Saturday, February 11, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, Week 6, Family Heirlooms

Never ask a scrapbooker the family heirloom for which she is most thankful! You know what the answer will be -- the old photos.

I do have an abundance of heirlooms. Among them are mementos from the Columbian Exposition of Chicago in 1893, costume jewelry from the 1800s and a Navajo rug from my grandmother's early days in Arizona. Each of these things are just that -- things. They do not represent my ancestors. I value my ancestors, rather than the things they owned. There are two heirlooms that are special to me because they remind me of the spirit of my ancestors.

A Lone Star Quilt

My great-grandmother, Daisy Myrtle Maddox, was a gifted quilter who left behind several beautiful handmade quilts. My brother and I each have one. Mine is a lone star quilt in shades of soft green that often adorned my parent's bed when I was a child. It is old and fragile and today I keep it packed away. The lone star is also special to me because it is a difficult design to execute well. Just the thought of it reminds me of Daisy's love of her family and the thousands of stitches with which she showed her caring throughout the 80 years of her life.

Three Images

The second heirloom I cherish is actually a trio that I scrapbooked several years ago. The focus is a small pin made between 1893 and 1904. It is similar to the common button pins made today, but it is mounted in a pretty spiral frame. The image on the pin is a photograph of my great-grandfather, Clark Earl Crispen. The same photograph is also on a cabinet card taken in Chicago by 1893, the year he went west. The third part of the trio is a 1904 photograph of Daisy wearing the pin as a brooch at her neck. Both of these photos are in my collection. They are precious to me because the objects form an infinite loop of connectivity between my great-grandparents, who later divorced, yet were always friendly.

Club Scrap Ivory Elegance paper kit, images scanned and stitched

How Was I So Lucky?

I was blessed with so many of the family heirlooms by chance. My grandmother's immediate family was small. My great-grandfather's mother and childless sister both left photo collections with Clark at their deaths, as he was the last survivor of his generation. Their collections and Clark's then passed to my grandmother, his youngest daughter, as she was caring for him at his death. Daisy's collection also fell to her, as she also cared for Daisy. My grandmother's only child predeceased her, leaving only my brother and myself. We have divided many heirlooms, but he wants scans of most photos, rather than the originals. I've spent many hours sorting, scanning, and discarding duplicates.

The Start of My Genealogy

If it were not for the photos, I might never have delved into my family history. When my grandmother and I started going through them in the early 1990s, I had no idea who all these people were and how they related to me or to each other. I couldn't keep them straight on paper, so I bought my first genealogy program and started putting in names and dates. The unknown photos captured my imagination, and I soon found myself launching into the research that has now grown my database to over 5000 names. Along the way I've identified unknowns, met new cousins and acquired photos for relatives I never knew I had. And I also turned to scrapbooking as a way to present and preserve the photos.

I'm very thankful indeed for the old family photos.

Scrapping A Memento

Some mementos are too thick or large for a scrapbook layout. They can be photographed or scanned and the image placed into a layout. Other keepsakes are small enough to use on a layout. This pin is flat enough to fit inside a foam core board.

The board has to be cut down to about 11 x 11 so it fits into a 12 x 12 album. The card stock also needs to be trimmed to make it just a little smaller. Trim the page by small increments until it fits. I cut the hole for the pin with a circle guide and cutter, then trimmed the edges with a strip of brown paper, slit to fan out at the front and back. A piece of the same brown is on the back of the hole. The pin is covered with a piece of a transparency, trimmed with the brown journaling circle to hold it all together. All journaling was computer-generated, using the RGB codes provided with the paper kit.

Using Scanned Photos

The photos were resized and reprinted from scanned images, so that they could be matched in size and shape. This is one of the many uses of the photos that you scan: making them larger or smaller to fit your design. These photos were cut to shape with an oval guide. Don't cut your original photos, as one day you might regret it. Rather, reprint the photos and trim with abandon.

Another Foam Core Layout

This layout was a hit when shared online. I took the letter off my high school letter sweater and traced it on foam core board. After making sure it fit, I added card stock, also with the letter cut out. The letter fits down in the core, but the pins ride above it a bit, making a bulky layout. Watch your bulky items to keep them from damaging important photos on the opposite page.

The scary thing to me is that this is almost a heritage layout, as high school kids today have never seen a letter sweater, except in their parent's closet.

Club Scrap Musical Interlude paper kit

1 comment:

  1. This was so interesting to read about you and your family.