Friday, July 20, 2007

Scrapbook Themes for the Genealogist

When you think about it, a lot of genealogy is measured by time and place. By that I mean that along with the names we put on the family tree we add significant dates and the places where significant events happened. We typically mark our ancestors' lives by major life events... birth, marriage, and death, being the most common ones but graduations, birthdays, and religious ceremonies are common as well. Residences, temporary assignments (military, religious, etc.), and journeys (and vacations) determine the places we attach significance to for our ancestors.

So when it comes to scrapbooking the old photos of one's ancestors, it's fitting to use a theme that matches a given era or a location to help identify the time and place. For instance, if your ancestors came from Scotland you might use a tartan plaid on pages featuring them. If grandpa was stationed in France during WWII, you might want to feature a 1940s map of France and items such as the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe as decorative page elements when you display photos of him in his military uniform. Do you have pictures of your grandma dressed as a flapper from the 1920s era? Creating a scrapbook page in the art deco style would be very appropriate and consistent with the time period. I could go on and on (and I will in future posts) but for now we'll leave it at that.

I'm going to explore various periods and places in terms of scrapbooking themes. I have to tell you that there are an abundance of themed kits available labeled as "vintage". Generally that means, of the Victorian era, with lots of roses, lace, strings of pearls, pinks and reds, ribbons and bows. I personally love all that stuff but it isn't always the best choice for vintage photos. The best choice will either be timeless or time appropriate. While there is no shortage of vintage scrapbooking kits, I've found it much more difficult to put my hands on kits (digital) for other eras. So, I am going to post here when I do find digital scrapbook kits of various eras, and ethnic themes too. I've started a list in the right column with links to my "finds". If you're looking for a specific era theme or ethnic theme I hope you'll stop by here and take a look. In return, if you should come across a kit for a specific era or ethnicity I hope you'll leave me the link in the comments of any scrapbooking related post on this blog.

What you should know about kits
Some of the kits I will write about are free and others are for purchase. The price to purchase a kit generally ranges from $2-$10 and will come with a number of background papers, elements/embellishments, and often a matching alphabet (not a font that needs to be installed but a series of letter/number images that match the theme). Sometimes there are photo frames and or tags too. When you think about the time it would take you to design all these items, I'm sure you'll agree they are a bargain for the price. I know it would take me several hours to design one of these kits, and several hours of my time is worth more than $2-$10. Lots more! Which brings me to the subject of free kits.

Free kits are just that, free to download. But the designers put just as much time into designing them as the kits for purchase. All they ask is two things: 1) Give them some love for their efforts... that simply means leave them a comment and say "thank you" for sharing your kit. 2) If you post/display a page you put together using elements from their kit mention their name and give them the credit due them. I am constantly amazed at the creative designers who give their kits away for free, knowing as I do the time involved in creating them. They are a very talented, kind, and generous bunch.

Time sensitivity
One last thing about these scrapbooking kits. Generally, the kits for purchase are available indefinitely or at least for pretty long time in the online store selling them. On the other hand, free kits are often available for a very short period of time. The files are usually hosted on free file sharing sites that limit the amount of disc space available per account. So once a kit has been available for a while it will be taken down by the designer to make room for a new kit. That's just the nature of the biz folks. So if you see a free kit you like you should make an effort to download it soon before it becomes unavailable. Because once it's gone, it's gone. If you're not ready to use it yet, let it sit on your hard drive or burn it to a CD. If you let it go thinking you'll go back for it in a few weeks when you have more time you may well regret it.

Kits shown here
The first kit I'm showing here (the blue one) is called Bonnie Scotland - Blue Seas. It's a free kit by Snowraven and it's featured on the Snowraven's Cave blog. This is a Scottish theme and it comes with everything you need for one very classy Scottish-themed scrapbook page.

The second kit I'm showing here (the pink and green one) is called All Things Vintage - Coral n Cream Fans, by Lucy Hampton. It is for sale for $4 at Check it out to see all the things it comes with. This site also has many, many other "vintage" kits. Just enter "vintage" in the search box on the home page and see for yourself.

1 comment:

The footnoteMaven said...


Really great kits! I found the Snowraven's website very interesting.

When I have some time (when will that be?) I'd like to attempt to make a kit of my own.

I'm still working on a Coat of Arms that I want to use as a bookplate for my sister's birthday.