Members’ Meeting

In a break with tradition we were entertained by two speakers, Audrie Reed and Nina Green, who came from Cambridge to encourage members to consider using “scrapbooking” for presenting family histories. we also had an exhibition of diufferent ways in which individual members have created their own family trees. These included embroidered and quilted panels of trees as well as scrapbooks and albums and a collage of a “This your life” family tree.
Audrie is a producer who creates film and photographic records for people and Nina runs a crafting materials business. They jointly talked about ways of illustrating your family tree and how to showcase your materials.
They prefaced the talk with inviting us to think about what we will do with all the material we have collected and what our children and grandchildren will do with all the material we leave them.
Nina spoke about the background to scrapbooking and how it has developed from the original Victorian way of creating books of scraps, pictures, embroidery and other materials which were kept together in commonplace books. Friendship albums were with quotations and notes were a development of this and people started collecting additional materials especially after photographs became widely available. Scrapbooking is an American term that covers the collecting and presentation of photographs and materials relating to a person or an event and then presenting the material in an attractive way.
Essentially it is a way of keeping everything together and making it accessible and relevant. A scrapbook could be a whole family tree or an individual’s life or indeed, a specific event such as a wedding. The important thing is to decide on the focus for the scrapbook: is it to be a whole tree, an individual or the mother’s family or the father’s family? In order to ensure that the scrapbook survives make sure that the materials(papers, adhesives, decorative items) used are of archival quality, photo-safe, acid-free and lignum-free. It is also important to make sure that the album can grow so start with a ring binder or similar. The usual scrapbooking size is 12” square as this is the US standard and there are lots of suitable materials available in this size.
One of the things that distinguishes scrapbooking from a photograph album is “journaling” which is the addition of written or printed materials to enhance or explain the materials. This of course makes it particularly suitable for creating family histories. Again the advice is to ensure that the ink or pen used is acid free and archival quality.
Audrie and Nina both emphasised the importance of being organised about your materials and suggested different starting points for a scrapbook. They also recommended being really organised about materials and suggested starting a resource file and making sure that photographs are kept with vital information about who, what, where and when recorded on them. Audrie suggested using scans of photographs rather than originals as it is then possible to crop or resize; it is often possible to find new information on scans of older photographs as many of the older 20th century photographs were printed up very small and a scan often allows you to enlarge the original image.
Various suggestions were made about using pocket storage for photographs, laminating newspaper cuttings and using additional materials to enhance and embellish the materials you have collected. They suggested using the internet to search for “scrapbooking family trees” for lots of ideas.
Members enjoyed the presentation and the opportunity to look at different ways of presenting family history from the speakers and other members. There was an opportunity to look at and buy a range of different materials that can be used in scrapbooking and certainly several members went home determined to start scrapbooking their family trees.
[Margaret Lake ]

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