Family Heritage Album
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courtesy of: Ronda Winter Gilstrap Professional Genealogist Creative Memories Instuctor Porterville, CA


*Masterpiece Black Leather Album, Premiere Album or Big Book (Bookshelf) Album
*1-2 Album Page Refills
*Photo Tape (4-6) rolls
*Large Photo Corners (one box)
*Colored Paper (at least one pack of two colors)
*Antique or Alpine Scissors (deckle type edge)
*Family Tree Page
*20-30 large acid-free, lignin-free, buffered envelopes (long-term storage) or manilla envelopes
(short-term storage)
*100% cotton ivory resume paper, 8 1/2 x 11 (for laser copies, printed histories, quotes and
*100% cotton white resume paper 8 1/2 x 11 (for color copies, tinted photos and paste-up


1. "Our Family" -A beautiful album. Consists of a fancy pedigree chart on the first page followed
by a two page spread for each family unit on the pedigree chart. Use the family group sheet to
register basic info. Add pictures, documents, memorabilia and quotes to complete each spread.

2. "Book of Remembrance" - A comprehensive album that includes the bulk of research findings.
Always start with a pedigree chart. Family groups should begin each unit. This is a great way to
store originals (pictures, documents, ect.). Mount with corners if future copies are anticipated.
Some prefer a file cabinet system for storage of large projects. If this is the case, a beautiful
album can be made with nice copies of documents, and reproductions of pictures. Remember
that compiling one's family history into book form is the "crowning glory for any genealogist's
work. I have seen families throw away file cabinets full of research when their loved one died. An
album is almost never thrown out and is always enjoyed.

3. "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 thier
descendants (your shildren's cousins) or extended to your cousins' families. Don't forget to use
the family group sheets. They help to identify the relationship of each family.

4. "Descendants" - Choose an ancestor and go in reverse pedigree order (Great-grandpa, his
children, their children, ect.) This could be set up similar to a cousins album. This can be a very
interesting album and even a money-maker for the creator if done properly.

5. "Branch" - Follow one branch of the family tree. For example, "Mom's ancestry" or "The

6. "Single Family" - Use this album for the history of one family unit. Should include a pedigree
chart with the children as the starting point. Include pictures, documents, memorabilia, and oral
histories, journal entries or reminiscences. Makes a very interesting and treasured keepsake.

7. "Posterity Album" - Create this album for your future children's children. Include pictures,
histories, documents, copied of newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia. Think Ahead! This
album takes creativity. Include everyday items that will some day be of interest to your
descendants such as the words to your favorite song, bills (yes, bills!!), news stories (add your
political commentary!) , a page from the T.V. guide, ect. Choose unique items that describe your
life today.

8. "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 witht he written history.

"The Album Assembly"

I. Suggested album layout order
A. Title Page
B. Pedigree Chart as the Table of Contents
C. First person is person to whom the album belongs
1. 2 pg. spread: baby picture, birth certificate
2. 2 pg. spread: school and graduation
3. 2 pg. spread: courtship, wedding
4. 2 pg. spread: family, pets, or interests
5. 2 pg. spread: grand parenting
D. Second Person: Father
(use same format making adjustments as needed)
E. Third Person: Mother
F. Fourth Person: Grandfather on father's side
G. Fifth Person: Paternal grandmother
(ect.... ect..... follow pedigree chart throughout)

II. Layout and design of pages
A. Color code
1. Choose two complimentary colors: One for paternal linage and one for maternal lineage.
2. On the pages with photos of the person to whom the album belongs, use both colors for mounting and decorating.
B. 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:
1. Trim the photo only to remove ragged edges and excess white.
Crop to smaller size when desireable, but leave photo in a rectangle shape.
2. Mount all photos on ivory paper. Deckle cut and leave a 1/8 to 1/4 inch border.
3. 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.
4. Use photo mounting tape on everything except for the originals or expensive reproductions.
5. Use mounting corners on all original documents and photos.
6. Use photo mounting sleeves for first page of every written history and for fragile items.

III. 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 cur photos into shapes unless absolutely necessary. Keep photos in original shapes to man\intain 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 selctive. 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.
H. CAUTION: The new heritage stickers are lovely but will detract from the historical value of the album when used in excess. Please use extreme restraint with stickers.

IV. 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, Consistant, Priceless.

Heritage album ideas
Posted by Denny on the Stampin and Scrappin Message Board on November 20, 1998

Color coding people and relationships. Use one color for each generation to mat the photos. For the ones in your direct line double mat the photos using a coordinating print.
That way the childrenís grandparents are in one color - parents, aunts and uncles in another and cousins in another.
Note: I might use this idea in a book for a child (like some people make when most of their relatives live far away and are seen infrequently) but in an actual heritage album I
would find it better to use the colors to designate different families.
Through my grandmotherís 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
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.
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.
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 I am using black, white, classic navy and light blue paper, black and blue pens, antique scissors and wavy borderline.
---------------------------------------------------------- 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.
For Christmas b&w pictures the cranberry and evergreen look better than the regular red and green.
I use the pattern of some of the die-cuts and cut them out of neutral paper.
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.
You might look at some of the regular handouts you have. Since they are usually in black and white you may be able to adapt them by changing the recommended color choices that
are written on them.