A version of this article first appeared in the May/June 1999 issue of Ancestry Magazine
Remember those old photo albums bound with string? The kind that had the pasted-in photo-mounts, one for each corner of every picture? Those treasured family albums often wind up in the hands of the family historian. With luck, the photos they contain are not yet physically deteriorating. If we're very lucky, someone took the time to provide names and dates for each photograph. It's odd that we call such mementos of past lives "scrapbooks". They're more like "treasure books" - the "scraps" which they hold are precious gems to the family historian.
Pictures being worth a thousand words, scrapbooks help breath vitality into the telling of a family's history. Those members of the family whose eyes glaze over when the family genealogist recites the dry list of names and dates of common ancestors are often spurred to interest when the scrapbook gets shown around. A scrapbook's connection to family history is self-evident. In the scrapbook are the pictures, birth announcements, newspaper clippings, child's artwork, event tickets, commencement programs, and the wedding invitations which provide insight into a family's past. Scrapbooks are an excellent answer to the family historian's life-long question "What do I do with the results of my research?". Genealogical information included in a scrapbook can maximize the likelihood that family members will preserve and cherish the hard-won information gathered and analyzed by the family historian. A pile of carefully compiled genealogical research is much too easy to "recycle" once the family historian has passed on. An artistically crafted scrapbook stands a better chance of being kept by the next generation because if it's eye-appeal. The family scrapbook might just be the stimulus for exciting the next generation to study the history of the family.
While there are many software products available for computer-assisted scrapbooking, there are relatively few products on the market for true electronic scrapbooking. This article will not be concerned with the computer-assisted production of printed scrapbooks but will summarize the features available in fully electronic scrapbooking software. These products combine the latest in generally-available imaging technology to produce a digital "frame" in which to mount a family's scrapbook of sepia-toned photographs other related treasures.
Ultimate Family Tree Platinum - ($69.95 from The Learning Company - see http://www.uftree.com/UFT/Nav/uftnewsplat.html) includes the PhotoEnhancer photo editing utility which allows for image manipulation. The Family Album Maker feature may be used to produce paper scrapbooks with the provided backgrounds and over one thousand historical photographs, maps and flag images. Ultimate Family Tree Platinum provides computer-aided scrapbooking features in addition to its genealogy functionality
Generations Family Tree Grande Suite ($69.95 from Sierra Home - see http://www.sierra.com/sierrahome/familytree/titles/gengs/) includes SnapShot Special Edition which can create electronic photo albums to share with family and friends. These electronic albums can be password-protected to be read-only and then shared via the Internet. Photos and images can be organized, managed, and edited using SnapShot. Electronic slide shows can be created to display a family album on your PC as a sequence of images and sounds. SnapShot also produces customized screen savers and PC wall paper from your digital images. Generations Family Tree Grande Suite has true electronic scrapbooking features which compliment its family history software.
At a Family Album Day, people are invited to bring their family albums to their local library or society - the local sponsors of the event. There groups of local historians, archivists, genealogists, and conservators will provide advice on preservation of these "treasure books", how to start family history research, and most importantly, they will digitally preserve the albums with their owners' permission.
The FAAP team digitally scans the family albums and copies them to CD-ROM discs. The original albums are returned to their owners the same day. The album owners then have the opportunity to purchase copies of the CD-ROM version of their scrapbook, low resolution scanned images of their albums for display on the Internet, or printed color copies of their materials. The Family Album Archive Project thus helps to ensure the ongoing survivability of these cherished family treasures.
The Scrapbooking Idea Network:
Articles on Scrapbooking:
Tips on Creating Archival Scrapbooks:
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