22 October 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: My Parents

Heritage scrapbook layout
My Parents: Tan & teal papers - Triple J Designs Sun Kissed;
Embellishments - Just Saskia The Birds & The Bees

In crafting a heritage scrapbook about myself, an important page to include would be a little tribute to the folks you gave me life. Throughout most of my growing up years, mom had her wedding photos easily accessible. The other photos were tucked away and rarely accessed, how truly sad. The additional photos are wonderful glimpses of my parents during their courtship. My father was so skinny! My mother really tried to be fashionable. These two things changed quite a bit after I was born. If either was alive, I'd ask them more about it.  Regardless, I shared a brief story on my layout of how they met and when they married.

For the layout, I'm selected three colors from my color palette so that the pages in the book coordinate with each other. The three I chose for the page, compliments the featured 1960s era photos. I love the brown paper on the outside of the layout. It has a lot of great texture and frames the remaining elements nicely. I was quite pleased with the increase in embellishments I used on this page. They still play a supporting role, yet there is enough to not be boring.

You may notice that this series of posts featuring layouts from my personal heritage scrapbook takes a different approach than previous books I've created featuring my parents and grandparents. Having completed my first heritage scrapbook that my family actually enjoys reading, I'm now prepared to work on the photo albums and stories of my own life.  This project will be chronologically organized. I'll leave the focal person approach to my children to summarize some day.


To learn what additional pages you should include in a family history scrapbook, purchase the eBook Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps at Amazon.com. This series also features tips recommended from my other eBook Power Scrapbooking: Getting Caught Up No Matter Your Scrapbooking Style

16 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Another Coin with Different Lighting

Here's another comparisson of the same coin under different lighting conditions, much like the previous Treasure Chest Thursday post. The first example is using a black backdrop, artifical light and a light box. The second using a white backdrop, natural light, and a white reflector.

Apollo Coin
f/3.5, exp 1/8, ISO 80
Pattern Metering

Apollo Coin
f/4, exp 1/2, bias +0.7, ISO 80
Center Weighted Average Metering

Which one is better for your project? That's a matter of personal preference. Having fun photographing the stuff of your families' lives.

10 October 2014

Redefine Family History Goals for Youth

Having recently been part of the 'youth' in genealogy and having a child of my own entering this group, I am often frustrated with family history challenges presented to youth. 

My daughter keeps hearing messages that she should work on finding and adding names to her tree. Well, that's a fine goal in the abstract. There's one small problem. I've been doing research on my line for 20 years. I'm a curious cat and have gone in many different directions. My husband and his family have done a lot of work on their lines. Finding a name isn't especially easy for her, because it isn't especially easy for my husband or I. The push to add names to the tree is lost on her. It's not hopeless, but unless a miracle tears down many brick walls, this isn't a task that will be achievable in the time frame of these challenges. (By the way, there are four more kiddos in my family who will be encouraged to add a name to the tree in the coming years.)
Question: Do I stop my research so that my children can find names that I would find over the course of the next years? What if I stop doing my research to help them find what I would have found but we wind up not finding what I would have found because we waited too long? 

What would be a better goal for a young person? 

Perhaps it would be to investigate what has been done in their family. Every family is different. Some will have huge stacks of books for the family. Some will have a handful of photos and nothing else. Each young person should learn what has been done in the their family and get to know who actively does research in their family. 

Then set goals that would fit the needs of their family. Ah... but we can't set big, impressive goals when we focus on the individual needs of the families. You're right. You can't. But you can turn these young people to their heritage by connecting them with what has been done and the people who have done something. 

If a youth should discover a lot of research has been done, encourage them to transform the research into presentations that are more appealing than names, dates, and places on a chart or in a thick book. Let their creativity drive them. Support them with resources to make their visions come to life and give them a place to present their results. That will certainly do more for those whose trees go back to the 16th century. 

If a youth has some research done but limited stories about their ancestors, have them capture and preserve their family's stories. Stories connect the generations and there is much a young person can do to save the memories that are within their living relatives.

If a youth is 'fortunate' to be starting from scratch, teach them how to build their tree but capture and preserve the history that their living relatives know at the same time. Then they'll have stories to go with the names, dates, and places they put on their charts.

Above all, inspire youth to capture and preserve the history their family is making today. Imagine what we'll have available to use 10 years from now if the youth are preserving the family stories of today. My daughter has been recording her personal history by doing her own yearly scrapbook. She has 90% control of the outcome of her book (I edit it for grammar and spelling and format it for printing). She and my other children regularly contribute to our family's year-in-review blog book that I've mentioned before. We do offset these activities by indexing and poking around on the tree. But her main contribution is preserving the memories we make today so that we have it available in the future. 

