Case study: putting together a family history
Have you got shoeboxes full of old unlabelled photos, a few sketchy notes and a rough idea of a family tree? Are you wondering what to do with the stuff you have collected, or how you would start if you finally got at a genealogy project? In order to show readers effective family histories, I looked and looked for some great examples. Then I found Jane Taubman. She displayed four of her family pages in the heritage gallery on Digital Scrapbook Place. She is fortunate to have amazing photographs of her family to work with, but what she has done with the photographs is what sets her apart. It turns out she lives in the UK. She was happy to share with us how she put these pages together.
Although Jane has been at digital scrapbooking only a few months, she has been collecting family history for 10 years and she has researched and tried many different softwares and formats before settling on this one. As well as reading digital scrapbooking sites, she reads magazines such as Family Tree, Your Family Tree, and Digital Photo.
To gather and sort the information, produce a family tree, generate some reports and support her family website (Jane's Family History), she uses the family tree software, Family Historian and the Family Historian user group site.
This software differs from the others in that it is particularly good at dealing with photographs. "You can attach single photos to multiple people, drawing around each person in the group and linking them to a person in your file (an example of this can be seen here. In addition, she says, "You can attach scans of documents (such as birth certificates) to sources and house or village photos to marriages or other events. FH also supports other media such as sound recordings and video."
Before Taubman gets to use the photos she works on improving them (cropping, enhancing brightness, etc.) with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 (now available in version 3).
"A great trick with faded photographs is to adjust the levels (CTRL-L) in PSE and pull the black and white arrows back towards the centre of the histogram," explains Taubman. Click here for an example of fixing faded photos.
For layouts, and collages, Jane has discovered FotoFusion and raves about how fast it is. The journaling is an integral part of her layouts. Her tip for those starting out in family histories: "First ask the oldest living relative about his or her life, don't push them if they say they don't remember, just discuss what you have found out from your record office research and let them talk about what they want."
Finally, the backgrounds and embellishments came from a kit from Digital Scrapbook Place The photo corners came from the Scraps of Style-Heritage Kit. The lettering, background and ribbon are all from "A Time For Everyone" aka Grungy Diamonds, which is in the Freebies section of the site. But to download you need to sign up (which is free).
Jane Taubman's ultimate goal is to produce a 16 X 12” book along with a few mini versions (8 X 6”) which will be printed by My Publisher. She is well on her way to her publishing goal. Thanks for sharing.