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Epson Computer Tip – Quick & Easy Digital Scrapbooking
(Using Digital Scrapbooking Kits to Create
An Easy Baby Themed Digital Scrapbook Page)
By Barbara Kotsos

For project ideas and more, visit

One of the great things you can do with scrapbooking is create a family history book
Using what you already have, what you can gain from relatives and an often surprising treasure trove of materials you can find online. A good starting place is to create a free family history site on This will let you organize your information and print out a family tree, easily.

The nice part about this is you can share this tree with your family – wherever they may live. You can upload photos and stories – and so can your aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters – whomever you’d like to invite. Then you know your family history information is archived and preserved for everyone - and it’s entirely free. You can then print the photos and stories for your family history book.

Now, here’s the fun part. As you add your family to your tree on, their search engines will automatically start searching its records for relevant matches. For ten years has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and billions of hours to scan, preserve and index documents so you can find in minutes what it used to take professional genealogists months to do. They now have 23,000 databases and over 6 billion names and are adding records all the time. This part of the site, these records, are part of the premium service that does cost money, but has an easy free trial you can start with and see what you can find.

So instead of flying four states away to scroll through microfiche in a dusty basement, in the course of a few hours – sometimes as little as a few minutes – you can find things no one in your family has ever seen before.
For example, from 1917 to 1918, 24 million men in the US filled out a World War I draft card. Here you can see the actual signature, his occupation, where he lived and even the color of his eyes.
Starting just after the Revolutionary War in 1780, the US began taking a census of its residents every 10 years. These are a goldmine of family history information because you often find your great grandparents living at home as children, along with the names of all their siblings and parents, their parents country of origin – and other fun facts like their address, occupation, ability to read, whether they owned a radio, how much personal wealth they owned and who their neighbors were.
If you go back far enough in American history, we are all immigrants. Though we don’t have records going back thousands of years to the land bridge across the Bering Straight, we do have passenger lists for those entering the United States dating back to 1819, with the name of the ship and captain, port of origin, date and – most importantly – passengers.
And for many of these passenger lists, you can also pull up a photo of the actual ship itself.
And access and print context for their lives – like maps and historic photographs.
So in addition to your family tree, you no longer just have your family’s photo of Grandpa, but his immigration record and the ship he sailed in on, his actual World War I draft card and a census showing where he lived, who he lived with, and what he was doing every ten years of his life. Then you can find photos and maps of what his town looked like during his lifetime, along with all sorts of other information sources like military service records, yearbook photos, court, land and probate records, newspapers, marriage records, etc. With all of these wonderful artifacts, you can then create your final masterpieces; scrapbook pages like these, full of fascinating facts and photos.

What a gift this will be for everyone in your family . . . Go to and get started on your family tree!


Barbara Kotsos

Sponsor: Epson America, Inc.

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