. I also made a family group sheet for my mom’s family. I’ve wiped out some of the details to protect their privacy.Have you been keeping up with your own scrapbook? Would you like to start one for your family history? There are some great family history packets out there and some stores even sell loose sheets with a simple pedigree chart or a tree you can fill in. Below are a couple of cool products I was able to get my hands on that I thought you might enjoy. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of kits available.
© The Jen Alford 2012
Jennifer Alford is the author of Jewish Genealogy, a monthly column in The In-Depth Genealogist which highlights techniques and resources for those interested in Jewish research. Jennifer can be found blogging at Jen-Gen’s Family Research Blog.