Scrapbooking Your Family History

by | Scrapbooking Ideas, Scrapbooking Supplies | 3 comments

This is a guest post from Simple Scrapper design team member Jean Manis.

Many scrapbookers started scrapbooking with the goal of preserving their family history. It’s no surprise that there are courses, books, articles, inspiration galleries, and an abundance of paper and digital supplies to scrap heritage layouts. In fact, there are so many, that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the choices and consequently not know where to start. This article does not attempt to provide a comprehensive approach to heritage scrapping, but instead to highlight supplies currently available that would be suitable for heritage layouts and to offer some tips for scrapping the subject matter.

Heritage layouts vary greatly in topic and the timeframe of the story being told. Some layouts are intended to be part of a comprehensive family history album, while others tell just one story about a relative. It’s important to realize that heritage layouts are not confined to layouts featuring a sepia-toned photo from the turn of the twentieth century. Nor is it a requirement that the color palette of a heritage layout be muted. Traditional heritage-scrap colors include beige, brown, burgundy, gray, and black.

Tips for Scrapping Heritage & Family History Pages

  • Know that there’s no “right” place to begin. You need not start with your oldest known ancestor’s story and proceed chronologically. In fact, doing so may spell disaster!
  • Start with a photo or story that speaks to you. It will be much easier to approach heritage scrapping with a strong connection to the subject.
  • For those subjects for which you don’t have a story, consider a layout with information you have on their emigration story, their home, their occupation, or their education.
  • Be comfortable with papers and embellishments that fit the story and photo rather than feel dictated by vintage-look supplies. A fresh approach may be just what your layout needs to bring it to life.
  • Be sure to include dates (if known) in the layout. If an exact date is unknown, look for details in the photo or from the story to provide a guess for the date.
  • Keep your journaling as specific as possible including information that makes the story unique to your family history.

Traditional Products

For the Record by Echo Park Paper Co.
Fresh-colored, vintage-feel collection includes papers, stickers, journaling cards, and stamps.

Portrait Collection by Crate Paper
Crate Paper’s vintage-look collection includes papers, die cuts, phrase stickers and border stickers.

Stella & Rose by My Mind’s Eye
Large collection of papers, embellishments, journaling cards, ribbons, stickers, buttons, stamps, and brads is well-suited for both feminine and masculine heritage pages.

Daily Junque Collection by Pink Paislee (House of Three)
Fresh-colored collection that includes papers, charms, stickers, alpha, labels, twine, die cuts, and a stamp set.

Receipts Mini Ephemera by 7Gypsies
Multi-sized ephemera give a vintage look to a layout.

5X5 Pockets Keepsake Holders by KI Memories
Available in a multitude of colors and several sizes, these self-adhesive keepsake holders could be used to hold a variety of items including tickets, receipts, additional photographs.

Digital Products

Treasure the Memory by Sugarplum Paperie
Softly-colored kit includes patterned and plain papers, paper frames, journaling strips, embellishments, stamps, and word art.

Grandma’s Dresser by Sahlin Studio
Fun and fresh, this collection includes a variety of papers, ephemera and other embellishments, and a typewriter key alpha.

sorriso by paislee press
Vintage-feel collection of plain and patterned papers, frames, pennant labels, embellishments, and stamps.

Time Capsule by One Little Bird Designs
Muted-palette kit that inclues papers, embellishments, stamps, stickers, photo overlays, and word art.

Nostalgia by Jen Allyson
Collection of solid and patterned papers, labels, and cards.

My Family Genealogy Records Paper Pack by Katie Pertiet
Six collaged background papers that include census records, birth records, school records, and family tree charts.

Traditional Layouts

1910 by TootsieAnn

Our Day by Tanya Tahir

Modern Homemaker by Diane Payne

Our awesome women by KJ-Starre

June 1968 by brains32192

Family History by Rhonna Farrer

Digital Layouts

This Day… by renee82

Heritage Challenge by marnie

Love Story by modmask

Sail by ExoGonia

Grammy Sue @ 2 by pne123

Rothenburg-1968 by readstoomuch

NYC 1972 by marnie

Additional Resources

Heritage Scrapbooking by Katie Nelson
Article provides tips for working with heritage photos, as well as examples of heritage scrap supplies and layouts.

Ideas for Scrapbooking Retro Photos and Memories from the 60s, 70s, and 80s by Pattie Knox
With a focus on images and stories from three particular decades, this article provides tips on scanning and color correcting photos, choosing supplies for those photos, and choosing appropriate fonts.

Family History Scrapbooking by Becky Higgins
In addition to family history layouts, Becky’s book includes checklists, tips for interviewing family members and on sorting photos.

Family History Album Class by Jessica Sprague
This self-paced class includes papers, template pages, and journaling starting points to produce a multi-page family history album.

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Diane (diney)

    Hi. Thanks for all of your ideas toward Family Heritage Scrapping.

    Please don’t forget Digizines by Teri and Heritage Scrap who specialize in this.

  2. Peggy Slemp

    Thank you for the variety I see here. I am doing a book of family history and most supplies are meant for the early 1900’s or earlier. I loved the ideas and color schemes for the 40’s. Is there a place I could go to find typical colors and designs from various decades?

    • Jean Manis

      Great question! I did some googling with terms like “colors by the decade” and didn’t come up with any one source. There were pages from sources on fads, interior design and fashion. However if you google “1940s colors,” “1950s colors,” etc. and look at google images, you may have better luck finding the various palettes by the decade. Hope that helps – if I come across a more definitive source, I’ll be sure to post it.



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