I'm not discounting the value of finding names or indexing records. These are great goals. Too often extreme goals are set to measure the participation of youth in these activities without thought as to what is achievable in the individual families. Instead of setting arbitrary goals, lets work to turn the individual hearts of young people to their families. Perhaps then, we'll have more youth finding their own place in the work, like my own daughter.


Get a copy of my book 21st Century Family Historian. You'll find many chapters that will appeal to a variety of youth depending upon the goals they have. 


08 October 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: 70s Cover Page

A great way to set the stage for a scrapbook, after selecting a color palette, is to create a cover page.

Cover Page:
I chose two photos that would highlight the age range this book will cover: birth to pre-school. After I selected the two photos that were cover worthy, I noticed that I had clashing photo processing. As such, I needed to find a way to compliment these images. Soften and subtle was key.

Now I'm ready to start the story of my early years. If you wanted, you could swing the tag title to be the years covered in the book rather than "The Early Years." That way the book is very specific. It's really your call.

03 October 2014

Introducing Family History

Leslie Drewitz wrote an interesting piece entitled Introducing Genealogy to the Un-inducted. She did a great job sharing small ways she shares genealogy to those who are borderline in their involvement or young.

Her ideas a nice and I wish to expand upon them so you have a wealth of ways to introduce family history to the "Ugh, dead people crowd."

1. Share a story:

Many people love stories, even if the stories are not about their own family members. I often share the story of my Great-Grandma Evaline Peak and her two Carls. It's a touching story of why I want to meet a dead relative and talk to her about her losses and how she overcame them. When I discuss family history in terms of stories with total strangers or professed genealogy haters, they are moved. What they do next depends on what needs to be done in their family.

2. "Today's memories are tomorrow's family history"

If they are still uninterested in long dead people, then invite them to capture and preserve the memories of their parents, grandparents, and children. Many people would gladly do family history if it's about those they know and love.

After photographing this treasure, I no
longer needed to keep it.
3. Suggest it at an organization / de-clutter strategy

With so many folks borderline hoarders or just disorganized in their homes in general, why not link family history and organization. My two best friends when keeping my house clean are not a rag and a cleaner. They are a camera and a scanner. I often share that if you're having trouble deciding whether to keep something because of it's emotional attachment, photograph it. Then set it aside for two weeks (by the front door is great if you can handle the mess). If you can remember the item because of the photo, toss the item (or donate it, whatever). if you still need the item, find a place to display it. If it's not used or displayed, it's not a treasure so keep the photo instead. After you've decided whether the item stays or goes, take time to record the memories associated with the item. Then you've cleaned up your house and preserved your personal and family history! Win-win.

4. Death and disaster happen, be prepared

Having seen the loss that occurs because of tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods, I recognize the heart ache many people feel not because they lost their possessions. The heartache is generally because they lost the things that matter most, specifically their photo collection and heritage items.

Additionally, many friends and associates have gone through the process of loosing a loved one. They grieve for their relative, but then are stuck with the task of cleaning out their homes. Which is harder to deal with? The second is far more daunting. Invariably, much is tossed into the trash without a second thought because there's not time to handle what wasn't preserved before the person died.

Follow the Boy Scout motto of be prepared. What do you need? A camera and a scanner. Photograph or digitize the family photo collection, vital documents, journals, bibles, and other stuff. Then backup these digital images away from the family home. Eventually, someone can record the pertinent facts and stories associated with all of this digitized information and then create a project to share it. Also remember the adage, "Many hands make light work." Don't do all of these steps alone. But do something to preserve what matters most before its lost forever.

These are just a few of the ways I introduce family history to others. There are more ways to share family history and they can be found in my book 21st Century Family Historian available at Amazon.


21 Century Family Historian by Devon Lee
Order your copy today.

02 October 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Same Medal Different Lighting

I'm amazed at how different a coin my husband had looked under different lighting.

Photograph Epcot Center Coins
Black background in light box
f/3.5, exp 1/6, ISO 80, Pattern Metering

Photograph Epcot Center Coins

Photograph Epcot Center Coins
Natural light, no light box
f/4, exp 1/2, bias +0.7, ISO 80
Center Weighted Average Metering
Photograph Epcot Center Coins

The first version of this Epcot Center coin looked more platinum and the second won looks more silver. If you have time to play around with your artifacts, test the items out under different lights and different backgrounds to see what's more true to life. And then, if you have distracting backgrounds, you can crop that out.

01 October 2014

Did You Think to Save?

There's a song I sing at church that beings something like this...

"Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?"

For me, I simply ask this.... "Did you think to save?"
Did you scan your documents and photos?

Have you photographed the stuff?

Did you preserve the family recipes?

Did you write about your father's employment?

Did you write about the love story of your parents, or you?

Did you record the stories told at family gatherings?


This month is Family History Month... each day ask yourself, what you have you done to preserve your family history.

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