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Heritage Scrapbooking for Everyone

Updated on April 24, 2014

Bringing your past into your present

I'll be the first one to admit that I just love poking through old photographs; they fascinate me. Way back when, having your picture taken was a big deal and considered such serious business that hardly anyone ever smiled (even when they were on vacation at the shore :o)

My grandmother had a small suitcase crammed full of old photographs and memorabilia. Rooting through storage boxes at my parent's house yielded still more items from the distant past. Since I was already forging ahead with some genealogical research into my family tree, I decided it might be neat to create a heritage scrapbook. Although mine is not yet complete I've created this lens to share some of my ideas with you, including ways to get your kids involved...I hope you like it!

PHOTO: My great grandparents with my grandmother on the Boardwalk at the Jersey Shore (around 1916).

Tune up the Time Machine

To take your kids on a trip

The best place to start when trying to interest kids in their family history is with them. There is a wonderful website you can use to bring history to life one generation at a time. I'll use our birth years and the price of a new car to give you an idea:

Check it out:

In 1936, the average price of a new car was $610;

in 1965 it was $2,350;

by 1990 it was $15,472

In 2009 (according to WikiAnswers) a new car costs approximately $27,958

Here are the "latest" headlines

In 1936: Margaret Mitchell publishes novel "Gone with the Wind"

In 1965: A "Charlie Brown Christmas" premiers

in 1990: 1st Russian Orthodox service in 70 yrs held in St Basil's Cathedral

The dMarie Time Capsule has information up to the year 2002 and offers the choice between a quick page and an advanced page.

Click here to visit the dMarie Time Capsule

Keeping your scrapbook simple is best - (and cuts down on Tylenol consumption :o)

I chose to use a very easy, yet elegant format for my scrapbook; a plain black background with copper, silver, and gold papers for matting and coordinating metallic photo corners. To add a little vintage panache, I used a pretty floral patterned Fiskars punch and glued some matching metallic paper behind the punch out on opposite corners of my pages (see the finished album pages scattered throughout this lens).

The photo corners I used for descriptive details, such as names or other related information. All of the vintage photographs I found were scanned and printed out (light is extremely damaging to those old photographs). To create a more authentic look, I chose to trim them with Fiskars "Deckle" scissors; it looks great!

I liked simplicity for my page layouts - The better to focus on the photos :o)

Recreate something special

To blend the past and present

Five minutes after my daughter was born, my father began rhapsodizing about recreating his favorite photograph of my mother and I when I was a little girl. He was bound and determined that when my daughter reached the same age, a picture of us should be taken in the same pose using the same method.

As you can see in the photos below, he got his wish :o) I decided to use them for the first page of the heritage album; kind of a starting in the "now" and moving backward into the past...

Mother/Daughter portraits from one generation to the next - I had to hand it to my Dad after I saw these; turned out pretty well didn't they?

I put a poem on the front of my album

Have fun with facts

Remember all those tales Grandma and Grandpa used to bore you with?

I can remember my grandmother telling me all about going to the movies as a young girl every Saturday; it was a really big deal. Of course that was back in the day when there was no such thing as TV. She would go with a group of friends to watch the latest adventures in the Perils of Pauline. It cost them each a nickel, and was all they talked about from one Saturday to the next. It was a cliffhanger series, which meant that the end of the feature would find their heroine (Pauline) in dire straights indeed. There she would remain, until her long-awaited rescue on the following Saturday.

Running a search of places, names or events can help you find some wonderful images to add to your heritage pages and fill in blank spaces if you're short on actual photographs (or even if you're not). The page below is not finished, but look at the neat movie poster image I found to go with Nana's photos as a young girl ~ isn't it fun?

Nana's Saturdays at the Cinema - This scrapbook page is still under construction

Investigate Some Inventions

That'll blow you away

Everyone can think of something that didn't exist when they were younger. I remember the humble beginnings of desktop computers, videotapes and CDs to name a few. It's really kind of mind boggling, though, to contemplate older inventions with respect to our ancestors.

Case in point: my grandmother (the one pictured in the first module) was born in the year 1912. Did you know the first official sneakers to be mass marketed were Keds in the year 1917? That means Nana was born before sneakers existed. Is that wild or what?

Click here to visit the Innovation Timeline

Check out what I found mixed in with my Dad's old photos below; an exciting new safety feature called, "The Seat Belt" (oh WOW :o)

The funniest find: Buckle.... DOWN??? - A seatbelt notice from a new automobile my Dad purchased :o)

A mother's keepsakes can transcend time - The two items on the top right are scanned images of books

Scan all you can

It can be handier than you know

Don't just limit your scanner to photographs; use it for anything you can fit on the bed! I've scanned old letters, drawings, postcards, newspaper clippings, and books to name a few. I even scanned a 60 year old dandelion leaf that my father included in a letter home from camp one year (I couldn't believe my eyes when that fell out of the envelope). He called it a piece of "grace" in his letter :o)

The terrific thing about scans is that they can be resized and printed in whatever size you need help fill in a page (see album pages below). The newspaper clippings even printed out looking yellowed with age, to keep that vintage look true.

Scanning is really super - To help fit a lot on a page

For Kids: Help tie it into today

By pointing out the family treasures right in front of their eyes

I still have the "Telling Tommy" books shown in the album page two photos up, they're on the family room bookshelf. Even more amazing, was when I discovered this photo (inset) of my grandmother taken in front of the Christmas tree in 1912.

Why is it such a big deal to me? Because I still have this chair at my house today (my great grandfather refinished it sometime in the mid-1900s).

More remarkable? I came across an even older photograph (shown below) of my grandmother's mother not long ago, and SHE had the same chair next to her in the, right?

A child's chair that's over a hundred years old? Awesome!

A child's chair that's over a hundred years old? Awesome!
A child's chair that's over a hundred years old? Awesome!

Here's a fun family "tree" for even the little ones to see...

This item and other die cuts are available in my Etsy shop: Wysiwigs (What you see is what I've got - smile :o)

I hope you enjoyed my little trip through time - Planning to take one of your own?

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    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      I love the idea of making a scrapbook with photos of our ancestors. Sadly, I have a lot of old family photos that I don't know who the people in the photos are. I sure wish someone had made a scrapbook long ago with them.

    • EpicFarms profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you Darla :o) Actually, I did use metallic paper, but it's a matte finish not shiny (I think you're right about the shine being too much. I alternated between the gold, silver, and copper papers and coordinated them with the little photo corners in the same metallic colors; I thought it worked pretty well for a vintaged look.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I loved looking through this. It brings back a lot of memories. I would love to makes something like this. Do you think using metallic paper would be okay to use as a background? Or would it be too bright for the photos?

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      9 years ago from Vermont

      This is a wonderful memory book lens - and just what I need to get started on my own scrapbooks. I've got thousands of photos and mementos and even 3 scrapbooks waiting for me to get going. Thanks for the inspiration and terrific tips for getting going with putting my family story and photo into albums to share with everyone!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is fantastic! A great thing to do with kids, a way to honor your ancestors and you give some great tips for putting your photos into context.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      9 years ago from Croatia

      Beautiful lens!

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 

      9 years ago

      Great Job! Glad to see you again (online)? How is everyone? This lens is great and the time capsule website is perfect because I'm working on a lens about time capsules. :) I am going to make them with my kids.


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