So I've found some new activities to do with my daughter.
She enjoys crafts and she was willing to put some 4th of July decorations together for the house with me. We decided to give them a family history twist, and we both learned more about our past through the process. I got to find out a little more about my father-in-law's navy service, and my daughter learned more about her ancestors who immigrated to the United States.
She was a good enough sport to help me with making a YouTube video about it.
I'm obviously not a professional video producer but I have some other YouTube videos planned for this summer. 1) I think sometimes it is easier to show you things through a video, and I think it is easier to digest the information that way. And 2) my daughter and I had a great time making it.
You can follow them on my YouTube channel. Let me know if any of these ideas work in your family. I love hearing from you about what you have been doing.
Sometimes the synergy when you get a bunch of genealogists together brings up great new ideas that you hadn't thought of. That's why I love genealogy conferences so much. A couple of weeks ago we got to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society Conference where they put on a great event.
I came across a few brilliant ideas for getting youth involved in family history from some equally brilliant people and they agreed that I could share them with you here.
First, Elyse Doerflinger told me what got her involved in genealogy. I love Elyse because she is so passionate about family history. Her YouTube channel has some great ideas. You can see her work at Elyse's Genealogy Blog.
Elyse said that the best way to get youth involved in family history is to tell them that there is a family secret and that you won't tell them what it is. Brilliant! She says that is what happened to her and she had to research her family's past to find out what the secret was. I know that works with lots of teenagers--tell them they can't do something and that's exactly what they will do.
Then I had a great conversation with Kim Cotton. She writes about family history at http://www.walkingyourtree.com. She is an important part of the California genealogy scene and serves on the board of directors for the California Genealogical Society.
We talked again about Kim's idea we discussed at RootsTech. She has found great traction with her nephews by telling them about the scandals and scoundrels in the family history. She thinks she may have connected back to Pancho Villa. She said every time she sees them, they want to hear more about what she has been researching now. It's all in how you tell the story, and if you know Kim, she can tell a good story.
Elyse and Michael Melendez were in the back of my lecture on genealogy societies. As we were answering questions at the end, someone asked about youth and societies. When I answered the question and asserted that youth today need the connections that family history brings more than ever because they are so "disconnected" on social media all the time, I was happy when they both agreed. I really think the upcoming generation is reaching for real live connections more than any generation ever has because social networking has so disconnected them from reality.
And finally, there was a lady in my demo about the books who made a great suggestion about antique quilts. I told the group about my grandmother's quilt that I inherited and how that felt like a bullet proof vest to me. A lady raised her hand (I'm sorry I didn't catch her name) and suggested that I create a fabric transfer of a picture of my grandmother, and another of the story of the quilt and baste them onto the back of the quilt. Brilliant again! That way future generations will understand the importance of the quilt and where it came from. It is always good to keep an artifact and the story as connected as possible going into the next generations. This is a great way to make sure the quilt is treasured in generations to come.
So there you go. Lots of great ideas. If you have one, I'd love to hear it and be able to share it here with others who are trying to strengthen their families. Email me at janet<at>zapthegrandmagap.com
We've gotten alot of recognition here in Utah lately and that can save you some money today and tomorrow.
First, Danica Baird wrote an article for the Deseret News based on the book. You can see the article here. It also showed up in the paper:
It was great to have Danica's take on the ideas in the book and we appreciate the Deseret News helping to spread the word about the books.
Then, last weekend, I took a look and the books have been added to the shelves at the Deseret Book stores. Yes--I had to take a picture. If you need more copies of the book, or haven't got one yet, or even if you have the book but haven't gotten the workbook, you need to take a look at DeseretBook.com. They have a 30% off one item sale going on until tomorrow. Just enter the code ENDS623 at checkout. Enjoy!
Joan Elder sent me a follow up to her tea parties idea. I'm so
excited to share it with you. She sent some pictures of the activities she's done and this addition:
Joan writes, "We did story telling for Memorial Day with about 20 of us. The key
seems to be keeping the children focused so the adults will be focused.
So I did 5 min stories. I found an item that would 'remind me' about
that story. I told the children that whoever was sitting quietly, and
listening well, would get to pick the next item in my bag. I had done
this two years ago with three of these chidren, and the other ones
followed their lead. The big eyes looking back at me told me that they
were captivated (aged 3-9). The parents sat further away on the sofas,
while the children all made a half circle around me on the floor. I was
animated and dramatic. It was so fun! I told the adults that it was
going to be about 30 minutes of story telling, but after the adults
started joining in, and adding to the story, it went well over an hour. I
quit before the enthusiasm wained. We had an audio recorder going to
help me get the 'rest of the story' from the adults, so I can add that
to the written story.
