Libby's Genealogy: Stories & Journaling

Stories and Journaling

Ever hear the term, "A picture's worth a thousand words?" True, yet if the words aren't included with the picture, future generations will be at a loss as to the stories they tell. Without words photos often end up in estate sales and antique stores, in the trash or in the hands of people who don't even know what or who they are of. What a tragedy to discover a box or scrapbook of family photos and not have the stories to go with them.

When my grandmother passed, I came upon a small cigar box filled with photos of my father from toddlerhood to young adult. Not one photo was dated or labeled and though I was thrilled to have the photos, the stories would make them so much more meaningful.

  • Begin keeping a journal or invest in a daytimer - write in it everyday if you can. You don't have to write an entire paragraph every day, just put down some of your thoughts, important events or maybe something special that you want to remember. I like to write down when my children make cute remarks or learn something new.
  • Take some time to write out your personal family story. Include things like where you grew up, went to school, favorite things, how you celebrated holidays and so forth. It's also nice to have other family members do this before it's too late. Get parents and grandparents involved in preserving the family history for future generations.
  • Get a nice family bible and keep it current. Much of the information we get today comes from the large family bibles that were kept by grandparents. Continue this tradition!
  • Use a photo storage method that allows you to journal on the pages beside the photos. Journaling is what makes a family scrapbook a "family storybook."
  • Photos mounted in your scrapbooks can be labeled with who, what, when, where, captions, or even a complete story.
  • Never be afraid to write in your scrapbooks, even if you don't like your hand-writing. Your hand-writing is a part of history and will be treasured by others. Just think of how much you enjoy those old letters and recipe cards written by parents and grandparents.
  • Add at least one page a year to your scrapbook that details the years highlights, a family vacation, the birth of a child or other special occassion.
  • Trace a child's hand or foot print and fill the inside with facts about the child.
  • Use words to create a frame around a photo on the page.
  • Be creative or keep it simple, just remember that the stories are the most imporant part of preserving history.
  • Never use ballpoint or felt-tip pens on the backs of photos. Use a photo-safe pencil, one brand is the Schwan All-Stabilo.
  • Unmounted photos should be labeled with at least the name, date and location.

    Using Photo-Safe Supplies Adding Color & Creativity
    Importance of Stories & Journaling Page Layout Ideas