See also Heritage Poems, Family History,Treasures Album, Genealogy, Journaling, Memorial Albums, Tribute Albums and Time Capsule Albums.
- Family memories and stories retold are like treasures as dear as gold.
- Saving your family's history may be work, but it's worth it. Children who know their origins have an advantage over the others. They know who they are, what they are, why they are, and where they're headed. Children who understand all of that are the richest kids on earth. (Stephen and Janet Bly)
- Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. (Joel 1:3)
- Through my grandmother's eyes, I can see more clearly the way things used to be, the way things ought to be, and most important of all, the way things really are. (Ed Cunningham)
- We walk the path of the ancient ones,
soon the shadows of our footprints the dream ones will walk.
Will our footprints be deep enough to follow
or will the winds erase them for all time.
(Ted Klein, Lake Travis, Texas)
"We have a tradition in Mexico that each person dies three times.
First, there is the moment in which the body stops functioning.
Second, there is the time that the remains are consigned to the grave.
Third, there is that moment, sometime in the future, in which the person's name is spoken for the last time. Then the person is really gone."
Several years ago, I got into genealogy and realized that people who preserve the memories of persons from their own familial past, are preventing that third death.
Ideas for Family Tree Pages
1. Fill out all the blanks on the first page putting your children in the box that is labeled "self". For any of the eight 'great grandparent' boxes that you have further generation on you put a number from two through nine. Then you continue the lines on more family tree pages that have corresponding numbers. In the 'self' boxes you transfer the name of each great grandparent and put their ancestry on that page. You could also continue those on back but I wouldn't--If you have many generations on any one line I would use a regular genealogy pedigree chart.
2. Fill out two of the CM family tree pages, using one with you in the 'self' box and one with your husband in the 'self' box. That will make it easier to understand the people in the book and give space for one more generation on the charts. You can always use the space on the back of the page to attach a more detailed pedigree chart if you want.
Family Tree Page
"Like branches on a tree,
We may grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.
Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other."
I have done this on one of the Family Tree pages, for our regular family album, covering the name blocks with individual photos of our family, and using white blocks to mount over the bottom four name blocks (the mother/father line) with each of our first names, them a block to cover the "self" block with our last name. The quote is written in brown on each side of the tree trunk, under the last name block. We have four in our family, but you can vary the number of blocks you cover, depending on how many people in your family. You can also leave off the first name blocks if you have a lot of people.
Non-standard Family Trees
First I would write the names (and other info you want included) of each person on separate pieces of paper. At the top left of each box I would include the relationship to the child (i.e. mother, grandmother, step-grandfather, etc.)
Then try various arrangements of the papers on a page. Usually you can start with the child at the center bottom of the page but you can put this off center if there are a lot more names on one side of the family than on the other. Basically you would put the direct ancestors in the line beside each other and put the step-parents beside the person they were married to with their children below.
To make the chart easier to read it helps to connect the boxes with colored lines--one color for the father's line and one for the mothers. You would use solid lines for blood relatives and dashed lines for step relatives.
Heritage Album Ideas
- There is a great title page poem for a heritage album in the ABC Album file. It would work for both a regular heritage album or one done in ABC format.
- On the title page put your name as compiler. Also put a dedication statement if you want to those who helped you compile the info or an ancestor.
- To make a watch chain or locket chain out of gold or silver paper cut along one edge with scallop scissors. Punch a hole with a small whole punch in each scallop. Then cut the other side with scallop scissors.
- In my heritage album I used only browns, tans and dusty rose paper, Victorian ruler, alpine scissors and pink and brown pens. In my husbands heritage album I am using black, white, classic navy and light blue paper, black and blue pens, antique scissors and wavy borderline.
Limiting the number of different things used in the albums makes them much quicker and easier to do and gives a classic look that seems to fit that type of photo. Even people who do very fancy pages in their regular family albums generally want a more simple look to their heritage albums.
- Include letters and other samples of handwriting and signatures.
- With black and white photos I think it looks best to keep down the amount of different colors, stickers, pen colors etc. On the other hand I think a touch of color here and there is good and emphasizes things that are extra special.
- For Christmas black and white pictures the cranberry and evergreen look better than the regular red and green.
- I saw a really great high school days album with photos from the 60's. They had used only black, white and red paper for the matting etc.
- I use the pattern of some of the bright color die-cuts and cut them out of neutral paper so they wouldn't clash with the black and white photos.
- If you have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, etc of black and white photos that you want to put on one page there are some things you can do to make them go together (even if you don't want to do much cropping). If some photos have the jagged edge and others are plain you can either use the antique scissors or deckle cutter to slightly trim the plain edges--or you can mount the plain pictures on black paper trimmed with deckle edges.
- If you have an old photo that you really can't crop but that has a very bad background one thing to do is cut a mat for it. Then you lay the mat face down and use photo corners to attach the photo to the mat. Next turn the mat over and use photo corners to mount the photo on the page.
- Use vintage maps or modern maps to show where the family have lived and write what made them relocate and why they choose the destination.
