While organizing research, experienced family historians gather documents and ephemeral materials as part of the process. In addition to the usual items collected, photographs, vitals, religious, court records, DNA results, etc., here are suggestions for some non-traditional items to include in your personal family album. Become the family anthropologist, if you will, and care for everything carefully, make copies of old newspapers on acid free paper, and store everything in a safe, preservation environment.

1. Bank statement and/or blank, voided check
2. Old love letters/letters of any kind
3. Receipts from markets, department or discount stores (dated)
4. Vehicle registrations
5. Expired passport
6. ALL types of legal papers: court, land, tax, etc.
7. Catalog page(s) to show what was “in” during your lifetime
8. Old tax returns
9. Animals registration certificates/vet bills
10. Raffle/lottery tickets
11. Warranty booklets
12. Newspaper headlines and articles (be sure to cite name, date, page #)
13. Coin or stamp collection information (sheet from an appraisal book)
14. Diplomas, degrees, certificates, tassels, etc.
15. Union membership book, club membership card(s) and/or a list/include offices held
16. Maps and historical data from all places in which you lived
17. Vacation information including maps
18. Calendars and/or old date books (just a few pages are enough)
19. Prom bids and/or invites to special events
20. Videotape of family
21. Audio or CD of family history
22. Political memorabilia from all parties
23. Baby books, birth announcements, lock of baby hair, etc.
24. List of friends and family/business partners
25. TV Guide/page from newspaper
26. List of books you read that you liked
27. List of books you read you DID NOT like
28. Likes and dislikes in music/art/movies/clothing
29. Holiday cards with handwritten notes
30. Funeral handouts
31. Internet/E-mail information
32. DNA tests
33. Something personal to only YOU…

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