As we headed into fall I found myself creating heritage books for several clients for holiday gifts. What is a heritage book? Unlike a traditional photo book documenting your year or vacation, a heritage book documents your family history. I usually try to include multiple generations of family photos and the content can be grouped in a variety of ways including by family (mother’s side, father’s side) or by event (weddings, military service, school) across generations.
The wonderful thing about these books is having your entire family appear right in front of you. Pictures that usually sit in boxes or tubs in a basement are now front and center to enjoy. I love being able to see how a current family member’s baby picture looks so similar to a relative several generations back! I’ll include old school papers, drawings from art class, even cutouts of dogs or paper dolls that have been carefully preserved over time. I’ve scanned varsity letters and mortar board tassels to supplement those graduation photos. Newspaper announcements, invitations and cards also add details to the collection.
Depending on the service request from the client, I sometimes include genealogy information. I like to use an illustrated tree to then note the various generations with birth and death dates. I’ll use a snapshot of a really interesting census record or note generations of occupations in a family (farmer to line worker to office manager to attorney!).
The other aspect of having a heritage book in hand is watching how kids take an interest in them. There is always a “family tree” topic in elementary schools and I know for my own children they enjoyed simply grabbing the heritage book and flipping through their history (again and again!).
To bring a heritage book to life it starts with photo organization. Acquiring and sorting through these old photos takes effort. It is helpful to have a personal photo organizer supporting the process and selecting those pictures that really tell the story. Sometimes themes will come to life when looking through these curated collections.
As families gather for the holidays, think about asking everyone to bring their old photos with them to start building a complete family history. What a gift to give next holiday season...a digital collection of these preserved photos, and a beautiful heritage book to enjoy!
Want to kick off the new year with an organized photo collection? Contact me for your free 30-minute consultation!