Yesterday ... 1963

I’ll be attending SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, CA this year.  As part of their 50th year celebration they’ve asked attendees to recall a memory to share from the 1960′s.  As you know, I could just write out what I remember from back in the day … But I think you’ll agree – when you share your memory as a digital scrapbook page, it lends a lot more interest and invites the reader to “dive in”.  Here is my submission.  Wish me luck … hope I win :)


So, why should I?

The big question is … why should I?

Why should I make a genealogy scrapbook?

Why should I make it a digital scrapbook?

… and most importantly Why should I buy the Guide to take me step by step through the process?

As a fellow genealogist, I know what goes into the sometimes laborious task of searching through records, visits to courthouses and other repositories and deciphering what you’ve uncovered on microfiche.  Once you’ve made sense of it all, you are likely anxious to share with other family members.  I know I am.  Along the years you’ve probably had grandparents, aunts, cousins and other share the stories of your family.  Now think about it… wouldn’t it be sad to know that without putting all this into some format that help to carry it forward, it could all be lost one day?

The best part of creating a digital scrapbook is that it is so easily shared.  If you’re going to put your history together for others to view, then going the digital route makes it very easy to share – via email, blog, web, print, book and more.

Finally, I can only encourage you to buy your own copy of this helpful guide. First of all, after making the investment, you’ll be one step closer to creating your own family history album.  Secondly, it is a very helpful step-by-step guide that walks you through everything you need to know to make a digital genealogy scrapbook that will preserve your history in an interesting and artistic fashion.  Best of all … it’s now available for your kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3I60IQ.  Just read the reviews and see what others have to say!  Then get started today!!

Now you can Read it on your Kindle

Here’s some exciting news …. I’ve just published BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook on Amazon!  If you’re interested you can now get this guide on your Kindle for an introductory price of only $7.99!


Get yours today at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3I60IQ

My book offers detailed, step-by-step instructions to help you create your own digital genealogy album.  Don’t let the stories, research and supporting documents you’ve collected about your family remain hidden in a binder or a file drawer!  It’s easy and enjoyable and you’ll be rewarded with a project that will not only preserve your family history artistically, but will create a work of art you’ll be proud to share with family and friends.  One that will live on for generations to come.

Screen prints, diagrams and photographs are used to illustrate what is being described so everything can be easily understood. There is also a chapter on incorporating video into your album so you can include interviews you may have conducted or other audio visual materials to make your scrapbook “come alive”.

Just think what your children’s children will find when they open the cover. Unlike a printed  journal, this creative album will be interesting as well as informative. You know a lot about your family – this is the perfect way to share what you’ve found using a digital format that can be easily shared via email, blogs, the web, Powerpoint® slide presentation, print, album or commercially printed book. Best of all, your digital genealogy scrapbook will be a one-of-a-kind created by you!


Tools you’ll need for the Job

It’s fairly obvious that the most essential piece of equipment is your computer.  Preferably one that is relatively fast and able to handle graphics.  A sizable monitor is also helpful in viewing your work as you proceed.

Secondly, you’ll need to scan any documents that are not already in a digital form.  Don’t forget that items such as maps, postcards, brochures, letters, newspaper articles, obituaries, church documents and other memorabilia make great additions to your family history album.  Obviously, photographs are important but when they are lacking or few in number, you can use any of the above items to add interest to the page and help tell the story.

You might also use a digital camera, especially if you’d like to include current day materials or a video of an interview that you’ve conducted.  More on how to incorporate videos in a future blog.

I always recommend using external storage of some sort – not only for the important documents which you’ve uncovered during your research but also for your digital genealogy scrapbook pages.  After you’ve worked hard to create your work of art, you don’t want to lose it due to a computer malfunction.  It’s wise to use three means of back-up – I use a flash drive, the cloud and an external hard drive.  Trust me, one is not enough!

Last but not least, you’ll need a printer – if you chose to print the completed digital pages.  However, if your pages are 12 inches by 12 inches, you may wish to use a commercial printing service instead. I highly recommend scrappingsimply.com.  They are very reasonably priced, offer a high quality product and are able to process orders quickly.

Organization is the Key to Success!

Alright, so I’m ready to get started on our Family History Album.  I’ve got a lot I want to share with interested relatives and hopefully an artistic work of art that will be of interest and enjoyment for generations to come.  I’ve got the photo editing software downloaded and am ready to begin.

But wait .. there’s one more thing that can make the whole process so much easier and have the added benefit of helping with ones genealogy research.  What is it?  Well, it’s organization. Yes, I need to be sure I know what I have gathered about each ancestor, each generation, etc and more important .. where it is on my computer.  Once you know what you have and where it is, the process of putting it into the album is a lot more efficient and enjoyable.

My recommendation is to take a look at the information supplied by Sassy Jane Genealogy.  I purchased her guide:  Organizing Genealogy Research to learn how to get some semblance of order for all the documentation that I’ve found over the years. I’ve used her six folder digital filing system on my computer and it has proved to be an excellent means of storing all my genealogy records. Without organization, you’ll waste a lot of time trying to find something that you know you have but just can’t put your finger on where it is.  The added advantage is that by organizing your collection of documents and sources you’ll find where there are gaps and do a better job of researching each ancestor that you’ll be including in your digital genealogy scrapbook.

I think you’ll find, as I did, that if you organize first, you’ll have a much easier and enjoyable experience in the long run. So give it a try .. I don’t think you’ll regret it!