- Cut off the lid of the trunk in the heritage pack and arrange it so that it looks partly open with stuff coming out. (Bonnie L.)
- Do a page of everyone in your family at the age of one year
(or in 1st grade or some other meaningful time.)
- Provide a historical overview of what was going on in the town, state or country at the time your ancestor lived there. Also include music, movies, books, clothes, fads, cars, sayings, etc.
- Include documents such as certificates, licenses, diplomas, report cards, funeral cards, deeds, passports, driver licenses, etc.
- Include talents such as music, athletic ability, artistic ability, etc.
- Include characteristics such as sense of humor, outstanding looks, meanness, grumpiness, etc. and how they affected the family.
- Occupations--Be sure to include old business cards, news articles or other things about your ancestors' occupations. You might be able to copy things from old newspapers or city directories. Look in the sticker
file for ideas on using the things from the heritage sticker pack.
Peek-A-Boo Page Idea
I put this poem on the inside of the front cover of my heritage album:
Our family is a circle of Love and strength.
With every birth and every union, the circle grows.
Every joy shared adds more love.
Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.
I had an 8 x 10 photo of my husband and me, and I used that on the second page with a peek-a-boo page as the first page. It said Family on top of the oval window and Heritage under the window with our picture in the window. Then when you turned the page, the window framed the quotation (I had drawn "lace" around the window on the back side so the verse was framed with the lace), and our names were on the page with the photo with our birth date. Averie in Michigan
Heritage Album Title Page
They say you should give a child roots and wings. Here are your roots. Be proud that a tiny bit of each of these people has gone into making you the young woman you are today, and the woman you will become. Now spread your wings and soar.
All my love on your special day.
Love, Aunt Lisa"
Our Heritage Book
(this would be great for the title page of a heritage album)
The special book upon the shelf,
Was made with many hands.
Our ancestors who posed back then,
All came from different lands.
Their pictures were all tucked away,
And rarely did we see,
The importance of these treasures-
The start of you and me.
The history of our families,
Now here in black and white.
Preserved with special care and time,
Each page is done just right.
When time permits, we take it down,
And think of days long past.
Our hopes, our dreams, our heritage,
All safe and made to last.
What Happened the Day You Were Born
Look in the Adult Birthday file for a list of websites with information about what happened on any given day.
Who Best Fits The Following Descriptions?
(If you had to pick a label for your family members--your spouse, children, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins),
- The best cook
- The hardest-worker
- The quietest
- The best memory
- The best gardener
- The funniest
- The best-looking
- The animal lover
- The most politically-active
- The most mischievous
- The calmest
- The most athletic
- The most intelligent
- The most educated
- The best career
- The most creative
- The wildest life-style
- The most sociable
- The biggest tease
- The best housekeeper
- The most reclusive
- The most colorful
- The most relaxed
- The most frugal
- The most generous
- The tallest
- The shortest
- The best story-teller
Heritage Album Ideas
(based on an idea by Ronda G., Professional Genealogist, CMC)
Types of Heritage Albums
- Our Family - Consists of a fancy pedigree chart on the first page followed by a two-page spread for each family unit from the pedigree chart. Use the family group sheet to register basic info. Add pictures, documents, memorabilia and quotes to complete each spread.
- Book of Remembrance - A comprehensive album that includes the bulk of research findings. It starts with a pedigree chart. Family groups should begin each unit. This is a great way to store originals (pictures, documents, etc.). Mount with corners if future copies are anticipated. If you prefer you can use high quality reproductions of documents and photos.
- Cousins - Includes info on families with the same ancestry. This can be extended family to whatever degree desired or it could be limited to brothers' and sisters' families and their descendants. Use family group sheets to help identify the relationship of each family.
- Descendants - Choose an ancestor and go in reverse pedigree order (Great-grandpa, his children, their children, etc.) This could be set up similar to a cousins album.
- Branch - Follow one branch of the family tree. For example, "Mom's ancestry" or "The Comstocks"
- Single Family - Use this album for the history of one family unit. Include a pedigree chart with the children as the starting point. Include pictures, documents, memorabilia, and oral histories, journal entries or reminiscences.
- Posterity Album - Include pictures, histories, documents, copied of newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia. Include everyday items that will some day be of interest to your descendants such as the words to your favorite song, bills, news stories, a page from the T.V. guide, etc. Choose unique items that describe your life today.
- Biographical - Chronicle a single person's life. Use the pedigree and family group sheet to set up a personal time line and history. Follow with written personal history data and include pictures and memorabilia to correspond with the written history.
Heritage Album Assembly
Suggested album layout order
- Title Page
- Pedigree Chart as the Table of Contents
- First person is person to whom the album belongs
2 page spread: baby picture, birth certificate
2 page spread: school and graduation
2 page spread: courtship, wedding
2 page spread: family, pets, or interests
2 page spread: grand parenting
- Second Person: Father (use same format making adjustments as needed)
- Third Person: Mother
- Fourth Person: Grandfather on father's side
- Fifth Person: Paternal grandmother
- (etc...etc...follow pedigree chart throughout)
Layout and design of pages
- COLOR CODE
A. Choose two complimentary colors: One for paternal lineage and one for maternal lineage.
B. On the pages with photos of the person to whom the album belongs, use both colors for mounting and decorating.
- Create continuity: In order to give your album a feeling of feeling of continuing lineage, treat each picture the same. Do the following to each photo:
A. Trim the photo only to remove ragged edges and excess white. Crop to smaller size when desirable, but leave photo in a rectangle shape.