Afterwards, I talked to one of the dad's, and told him I planned on
writing these all up along with pictures. He got really excited, and
gave me his email. But I am going to have them printed, and put in page
protectors, and in a nice three ring binder, with a picture of the kids
and I on the front. I'll name it something like: Aunt Joan's Family
Stories (or Bedtime Stories, but some of them were quite frightening).
Then give one to each family to re-read with their children.
We all live some distance from each other. So I choose people living
and dead, so they could get to know something about all of us.
I have attached 2 pictures from the first story time I did with the
kids. I don't know if it can help you, but you are welcome to use any of
them you want. I love the captivated faces.
The other fun part about this is, I am getting my histories done, one
story at a time as I prepare for these story telling events."
Then Joan sent some more ideas on how she works with the kids to make sure they
retain what they've learned. I love her ideas here because she knows
that everything works better with food :) and that when you pull the
kids in, it often works on other members of the family too. Great job
Joan. I hope these ideas work for your family too.
says, "Well after I have done these fun tea parties, and Mother's Day
stories (and I have ones already planned for Father's Day),
I don't want those sweet kids to forget! On Mother's Day, we only
spent 15-20 minutes. That's not alot of time to tell of someone's life,
So I have decided to keep on hand the treats from one of those
people. Just so happens to be that it is orange sherbet and french bread
So I bag up and hide the sherbet from my husband and teenage son
(myself too), and buy the french bread on sale, cut it in slices, and
freeze in the portions of one little family coming over. So I am 'prepared'!
So when the grandkids drop in unexpectedly, I ask mom and dad if it
is okay for some orange sherbet, and then go dish up a scoop in cute
bowls. When I bring the tray out, I have some very excited children. 'To get served', they must answer my questions about the grandma that used to serve this treat to their Uncle Ken and I when we were kids. Questions like:
What is her name? What is her last name?
What did she say when she got excited? (Oh My Stars!)
Now those are about all the things they learned on Mother's Day, so depending on how well they did, I add a little more to it:
And what did her dad do for a living? (mail carrier with a wagon and horses)
And what happened sometimes in the winter? ('The wolves chasing his mail wagon ' story)
And what was his name? (Chris Lillethun)
Then I distribute the sherbet, and while we are eating it together, I
share a little more about that ancestor and thier family (these are
generally things they don't know)
And who in our family was named after him? (Your Uncle Chris)
And do you know why Chris Lillethun was such a wonderful dad? (He had
8 girls, and when his wife died, the youngest was only 2 years old, and
he took really good care of them. He stayed home every night, would
rassle and play on the floor with them...)
What is very cool, is this is when the parents get involved, and
start making comments, and ask some questions. I am hearing things like
"I never knew that" "and "I didn't know that." What had started out
for the parents as a nice thing for grandma to do to teach their
children some family history, is turning out that they are learning too.
I am writing the stories down and putting them in a notebook for each
family, and calling it "Grandma Joan's Bedtime Stories." I've attached a
picture of my outside cover for
the notebook (me with all my grandkids). I always have several color
pictures with each story. One or more are of the people in the story,
and some from the internet as I go under 'Google Images'. (note from
Janet: make sure you look for images that are licensed for public use.
notebook has been a hit too. It is helping me get my life story written,
and the activites I am doing with the kids bring the stories to life.
And when I go visit the grandkids in another state for a week, what
am I going to do? Bring all my tea party items, and stories of course!
Along with Sandra Walsh's great ideas for a scavenger hunt "Amazing Race" about your family history, she also sent the schedule for the family reunion she organized with her grown children and their families. What a wonderful party planner she is--as you can see below. Each day had a theme, and lots of fun activities. You can see how they fit in the family's history along with lots of fun, building that family unity and family narrative that is unique to their own family. They were making some great new family history along the way. I'm sure these ideas can spark some ideas that will be unique to your family too.
Thanks so much Sandra for sharing!
Sunday, July 1
p.m.And we’re off!Adult children and spouses meet at Texas Road House in Bountiful for
dinner and visiting.Mom and Dad appreciate
spending this time with each of you.We
have some family business that we’ll discuss either at the restaurant or back
at the parents’ house following dinner.The rest of the evening is free to settle into the routine of being in
Utah.Jeremy’s family is staying at Mom
and Dad’s home.
