22 July 2009

Where to Start?

One major question when getting started with scrapbooking your genealogy is: Where to start? There are so many different branches to each family tree and so many different ways to organize your scrapbook. The key is to have a plan in mind before you get started. Here are just a few ideas on how to organize a heritage scrapbook:
  • Create a book about your/any immediate family. Only include yourself, your parents, siblings and possibly grandparents (think Family Group Sheet). This would be a great way to get your feet wet.
  • Follow one branch per book, organized as either a pedigree or descendent book. With this book you would focus on one couple at a time, following a direct line, and not have to worry about collateral lines.
  • Create a descendent book, like a Family History publication. You can include a section on the couple and then create pages for all children. From there, follow your family line, continuing in a pattern.
You might find it helpful to look over what photos, documents and memoribilia you have. You could make brainstorm a rough list of pages that you would like to make before you even get started. This way, you can see which organizational method you prefer, and place the pages in a way that make sense for you.

There's really nothing to hold you back and no wrong way to do things. In some scrapbooks, I've followed a random path up my tree, in others I've followed direct lines. Here are a few things that will help keep your book organized no matter what you decide to do:
  • Tree Charts. Any time you feel that the branches are getting hard to follow, put a family tree chart into your book. I'd recommend putting a tree chart into almost every scrapbook, regardless.
  • Title Pages. Whenever you change to a different surname, create a title page to mark the change. These pages work much like dividers.
  • Use Journaling / List facts. When starting a page on a new person, include a biography that states who this individual's parents were.
Regardless of which strategies you use, organization is key when scraping your family tree. Scrapbooking is just another way of preserving and presenting your family tree, and if it isn't organized properly, it won't do your descendants much good.

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