Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour


"How to Archive Family Keepsakes" 
Blog Book Tour

Guest Post by Author Denise Levenick

First, Save History, Then Share It
Although Dr. Bill and I have never met, I feel like we are old friends. How could that be? We don’t email, share Tweets or FaceBook “Likes,” or post on each other’s Pinterest boards. I feel a connection to Bill because of the stories he spins on this blog. Whether he’s remembering a favorite relative or recalling an interesting time or place, Dr. Bill reminds me that ancestor stories are what family history is really all about.
Today’s Guest Post for the Blog Book Tour features an excerpt from my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes on the role of the Creator who inherits an ancestor’s stories, photos, and artifacts. I hope you enjoy reading about the many opportunities for creating ancestor stories from your own family archive.

Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012). 
People who inherit family archives often fall into one of three categories: the Curator, the Creator or the Caretaker. The Curator can’t wait to open those boxes and get everything sorted and organized. The Creator sees possibility, too. Writers, photographers, filmmakers, scrapbookers, and family historians are all creators who see potential projects in the depths of a family archive. In their excitement to create something from what they’ve found, creator-types can find it difficult to pause and organize, and then to pause again to preserve the materials they have used. The Caretaker, on the other hand, might be just as happy to push the cartons to the back of the garage and forget about them, but in good conscience, he can’t. It just wouldn’t be responsible.
The Role of the Creator
A family history archive is an exciting resource for genealogy, scrapbooks, albums, films, and other creative projects. Even mass-market greeting cards have found a use for vintage family photos. Creative opportunities are everywhere.
If you plan to use a family archive in a creative endeavor, take time to research copyright laws and to obtain any necessary permission from other family members. Ownership of an item does not automatically give you the right to use or reprint an original work.
The women in my family have been great letter writers and I have inherited a great deal of correspondence. According to United States Copyright Law, however, those letters are not mine to reprint or publish until they fall into the public domain, which is seventy years after the death of the author. Until then, the rights belong to the heirs of the authors.
My grandmother Arline corresponded with many friends and relatives and she kept many of the letters she received. Even though those letters belonged to Arline and I inherited them, I cannot reprint them. The contents of those letters are just as protected as the content of any books I inherited from Arline. Fortunately, my grandmother inherited her mother’s things, and her mother had kept many of the letter Arline had written her, so in a round-about way, I did inherit many of Arline’s letters, and because I am her legal heir I am entitled to reprint and publish her works.
Creators should be aware of copyright laws affecting material found in a family archive. Be certain that you have the legal right to print or reuse the work before publishing or using in another form.
Creators will find many ways to use a family archive in their projects — from inspiration, to raw materials, to information sources. Following are a few ideas.

Complete a Family Pedigree

Genealogists and family historians look to family archives for primary research materials to confirm data or help break down brick walls. You may want to learn more about the life of your loved one, or unravel a family mystery.
Use your family archive to focus on finding and preserving vital records, those bits of history that establish who you are and where you came from.
Use good citations to credit the source of your information; your pedigree chart or family history sketch is a creative endeavor based on fact.

Write a Biography

If you plan to write a biography, you will need to save as much as you can that might shed light on the lives of your ancestors, and organize it for future analysis. In addition to vital records to establish lineage, look for items that will put flesh on the bones of your family stories.

Assemble a Scrapbook

Are you an avid scrapbooker? Your family archive can yield wonderful material for a legacy album. Make your project more manageable by prioritizing your heritage projects. Decide if you want to assemble an album featuring your grandparents’ lives, or if you’d rather make a family tree book for your children. Use your family archive to add visual interest to your story by digitizing original documents and photos for your scrapbooks. Look for items that are visually appealing and “tell the story.”

Compile a Family Medical History

Advances in genetic testing and analysis continue to add new possibilities for family health histories. Your intimate knowledge of your ancestors’ life span, illnesses, and cause of death can provide a vital link in a generational health study. Use your archive to add information to your family health history.
As you work with items from your family archive, take time to record the provenance, or history, of the item. Write down who it belonged to and how it came into your possession.

Excerpt from How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick (Family Tree Books, 2012). Copyright, 2012, Denise May Levenick. All Rights Reserved.
How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012) ISBN 1440322236
Paperback / eBook Family Tree Books,, Scribd, iBooks, Barnes& 10% Savings Coupon ShopFamilyTree.


Join the Blog Tour
Join the Blog Book Tour for How to Archive Family Keepsakes January 10-26, 2013 for author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more. Visit the Blog Book Tour Page at The Family Curator website for the complete schedule.
Proceeds from the sale of How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Book Tour will help fund the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant founded in 2010 in honor of Denise’s mother, Suzanne Winsor Freeman.

Blog Book Tour Giveaways
Comment on daily Book Blog Tour Post
Tweet the Tour Twitter @FamilyCurator #keepsakebooktour
Share the Tour on FaceBook, Google+, Goodreads
It’s easy to enter to win a free copy of Denise’s new book or one of the weekly giveaway prizes. All you have to do is leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs. Random winners will also be selected from social media comments on Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+.
Each blog tour post comment gives you one chance to win; one entry per post per day, please. Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour and increase your chances of winning. The lucky names will be announced each Saturday during the tour at The Family Curator.

 About the Author
In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” Denise May Levenick is a writer, researcher, and speaker with a passion for preserving and sharing family treasures of all kinds. She is the creator of the award-winning family history blog, The Family Curator and author of the new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records, (Family Tree Books, 2012).

Families are Forever!  ;-)


  1. Thank you, Bill, for hosting the Blog Book Tour today! I always enjoy reading your new creations from family history lore.

  2. So glad you hosted the Blog Book Tour today, otherwise I might not have found your blog - and I love it!

  3. Thank you, thank you! Lots of folks stopped by... thank you, Denise, for inviting me! Hope it worked well all around. Welcome, Faye! Look forward to your regular visits! ;-)

  4. I learned so much from reading your blog today! Thank you for being part of the tour!

  5. I did too! It was a outstanding excerpt! So happy to be able to share it! ;-)

  6. I'm loving and looking forward to each day of the tour. Thank you for touching on copyright laws; this is something I never even thought about until recently and wish I understood a bit better. I would really love to be able to use or display some of the stuff that has been passed on to me for other family members to enjoy...until I have a better grasp of copyright laws I'll continue to organize everything. Thanks for sharing such great information with us.

    1. Thank you for stopping by to see this post. It does have a lot of great information. ;-)

  7. I like the idea about compiling a family medical history. It could be important for future family members and myself.

    1. I began adding medical information to my genealogy database a few years ago. It really get the family to thinking and asking questions. All good stuff! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! ;-)

    2. I've been collecting my family's medical history for about 20 years. I send out an update to my 6 siblings annually.

  8. I enjoyed reading the guest post, and learned a lot from it.

    1. Thank you for your visit, and leaving a comment. Neat! Good stuff, huh?! ;-)

  9. Thanks for being a stop on the book tour. Denise, my new thing to learn for today is the copyright laws for correspondence letters. How interesting.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I really learned from this post myself! ;-)

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