by Mary Emma Allen

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes her family stories as she discovers fascinating ancestors. She also utilizes scrapbooking and collages for saving the family photos and stories. In addition, she teaches classes about these topics, both online and in person.

A children’s author, she has written and illustrated the anthology, Tales of Adventure & Discovery. A book about family is When We Become the Parents to Our Parents, relating her mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s. Papa Goes to War is a children’s book in progress, based on Mary Emma’s research into her family history during the Civil War era. The Magic of Patchwork contains quilting history from Mary Emma’s family and others, along with projects for children and adult beginners.

Visit her web site, for more information about her writing. To contact her and learn about her workshops and talks, e-mail her at:
Photo by Caron Gonthier


March 13, 2005


As I watch my 12-year old granddaughter pour over her photo album, adding pictures and decorative touches, I realize the value of saving one’s photos and cataloguing those of past generations. When we began scrapbooking, I didn’t know this would become such a family affair involving my daughter, granddaughter and sometimes my niece and her daughters.

Scrapbooking, one of the fastest growing activities, draws families closer together as they sort pictures, reminisce about shared events and research family members and ancestors they only know by photos in albums.

This ties in, too, with family history writing. You can include in the scrapbook tidbits of family stories or use the photos and decorations to illustrate the stories.

What is Scrapbooking?

Some have asked me, “What is scrapbooking?” At first, I thought it was simply pasting photos and/or clippings onto a blank album page, as I’d done as a child. However, in today’s world, scrapbooking takes on a whole new meaning as we embellish those scrapbook and photo album pages with many decorative ideas.

Various companies make archival, acid free and photo safe papers, stickers, pens, stamping inks and glue that will not destroy the items you’re saving. Instead they will help you preserve them.

By utilizing decorative accompaniments, you can enhance your photos, tell a story with them, and include memories about the various occasions. These albums become more than simply a place to paste your photos. You can keep the album pages very simple or greatly enhance them.

Copyright © 2009, Mary Emma Allen


Mary Emma Allen teaches classes online and off about writing one’s family history and scrapbooking. She also can provide you with information about obtaining scrapbooking supplies. In the book When We Become the Parents to Our Parents, she chronicles her mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s. Visit her web site:; E-mail:


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