In my previous post, i mentioned making a Family Book or Album for our Family Study. i hope that should you choose to make one for your own family, that you’ll enjoy it as much as i hope we will. This is something that will not only be great for the kids to be able to recognize their family members, but also a great way to make a treasured family heirloom to pass down the line of family historians to keep adding to. It is meant to be an on-going project, or you can make a small permanent one for your child(ren).

What you’ll need:

  • binder or loose-leaf scrapbook of any size larger than 8 1/2″ x 11″
  • paper–we’re going to use archival quality so that our book will last a lot longer
  • camera–we’ll be using our digital, and taking the memory card to a local store for quick developing
  • photographs of those family members who are deceased, such as grandparents, etc., or even those who live far away that you don’t very often get to visit
  • adhesives–make sure these are non-toxic and safe for the children to be around. In this case, rubber cement is NOT an option, as the fumes can be harmful to anyone. We’ll be using archival quality (acid-free) adhesive, perhaps a glue stick or even those permanent tabs found in scrapbook supplies.
  • writing utensils–preferably acid-free. pencils, markers, crayons, gel pens, ball-point pens, etc. or, use a computer printer
  • any other decorative implements if you choose.

What to do:

Each family member will have his or her own page spread, meaning once the book is opened, both the left and right sides of the open leaves will be for that individual. Take photographs of each of the members of your family. This can include not only the immediate members of the family (Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters), but also grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If you have relatives who live states or countries away (for instance, we live in Ohio, my brother and his family are in Missouri), you can choose to contact them to help you and mail to them the supplies needed, or request printed photos and answers to a survey plus the next item I’m going to discuss. you can also include photographs of this person with your child(ren). For instance, we have photographs of dh’s grandmother with Munchkin when she was a baby, but then passed away the following year, just shy of M’s first birthday. I plan to include a photo of Grandma by herself, then smaller photographs of her with Munchkin.

if possible, ask each person to trace around one hand–perhaps their dominant hand (this is just for interest only. Some weirdos, like myself, enjoy knowing handedness. I’m a lefty, and it fascinates me to figure out who is a lefty and who’s not). This handprint can be mounted in the book as-is, or you can cut around it and mount it silhouette-style (i.e., white on black paper, black on white paper, etc.).

Ask each person to fill out a survey, if possible. if the person is a young child, too young to understand, ask the child’s parents about any applicable questions. Examples of great survey questions can be found on the internet or in most email in-boxes. 🙂

Ask each person to share a favorite event from their childhood. What would make this a true gem would be to have the person’s actual handwriting and place it in an envelope on the same page as their handprint. If the handwriting is difficult to read or if it’s written in cursive while your child only reads print, retype the story on the computer in the exact same way the person wrote it (grammar errors, spelling errors, etc.) and place the story in the same envelope.

At the beginning of your book, an idea to include would be a family tree. Choose whatever format you would like.

Don’t make this out to be a real elaborate project, for the children will be going through it and reading it over and over. They’ll be trying to match their hands to the handprints on the pages. If you would like something to last a bit longer and have the extra funds, scan each page in its actual size to the computer and reprint it for the kids to use, and save the original for posterity’s sake. Or take it to a printing place like Kinko’s and have it copied and bound, allowing the children to have the copied piece and have the original stored away. For obvious reasons, don’t let the children play with the original, as it won’t last very long. As family members pass, it will be a sweet reminder of them.

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