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July 23, 2021

Creating a Family Photo Memory Book


As unofficial keeper of the family documents and photographs, I am entrusted with such treasures whenever someone dies. After years of accumulation of these items,including an old photo album from my grandmother's brother's family, I decided I needed to organize and preserve them. 

Scanning was my first step. Once I had all one family treasures scanned, I began scanning various documents I'd gathered in my genealogical research on that family. Scanning complete, I began editing the scans - cropping, resizing, correcting darkness and light problems and so on. 

As soon as I had everything complete for one family I decided to create what I call a Family Memory Book. I eventually want to do one for each family line I have photos and documents for, but for now I worked on my English side - my mother and her parents going back as far as I have photographs. I have a page for each family member for whom I have a photo. Some individuals have many pages as I have a lot of photos and documents for them. Some have only 1 page, others share a page with other family members. It isn't a family tree so does not have to be in any particular order. As long as I labelled each photo, everyone can be identified by comparing names to a chart of the family tree which is included as one of the first pages of the book. 

The photo at left is an example of one page from this 40 page booklet on my mother's English lines. This page holds a photo of my mother and her sister at very young ages, my mother's original birth certificate and a group photo of her at a young age with her parents and older sister. The group photo is actually a photocopy of an original and had to be seriously edited after scanning as photocopies are never a good solution. Sadly it was all I had to work with as no one knows who had the original or where it is now. (As an interesting aside, the young boy standing in the group photo was the son of family friends. The family lost touch but he became my mother's second husband some 65 years after this photo was taken.)

In this Family Memory Book I have scanned and placed photos, birth records, death records, newspaper obituaries, postcards of the ship my grandparents sailed on from England to canada in 1914, copies of ships passenger lists and any other documents I found when researching the lineage. 

Because I have many family heirlooms passed on to me by my English grandmother, I also took pictures of them and included those in the Memory Book. This page is my Grandfather Charles in the Kent Buffs, and his gold pocket watch and initialed signet ring which my Grandmother gave me. 

Each photo in the book has a caption or explanation with it. The progam I am using allows me to stack the photos as if I were creating a scrapbook. I can overlap. I can resize the photos right on the page so that I am able to immediately see how the finished page will look

Once I’m happy with my pages I made copies for my children, printed them on good quality paper, created a cover, and coil bound them.  They make wonderful Christmas gifts 


Miss Merry said...

These books are real treasures. Your family is so fortunate.

Marian B. Wood said...

I like the way you include photos as well as heirlooms. A great way to keep these people and stories alive for future generations!

Shasta Matova said...

These look great. I think your family will really appreciate these. I make books using Shutterfly - they produce really professional books.

Mary said...

Excellent book pattern. What program was used, as mentioned toward the end of the article, to help stack the photos on the pages and reduce sizes?

Susan said...

I would also be interested in the name of the program that you have used to create the book.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Susan and Mary. Sadly the program I used to creat the books is no longer available. I haven’t looked for a replacement since Shutterfly does such a nice, albeit expensive, job