Hidden Treasures: Scanning, Sharing, and Archiving

January 13, 2017 / no comments

Recently, while cleaning out a closet in my parents’ basement, my sisters and I discovered a treasure trove of family history. Stuffed into folders and boxes were photos and documents and mementos that told the story of my family over the past 75 years. From amazing drawings my dad made as a boy, to letters sent by the federal government to my grandparents stating their intention to build an interstate through the best acres of the family farm, to my dad’s draft papers, to the program from a 1983 Seahawks–49ers game that my sisters danced at as part of the halftime show . . . all of these events—recorded in souvenirs and certificates and scraps of torn and yellowing paper, tell the story of where we came from, who we were, and how we became who we are today.

As we looked through those boxes, marveling at each new find, one thought continually resurfaced in my mind: “I need to get this to the Legacy Books office and have everything scanned so that it’s preserved.” I realized that scanning those items would preserve them for future generations, and also make it possible to share them with members of the family who don’t live nearby. My sister in Texas could see my father’s artwork in full detail, and cousins in California and New York could read a speech our grandmother gave to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in 1980 and see pictures of our fathers as boys with our great-great-grandfather. We had discovered the type of treasure that increases in value as the wealth is shared, and I couldn’t wait to pass it along.

This is why I’m so glad to be a part of the Legacy Books team: I help our clients discover, preserve, and share the pieces of their own histories—both large and small—that mean so much to them. It is a joy to make those heirlooms and mementos accessible to everyone in these families; to assist them in telling the story of who they are through the ephemera and photos that have been maintained and passed down, generation to generation; and to ensure that those items are recorded and archived with the highest professional standards so that future generations can continue to enjoy them. 

We recently finished such a project for the McCullough family in Tennessee, turning their loose collection of photos and memorabilia into a beautiful book that they shared with family for the holidays. Their comments illustrate why Legacy Books finds great happiness in the work that we do: “Words cannot express the gratitude of my family for your diligence and expertise in helping us put our ancestry heritage into a book that will be treasured for generations. Legacy Books was so easy to work with that you felt like family. It was so sweet to see my 90-year-old mother with dementia touch a picture and say: ‘That is mama and papa’ and smile. My brother and sisters were grateful and said they would enjoy it over and over again. There were many pictures they had never seen before. Time passes so quickly and Legacy Books has helped us remember how fortunate we are to enjoy the blessings of today because of those who have gone before us. Our memories are worth more than money can buy. Legacy Books helped us preserve those memories. It has been a joy to work with you and I will always be grateful.”

No matter how large, small, organized, or disorganized your archive of family history is we would love to help you preserve it and tell your story—the story of your family. We know that each family is unique, and that each memory is an integral part of the whole. With our services that range from simply scanning and archiving, to interviewing and writing, to designing a book that will remain in your family for generations, we specialize in going from “boxes to books,” and it is our mission to help you preserve your legacy, and share it into the future.

–Dax Bambrough

In My Family There Were No Excuses…

December 21, 2016 / no comments

In November I got to attend the funeral of Susan Thompson, a former client of Legacy Books. Susan first called me four years ago, she was responding to an ad we had placed in a regional magazine. I learned she wanted our help to write her life story, but that she wouldn’t be a regular case, because she wasn’t leading a regular life.

A couple days later I met Susan and learned why she was unique: she was born with spina bifida, and it was a major obstacle in all she did. While the story of her physical handicap was told, I was most touched by the message she shared about her family.

From Susan’s book: “In my family there were no excuses, no entitlements and no allowance for the woe-is-me attitude. We were all forging ahead with our lives. We learned to push through the difficulties to reach the possibilities. Now, I realize what a blessing and gift it is to be optimistic and be able to forget the hard things . . . Mother saw in me, not the disability, but the ability and the possibilities. She was often criticized for not pampering me. She poured into me a transfusion of confidence in myself, that I could have a normal life and cope with whatever spilled out in front of me.”

In the face of a lifelong handicap, Susan praised the way her parents, grandparents, and siblings treated her. Upon thinking of Susan’s life and her funeral, I was joyed to have been able to help her tell the story of her life, and intertwine the wisdom gained and practiced over the decades in the Thompson family. When the book was quoted and shown at Susan’s funeral, I felt great satisfaction in this great work we’re involved in.

Susan’s book also touches on her music teaching career, her days in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and is complete with family history charts and pedigrees. If you’d like to read her book, Legacy Books has provided a way for you to purchase it: Singing My Own Song. The proceeds go Primary Children’s Hospital, where Susan was a regular as a child.

Thanks Susan! We appreciate you letting Legacy Books help you on the journey to write you and your family’s story. We appreciate all of you who have also commissioned us to help you share your great family legacies!

Merry Christmas!
John Catron
President, Legacy Books

Don’t Let Your Family History Project Overwhelm You; Legacy Books Can Help

September 12, 2016 / no comments

A common scenario among many who consider putting together family histories is this: full of fire and excitement regarding their new project, they haul out box after box of photos and journals and scrapbooks, spread them all over the living room, pop open the first box… and they soon feel overwhelmed. The photos in those boxes may be disorganized; the dates and labels in the scrapbooks may be incomplete; the writing in the journals illegible, the stories out of context. “Perhaps,” they think, “I was a little too eager… The scope of trying to organize this is beyond me. I don’t know where to even start…”

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to organize years (or even decades) of photographs and mementos. With an endless list of tasks to be done, finding the time to dig into the past and put things in order can seem like an impossible undertaking.

But it doesn’t have to be. Legacy Books has nearly a decade of experience sifting through photos and documents and family stories, researching dates and gathering details. We can help you make sense of everything you’ve got; decide exactly what you hope to accomplish with your history, including the scope and focus of the project; and then make a plan to see your project through to the end.

Many projects that we work on at Legacy Books begin with a phone call from a client who wonders where to begin (or isn’t even sure that they have enough material to begin). There is simply the desire to preserve a legacy, and the basic spark of an idea. That call to us can be the catalyst that puts an entire project in motion—and a mind at ease. Putting our experience into play, we can help find a starting point for any project, and an entry into any history.

Not long ago, we received a call from a woman in Tennessee, anxious to put together a family history book, but stumped as to how to start. Through our conversation it became clear that the ideal starting point for her was simply to have us scan her photos, to give her an easier way to access, view, and organize those pictures. We were more than happy to help her with that, to help her find the jumping off point for her project, because we know that even a beginning as seemingly simple as this can then grow into the next phase of her history.

We also get calls from historians with every photo already tagged and labeled, and every date double-checked, who aren’t sure what to do next, how to preserve and present the legacy they’ve compiled. At Legacy Books, we can help with this as well, by outlining the next steps in designing and printing a beautiful book that gives life to the history that those pictures, dates, and stories represent.

Compiling your family’s story is a wonderful, rewarding journey, and at Legacy Books, we want you to focus on the joy and excitement of the discoveries you make along the way. We want to assist you in planning and organizing your project, with whatever beginning you’re ready to make—or next step you’re ready to take. We know that any start is a good start, and that each accomplished task can lead to the next, opening up the path toward the final project. No matter where you are in that journey of putting together your history, let us help you. After all, preserving legacies is an art, and we wrote the book. ™