But I’m not ready yet …

One thing is for sure when it comes to Genealogy Research … it’s never done.  No sooner do you make it past your great-great grandparents and you think that there is no possible way to find anything more.  After all there’s the problem with the census that was destroyed by fire or the church records seem to be available for the year before their birth or the year after their birth but not the years surrounding their birth.  And then there is always that elusive maiden name of your great-grandmother’s mother or the father of that illegitimate child.  Whatever it is, we then seem to assume we can no longer go on … That’s just when something like Find-A-Grave, or a newpaper obituary, or Familytree DNA appears and we are finally able to work through or around that brick wall only to reach another.

Do we wait until we’re sure we’ve uncovered every possible bit of information about all 64 or 128 great-great-grandparents? I can express with confidence, we’ll never be “done”. There is always more to learn about who we are and where we came from.  Meanwhile, the longer we delay in recording what we know, the more we risk losing the opportunity to share what we’ve already learned.

My suggestion:  start with what you already know.  Take a parent or a sibling or a grandparent and make a list of everything that you know about them.  Not just birth, marriage and death date and location.  What about the stories you remember from your childhood, the family traditions, the photos in the shoebox, the documents you have listing them in the census or city directory, a map of where they lived, the group sheets of extended family members?  There is so much you already know that could be put into the first page of your genealogy digital scrapbook album.

Sure you’re bound to learn more … but that’s the beauty of digital.  If you save the pdf formatted version of the pages you create, they can always be altered when you make that next discovery.  So, ready or not, go ahead – start today!

Questions, Obstacles .. Goals

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of doing a workshop with 9 individuals at the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs, CO.  All of whom were excited about the prospects of turning their genealogy records into digital genealogy scrapbooks to share with family and friends.  As you might expect … they had lots of good questions.  (Are there any other kind?)

I’ll be using my next several posts to revisit their questions and any others that my blog viewers might have on this subject.

As the nine enthusiastic workshop attendees were leaving the room, I encouraged them to get started on their albums and to send me a link to or copy of their first page.  And what do you think was the response? One couple said they had more work to do first.  To which I can only comment … don’t we all!  If we wait until we’ve reached the end of our researching to start our scrapbooks, will we ever have a viable way to share what we’ve uncovered?  Others, have now downloaded the Adobe Photoshop software and seem prepared, yet leery to get started on their creations.  One asked if I would do some free lance work and meet to discuss working on her memory book later this year.  Hmmm,  I’d thought about that previously and wondered if it might be a possible option.  I guess we’ll see.

Regardless of the obstacle that any of the attendees seem to face, bear in mind this quote from Henry Ford:

My advice to all … don’t let your obstacles, real or imagined, let you take your eyes of your goal!  Aren’t we all searching for the best way to share with future generations the many things we’ve learned about our ancestors?  Be it a scrapbook or another means, start now. Don’t let your hesitations mean that your research remains hidden in a drawer or a binder.  You really have nothing to lose!

Now, on to those questions!  Please let me know what you’d like to ask in order to move your project forward and I’ll address each and every one.  Thank You.

Where do I begin?

It’s been said .. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

For many, the hardest part of Creating your Digital Genealogy Scrapbook is just getting started.  So to help you do so, I’d like to present a few hints.

I like to use a composition notebook.  They’re not too expensive and offer a simple way to combine your thoughts, ideas and sketches in one place.


  • Label the cover with the Name of the Scrapbook / Family /  Surname or Ancestors that will be included in your Album
  • Jot down ideas
  •  Use separate pages to list all that you know about an ancestor or family
  • Make a list of the photos that you have or the ones you need to scan
  • What documents are available that you want to include?
  • What designs of pages have you found that  you like?
  • Sketch out a rough draft of what you might want  to include on a scrapbook layout, including:





  • Determine the number  of frames or locations needed on the template
  • Create a timeline of who will be included in the album and in what order
  • Make a brief outline of the pages that will be included for each ancestor, family, generation, etc.
  • Create a “Due date”  for yourself of what you need to do by when for each page

You may not use everything you’ve included in the book but it’s a great way to get your thoughts and ideas on paper in order to help you get a start on your project.  I find that it helps to get the creative juices flowing.  You don’t need to create detailed sketches … just a line drawings to give you an idea on placement on the page, what’s to be included, etc. Also, it’s not essential that you use a composition book .. I just find it convenient.  However, you might have a tablet with features that allow you to create sketches / notebooks and that would work equally as well.

My advice is to use whatever it takes to move you “off the dime” and to the point of getting a start creating the project.  Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Where to next?

I’m really excited about the upcoming workshop that I’m conducting at the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs, CO.  for the genealogy club.  It will be next Thursday, Feb 20th from 9 to noon.  We’ll actually be creating a digital genealogy scrapbook page.  If you’re in the area, please plan to attend but be sure to RSVP to John Major at the library.

Jamboree Marketing Page button

Then in June I’m headed to California to attend my 1st Jamboree. I’ve heard great things about this conference. The pre-conference symposium on DNA is of special interest to me.  So California here we come!  Plus, I’m hoping to be chosen as one of the speakers for the 2015 Jamboree, so it’ll be nice to get some preliminary exposure to the conference.


Read all about It!

Aaron Christensen of the Deseret News was in the audience on Thursday and wrote this very nice article about the presentation given at RootsTech.

Read all about it!

He did a great job of summarizing the information that was presented.  I encourage you to read what he had to say by clicking on the above link.  Most importantly, I hope you will give digital scrapbooking a try and create at least one page using the research that you’ve gathered about your family.

Happy Scrapping!