B. Mount all photos on ivory paper. Deckle cut and leave a 1/8 to 1/4 inch border.
C. Double mount the photo on the colored paper that corresponds to that side of the family. Do Not deckle cut the paper. Leave a straight edge.
D. Use photo-mounting tape on everything except for the originals or expensive reproductions.
E. Use mounting corners on all original documents and photos.
F. Use photo-mounting sleeves for first page of every written history and for fragile items.
- DO NOTS
A. Do not use original photos on heavy cardboard. They are too heavy for your album. Make reproductions.
B. Don't round corners or cut photos into shapes unless absolutely necessary. Keep photos in original shapes to maintain historical value, lend continuity, and a classic look.
C. Don't put heavy, dark photos at the top of the page and light ones at the bottom. This creates imbalance.
D. Don't overcrowd each page. Be selective. You can't put in everything. If you weight down your album, it will have a shorter life span.
E. Do not use inappropriately bright-colored paper. The paper should not overpower the photos.
F. Don't cut photos with fancy scissors. Only cut the paper behind them.
G. Don't put white on white.
- General Principles to keep in mind:
A. Simple and Classic: rarely a die-cut or sticker.
B. Tie the pages together by repeating color and shape regardless of subject.
C. Adjectives to describe your heritage project: Simple, Classic, Dignified, Reverent, Predictable, Unified, Consistent, Priceless.
The Layout Order for a Heritage Album
There is no perfect or easy way to layout the order of a heritage album.
The important thing is that others be able to follow and understand it. There is no way to do that just by the way you lay it out unless you are following only one family line.
To make the album work you need to have a family tree or pedigree chart at the beginning of the book (or put the info in a pocket at the back and mention it on the title page). You can use the CM family tree page if that works for your family. On the back of it you can list each couple with their children (and grandchildren if you want) in outline or list form. People can refer to it if they can't figure out exactly how someone fits in the family. Also by putting the birthdays and full names on the chart you don't have to keep referring to them throughout the album. You will also want to journal extensively.
Some people use a color code with the matting but that gets very complicated if you try to carry it too far. Once you do double matting for the children of that generation you would most likely want to do something different. One idea would be to continue the double mats for the direct lines down to you. Another idea would be to pick a different color for each of the children and carry it down for their descendants.
If you did not want to use mats you could do it with the color of the pens or with special stickers (the tiny butterflies, hearts, etc.) you can put a tiny sticker beside each person on the pedigree chart and then use the same sticker on all their descendants. Of course many of the direct line people will have multiple stickers and you may not like that any better than multiple mats.
Using the mats to designate lines seemed too complex for me so I just used them on a couple of the main people and did the rest of the books in colors that look good.
As for laying out the photos it varied on different lines depending on how many generations I went back, number of children, how many photos I had, etc.
One way to handle cousins, great uncles, etc. is this. I go back to the earliest generation I have photos for and put couple's photo on the page (assuming I have no photos of their parents or of them as a child). I add memorabilia--like a reduced copy of their marriage certificate, etc. I don't put a lot of genealogy stuff in (census records, deeds, etc.) just the more interesting or attractive things. I have many notebooks of genealogy stuff and it would make the albums unwieldy.
After I do that couple I follow with their children in order of birth (except the child that is in my direct line). It may take a page for all the children or they may each have a page depending on the number of photos available. If there were unmarried children I try to fit them on the page with their parents. As I do each child I put photos of all their descendants in order. In other words I will take the oldest child and his children and their children, etc. Then go to the next child and so on. After doing all the other children in the family I do the one that is in my direct line. I usually do those pages a little fancier and add more memorabilia, mats, etc.
When I tried to lay out a heritage album I put all of one generation (the children) and then the next (grandchildren), etc. but that did not really work well. I thought it would because I am a chronological person but it did not make sense and was not much fun to look at.
When I carry down generations I don't worry if I have photos of everyone, I just put in what I have ending with the newest photo I have at the time. I leave a space if I think I will get more photos later. Some people do not put current photos in a heritage album but I think it adds something to see the past and present together. Since I have current photos in my family albums I use leftovers or duplicates of cousins, uncles, etc. in the heritage albums. I also do a page from each reunion for the heritage album and just put one or two photos in my family album. Most of the people at the reunions I attend I don't know well or don't see on a regular basis.
If I were doing a heritage album for just one line of a family I would work it just the opposite. I would start with the youngest generation and go backwards through the album with parents, grandparents, etc. Or if I had many photos of any one line I would do a separate album for that line. Then I would put the other lines together in another album.
A heritage album will be different for each person since our families are all unique. No matter how you lay out the album if you have pedigree charts and plenty of journaling people will be able to follow it and that is the important thing.