Heritage Scrapbooking 8

Picture of Scrapbooking Supplies

A portion of the author's personal collection of scrapbooking supplies.


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.


Tribute to Grandma Morse

Photograph of the author's personal scrapbook page tribute to her grandmother.

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.

Photograph of Family Group page

Photograph of the author's scrapbook page with a family grouping.


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.

About Jennifer Alford

Jennifer Alford is a writer, artist, and genealogy professional specializing in research in Jewish genealogy and the Midwest. As the owner of Jenealogy (www.jenalford.com) she creates engaging family history treasures to enhance the bond between generations. The love of photography, storytelling, and history combine in her blog and unique products. As part of The In-Depth Genealogist's Leadership Team, Jen is Publisher of IDG's monthly magazine, Going In-Depth.

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8 thoughts on “Heritage Scrapbooking

  • Kathryn Lake Hogan

    Greetings Jen,
    You are not alone in your gene-scrapbooking hobby. I got sucked in about the same time you did. I love Creative Memories. Like you, I don’t have the time to scrapbook as often as I would like.
    Perhaps we need to organize a Midwest Geneascrapbookers week-end?
    ~ Kathryn

  • Debbie

    I could have written this myself! I have an entire (dusty) closet of scrapbooking stuff and my poor 6 year old son is still a newborn in my albums… I think you’ve inspired me to get some of that stuff out and pick up where I left off. Or scrap some genealogy. Whatever. Thank you!

    • Jen Alford

      I hear you! I love the idea of putting a scrapbook together… I just wish it didn’t take up so much time. Some friends of mine have done albums with just special events… Holidays, vacations, and the like. Make a smaller project and hopefully you can get it started.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • MariannSRegan

    Scrapbooking is a lovely idea, and I love your the cool products you found for the “crafty of heart.” So frustrating that it competes for time with genealogy research, social media, and all the other worthy pursuits that beckon. Maybe the secret is to do a little of each. Or maybe there is no secret. Thank you for these examples!

    • Jen Alford

      I am hoping that someday soon we will get a couple extra hours in the day. So many hobbies…so little time! Thanks for the comments.

  • Devon Lee

    I TRIED and tried to create a paper scrapbook focusing on my family heritage. I started it multiple times only to keep putting it away. FINALLY I forgot about the paper scrapbooking stuff and went fully digital. And guess what. I had time to create not one but two family history scrapbooks.

    If it’s okay to mention, I have created a series of posts about heritage scrapbooking on my blog (A Patient Genealogist) if anyone is interested. Going digital has REALLY help me have time to do both genealogy and create scrapbooks. So for those of you struggling, might I suggest giving up on the paper process and go digital. Start with a small project, such as focusing on one ancestor and going back two generations, forward two generations (if possible) and then write their story. Through in a family tree and time line and you’re done (for now).

    I know you’ll be VERY surprised at how quickly you’ll accomplish your goal, because I did it myself. Thanks for this post which allowed me to share my two cents. Hope they’re helpful.

  • paul davidson

    Great article. This is an interesting post, I really enjoyed reading it. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a Family Group Sheet, I found a blank form here http://goo.gl/jZFDo7. This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials how to fill it out and a few related forms that you might find useful.