Scrapbooks Help Organize Family Photos and Stories

by Bob Brooke

Holidays are family times. As Christmas draws near, many families gather to reminisce about old times. What better way is there to motivate conversations than to prepare a family scrapbook.

Preparing scrapbooks has achieved new heights. Many families used to keep photo albums-you know the kind, black pages with photos attached with those sticky corners. Photo albums today have become so high tech with plastic pages or just slots for photos that all the charm of those old albums is gone. But it doesn't have to be.

A scrapbook containing old photos, drawings, stories, and family mementos is one of the best ways to preserve recent family history. Preparing one can become a family project, with everyone, including the kids, helping to collect material. Empty those old shoe boxes and get started.

You can use a commercially prepared blank scrapbook or you can make one from heavy colored cardstock bound in a loose-leaf binder. The advantage of the latter is not only that the pages will lay flat whe n opened but that you can customize it for your family. Perhaps you'll choose to divide the material by years or events. You may even want to use a binder with a plastic sleeve on the front, so you can slide in a family photo or create a title page on your computer.

But the biggest problem with many photo albums is the lack of information about the people in the photographs. Have you ever spent time looking through someone's scrapbook and wondered who was in the pictures or what the special occasion was?

It's very important to write the whom, what, where, when, and why, or at least part of this information. Most important are names of people. If you can, include first and last names of those people who are not part of your family. You never know. The person standing next to someone in an old photo could end up to be their husband or wife!

While old photo albums often had handwritten or printed captions. It's easier if these are done on a typewriter or computer. A computer word processing prog ram will enable you to use various fonts(type faces) as well as make it easier to enlarge titles. Computers can print smaller and neater than most humans. After entering the information you want to use in your computer, print it out on acid-free paper. Once the information is printed out, you may want to mount it on colored cardstock to make it look more professional.

Because using a computer allows you to use less space, you can also write stories to go along with your photographs. Take the time to gather information for these stories. Other people will enjoy looking through your books more if they can enjoy the stories behind the pictures. These stories can be long or short. They can be about the person in the photo or about the event taking place.

Every so often take the time to record special information that doesn't necessarily go with a particular photo. This can be information like what new words a baby has said, who a child's best friends are, antidotes a family member has told, accomplish ments, or anything else you feel your family might like to hear.

Take time to record the important information for your scrapbooks. Scrapbooks are meant to be more than a picture book. They're meant to tell the story of a family's life. Pictures alone do not tell the whole story. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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