Did you keep a scrapbook in your childhood? Was it something like this – black pages with all kinds of ephemera pasted or taped to it?
It was always a delight to pull out an old family album or scrapbook and take a trip down memory lane. It’s even more exciting when we get our hands on an ancestor’s scrapbook. Unfortunately back in the day we never heard of anything like “archival quality paper” to preserve precious childhood treasures. Today some of those treasures are in pretty sad shape.
It dawned on me a while back that my family history blog had turned into a sort of scrapbook. It wasn’t anything I planned. It just happened. I thought for a while and decided I liked it. Apparently my family does too. My subscribers list is growing and many of them are family with a surprising number of childhood friends too.
What does it take to build a scrapbook blog? Not much. My Moultrie Creek Journal blog is hosted at WordPress.com using the personal plan ($36/year). This gives me a domain name along with 6GB of storage for images, movies and PDF documents along with a broad range of site themes. I’m using the Fictive theme which has a simple, but eye-catching design and supports post formats – a different look for each post type (text, image, video, quote, etc.).
What really makes WordPress a great platform for a family history scrapbook is its social networking integrations. Family and friends can subscribe to receive new posts via email or newsreader and WordPress will “announce” each new post at my choice of social networks where family members are known to hang out. WordPress also has an impressive commenting system that works much like Facebook so visitors can add their own comments, photos and other ephemera to the conversation.
One of the very nice things about blogging your family history is that it will attract more than just your “close” relatives. Blogs are very search-friendly and it’s not unusual to have a distant relative discover your online scrapbook. They may even have useful information to pass on – like who is that unknown person in a family photo.
Using a blog as a scrapbook doesn’t limit your creative urges either. I like to create collage-style graphics like the one you see above and use them as the “focus” image at the beginning of a post. It attracts attention and provides time and place for the story that follows.
Blogs are surprisingly versatile and a great place to get creative. Even better, it can attract attention and start conversations you never expected. It’s definitely worth a look!