Our guide to create a family history album

Preserve your family tree in a perfect generational heirloom

In the digital age where memories are often fleeting and easily forgotten in the depths of our smartphones, there’s something truly special about curating your family history into a tangible, physical keepsake to hold in your hands. A family history album not only documents your family tree in a heartwarming format, but also preserves the memory of milestone moments, important people, and family artifacts that deserve to be cherished. Here are our six essential tips to help you create a timeless family history album that will be treasured for years to come.

1. Gather your memories

Mother with two daughters all wearing white sitting in dry grass field

Photo Credit: Lavi & Co. Photography

The first step in creating a family history album is to gather your memories. Set aside plenty of time to sift through old family yearbooks, shoeboxes of pictures, and digital archives to select the most significant images that represent how your family has grown and developed over time. You could start with the great, greats in your family, or just stick within your immediate family members. There’s also the option to document the memories of a tight-knit chosen family. The choice is up to you.

Don't forget to involve other family members in the process – they may have precious photos or stories to contribute that you are yet to discover. Of course, this process can also have an emotional aspect, and be a sensitive time for your family members and loved ones, so take care in the photos you choose. If you’d like to make the process more memorable, you could host a family get-together and make this a celebration of your family history.

2. Plan the layout

Two old faded photographs of a man and woman

Once you have gathered your family photos, each picture will need to be laid out in a way that makes sense to you. Take time to think about how you want to organize the photos - if they should be chronological by year, by family member, or by a specific theme.

If you choose a chronological layout, it can give a linear depiction of how your family came to be and evolved. This will allow you to trace back to key milestones and remember every person in your family tree – a wonderful heirloom idea to be passed down to your children, and theirs.

Highlighting one family member can be a precious gift to a loved one, or create a beautiful tribute to someone’s life in a bereavement album.

Choosing a theme for your family history book is an option for those who have an abundance of memories or would like to focus on a specific milestone or time period. This can be a great idea for a creative photo book or a journal of each key moment that arises.

However you decide to arrange your albums, doing so will make the creation of your family history book easier in the long run. We have a variety of beautiful family albums in the MILK Gallery to take inspiration from.

The cover of your family history album sets the tone for the rest of the book, so choose a style that reflects your loved one's personality, or what's appropriate for the structure of your family history album. Whether you opt for sleek Milano Leather, a textured Natural Linen, or a fingerprint friendly Coated Cloth, ensure that it resonates especially with you and those involved.

We have a large variety of Designer Covers to give you the flexibility to create a timeless album of the utmost quality. Add a special hero image or title text to mark your album before you turn the pages. Or, you can add text to the spine to label your book elegantly for a bookshelf or stack - especially if you plan on making a collection.

4. Add a personal touch

Open Portrait Premium Photo Album with dad and son photo next to text on spread

Incorporate memorabilia into your family history album – these can be external bits and pieces once it’s been made, or additions of text on specific pages. Capture or scan photos of old letters, newspaper clippings, stamps, or film photography to include in the pages of your album. Add text by way of beloved quotes and inside jokes, names, or specific dates to caption your photography.

One creative way to form a connection between past and present generations is to add family recipes, which can be remembered and passed down as the album lives on. See this example by the Oraftik family for inspiration. These additional items (like recipes) add personality to your album and help bring the story of your family to life.

5. Connect and share online

Laptop open with online photo book highlighting sharing on social media icons

Photo Credit: Lucy McGregor

While your family history album can be a deeply personal project, it's also meant to be shared and enjoyed with your loved ones. Sharing your keepsake ensures the legacy will be preserved and treasured for years and years.

Every MILK Photo Book or Album comes with a free Online Photo Flip Book, which is essentially a digital version of your keepsake that allows you to virtually flip through the pages in your browser. To share your keepsake online, navigate to 'My Online Photo Books' on your Account details to find a shareable link. Here, you can also share via social media and email. Of course, you can browse your book digitally too - if you'd like to see it on-the-go or before it's physically in your hands.

6. Create a collection

Open Portrait Premium Photo Album with old family photos

Family history albums are just the beginning – consider turning it into a collection of yearbooks, a book of memories for each family member, or a book for each generation of the family tree. We know it can be difficult to remember to create these books annually, so we recommend designating a specific time each year to add family photo memories to your album. You could also add a photo every two weeks, monthly - or whenever you want! Over time, your set of family history albums will evolve into a comprehensive chronicle of your family's journey through life.

Creating a family history album is a labor of love that pays homage to your family's past while celebrating the present. By following our tips, you can create a timeless archival photo book or album (or collection) that will be adored by your family for generations to come. Preserve your memories, tell your story, and share your family legacy to stand the test of time.

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