Genealogy and the art of preserving the family tree is becoming of greater importance to our fast-paced, forward-reaching society that has realized that we are in danger of losing our ties to the past if we don’t actively hold onto them. A family tree book is one way to preserve a family’s legends, lore and legacy in a unique and elegant format.
You’ll be piecing this book together by hand, and that automatically makes it a scrapbook. Therefore, you need to learn some scrapbooking fundamentals. Choose from the types of bindings that are available. Learn about different adhesives. You’ll want to use materials that won’t damage your old photographs and mementos as the years pass, and most materials made for scrapbooks are designed with these ideas in mind. You’ll quickly see that there are countless cutting, stamping and drawing tools at your disposal, and you can use these as you like to enhance your project.
To make your family tree book unique, you’ll want to choose some type of theme to focus the decorative elements around. Perhaps the stories and anecdotes you have to share in your family have a common thread on which you could focus. You might want to focus on a homely art such as cooking, quilting or gardening; or you could develop your theme around a trade within your family’s heritage, such as smithing, farming or military service.
If you have taken on this project, chances are good that you already have some genealogical information for your family. You might not have it all, though. Truthfully, you never have it all. The family line always goes back a bit further. There are always more stories, more people or more towns to learn about. Find out what you can online, and from family and historical organizations. The kinds of things you can include in your books are as diverse as the members of your family. You’ll want to include pictures and stories, but you might also want to include grave rubbings, pressed flowers, fabric scraps, recipe cards, locks of hair, memorial cards or other mementos from the lives and deaths of your ancestors.
You might want to begin your book with a traditional family tree chart in order to provide a basic overview of the family and the contents of the book. From there, you might dedicate one or two pages to each person listed in the tree. Given the flexibility of scrapbooks, you can add more pages if they are needed. And if you have very little information on a certain individual, you might just decorate a page with their name, birth and death dates and the thematic elements of the book.