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Scrapbooks, photos and filling in the blanks

By Carla Weber | Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You’ve been researching your family and have no idea what to do with the information? Well, there are several ways to record it. My favorite is called the _____ method, just because it makes the best sense to me.

I start with me as number one, of course. No, really. Start with yourself as number 1. Then your father is number 2 and your mother is number 3. It will look something like this.

Generation I:
1. Carla Jane Boney

Generation II:
2. Gene Carl Boney
3. Marie Ann Harper

Generation III:
4. David C. Boney
5. Jewell I. Atkins
6. George Edward Harper
7. Annie V. Kimmel

You get the idea. Each generation doubles in size. And each father is double the child’s number. The mother is double the number plus one. David Boney’s father, Henry, is number 8 and so on. Annie’s father, David, is number 14 and her mother number 15.

This is an easy way to keep up with people since there will be gaps in your research. If you start a list using this method, as you find other names and relations, simply add them in the generation to which they belong. There may always be unfilled spaces in your family.

Right now, my husband has almost no one past the third generation for his Weber family. His grandfather Weber came to Texas on the Orphan Train and I have had very little luck finding information on this family. I have a picture labeled as his great grandmother, but there’s a big discussion as to who she was before marrying a Weber. So his line has skips in every generation back for the Webers.

You probably noticed that you always list females by the maiden name.

If you have the dates of birth and death, you can list them as well.

Gene Carl Boney: Sept 17, 1929-Nov 28, 2001

You can even add photos if you have them.

Photographs. You know, those items printed through a developing process that show likenesses of persons you love. Today, such things are stored in phone memories, on devices that fit a digital camera or on computers. Me, I prefer the ancient kind that I can hold in my hand. I enjoy looking at them whenever I want.

Photography has changed so much through the years. Old photographs are wonderful to have. However, they show only the artificial and surface reflection of our ancestors. There is no animation in the faces, no action or activity, only posed people with stern looks and tired eyes.

How does one protect the photographs? The first thing is to not write on the back of them with a pen. Regardless of how careful you are, the ink will seep through and destroy the picture. If you need to identify them, put a label on the back of the picture and write on the label.

Scrapbooks are a wonderful way to preserve your history. Be sure you use the acid-free papers and protective covers. You can either print or copy your photos to actual photo paper or simply print them on regular paper. You can use the copies in your scrapbooks and put the real pictures in an album. Simply choose an album that is acid free and will protect your photos.

Scrapbooks also make great family gifts. I’ve created family tree scrapbooks for one family reunion. They’ve been well received. I build a 3D tree of brown paper down the center of a two-page spread. This tree includes limbs and leaves. On the leaves are the names of ancestors or pictures of said ancestors. I begin with my third great-grandfather. As each two pages are designed, there are more names and more photos. The last two pages, my generation, there are no pictures, just names to cover everybody for five generations. The pages are colorful and informative.

The other thing I’ve done is to simply make a CD of photos and share them with cousins. The CDs were also well received. People, even those who might not want to research, are interested in their past.

Genealogy is such a fulfilling hobby. It leads to a variety of other hobbies, or as a friend labeled the book she gave to family this past Christmas, it leads to roots and off-shoots.

There are just so many ways to display your research, to share with family and to enjoy your knowledge, that I’m sure you’ll find one that is attractive to you. Enjoy sharing your family of old with your family today.

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