I did this a number of years ago, by typing or handwriting the information about our heirloom items on a piece of paper and attached a photo with archival safe photo corners. Now that we are in the digital age, I have started a much nicer one that is not only on paper but backed up on my computer. I can also share copies of it via CD. As for the pages in the original book. I've scanned them and inserted the resulting jpeg into the Word document that is the "master copy."
Here's the basic format of my book. You will find an example below.
- Title which describes the item and who it belonged to
- Photo of the item
- When and where the picture was taken
- Digital file name of the picture (in a tiny font)
- Stories related to the item if applicable
Most of the definitions I've read state that provenance is the history of ownership of an item. In this section, I've just tried to write down what I know about who owned the treasure and when. I've also included who told what to who and when.
This has the potential to be the really interesting section if you have stories attached to your heirloom. Ask around the family to see what they know. Don't just ask the senior members either. I've found out some really interesting things from my brother that I had never heard before! It's funny, you grow up in the same house, at the same time, but we all remember different things.
Right now I'm using a 3 ring binder with each page in it's own page protector. This way we can easily add new pages and reorder them. Since it's in a "draft" form, there is no hesitation about having someone write their additions on any of the pages. I can put the information into Word later and reprint the page.
I've also included pages for items that another member of the family now has. That way the stories and information is preserved. Also, if I don't physically have an item, I figure the next best thing is to have a picture!
Here's an example:
In summary, I hope you decide to make an "Heirloom Book." If you do, I'd love to hear about your ideas and what you've done.
Copyright 2010, Michelle Goodrum