Monday, July 2
a.m.Meet at Mom and Dad’s
house to start the day.Today we’ll get
our groove on at LAGOON amusement
park in Farmington.We’d like to
experience a family ride on the ferris wheel, then you’re free to divide into
groups of daredevils or wimps to explore the rest of the rides and shows.Enjoy lunch or a snack with your $10 treat
voucher whenever you choose.If you plan
to spend the day at Lagoon, you may want to pack sandwiches or take along
plenty of granola bars to keep your energy going.Park hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.The rest of the day is on your own.
p.m.Mom and Dad will leave the
park early to go pick up Grandma Holmes in Ogden and bring her back to NSL for
the rest of the reunion.
p.m.Mom and Dad plan to go to the
SLC airport to meet Alan’s family when they arrive.Al’s family will be staying at the Hampton
Inn Salt Lake City Central (2055 S. Redwood Road; 801-886-0703) for the next
Tuesday, July 3
a.m.It’s Family Photo Time!Please
meet at the Farmington Rock Chapel (272 N. Main, Farmington) dressed in your
shades of blue and brown and be ready to smile.Dad will have stories to tell you about the Walsh family connection to
this historic church, built in 1862. Our photographer is Joey Ferguson, a
friend of Dad’s from the Deseret News. Photos will include: a large family
group picture; Mom and Dad and grandkids; and Mom and Dad with their four adult
sons.Other poses may be available by
a.m. – 3:30 p.m.Free time.
p.mSet up for the extended
family reunion picnic.We’d like one
representative from each family to help us get things ready.The location is:Foxboro
Regional Park and Splash Pad, bowery No. 3 (west side), 1140 West, 1100
North, North Salt Lake.
8 p.m. Play at the splash pad,
visit with the relatives, or enjoy various games this afternoon.We’ll plan to eat about 5 p.m.Local fireworks will light up the sky over
North Salt Lake about 10 p.m.You may
watch from Brandon’s backyard or from Mom and Dad’s house.Popcorn provided.
Wednesday, July 4
Theme:ESPN Sports Center
a.m.Meet at Mom and Dad’s
house.Family teams will depart at 9:30
a.m. for an AMAZING RACE experience
around Salt Lake City.Follow your clues
to discover unusual sites around the area – with a few challenges or perhaps even
a roadblock along the way!Remember:gnomes may be watching
you!There will be a lunch stop at a
surprise location en route.
Afternoon:You’ll have a little free time to relax
or do whatever you’d like.
6:15 p.m.Chris and Karen have invited
everyone over for a Patriotic Cookout
at their home in South Jordan.Please
stop at one of the local grocery stores to pick up a side dish, drinks or
dessert to go along with the menu.
p.m.Walsh men and boys will leave
for an evening of baseball with the Salt
Lake Bees.There will be a fireworks
show at the end of the game.
p.m.Tonight the Walsh women and
girls will get their giddy-up on at the West
Jordan Stampede and rodeo.Western
attire is optional.
Thursday, July 5
Theme:Let’s Make a Deal
a.m.Our final family reunion
activity will be a Pancake Breakfast
at Mom and Dad’s home in NSL.Thank you
for making the effort to participate in these events and for being with
us.We love you all a great deal and are
glad to have you in the Walsh family!Now, with our blessings, it’s on to your next adventure!
I had a wonderful idea sent to me by Sandra Walsh that I've already shared with several people I've talked too. This is a good one! Sandra and I got to talk at the UGA conference this spring and she told me about the wonderful activity she did with her grown children and their families. For a family reunion activity she sent them on a an "Amazing Race" scavenger hunt to their family history sites in the area. Each family had to text pictures of themselves at the sites back to her to check off that they had been to the site. She sent me this list that they used and I'm not sure how these sites relate to their family history, but you can see how one could easily adapt this idea to work for family history sites such as schools, churches, gravesites, businesses and homes that were frequented by your family members. Add a few stories and pictures and you have a great family history activity. I'm going to work on putting one together for my family. Let me know if you try it in yours...
Thanks so much to Sandra for sharing! Such a fantastic idea! Sandra told me that as the children were leaving after their several day family reunion, many of them had commented to her that this was the funnest activity of all.
She even put together a graphic just for the family activity. Here are Sandra's instructions:
·Follow these clues in the order listed.It will take approximately 2.5 hours to
complete this race.A 30-45 minute lunch
stop is included.
·The clues are in individual envelopes.Teams may open one clue at a time.Some of the envelopes may have money inside
to purchase a treat or lunch along the way.
·Teams may use Google on their cell phones to help solve
clues; or www.visitsaltlake.com; or brochures; or a SLC Downtown Map.
·Teams should text photos of each location to the game
captain when a clue is solved. The game captain may then send an “approved”
text if the clue is solved correctly – or a “rejected” text if the team goes to
the wrong location.
·A “roadblock” may be texted to teams during the
game.In this case, the roadblocked team
will need to solve an additional clue before continuing on the race.
·At the final destination, the game captain may have a
special rug or mat for the teams to jump on when they complete the race (just
like Phil does on TV!) Small gnome
garden statues were presented as “trophies” to some of our individual
players.They had an Amazing Race tag
that listed various accomplishments, such as: “Best texter”; “Best use of fry sauce”; “Best
bite of chocolate” (one of our kids lost a loose tooth biting into a chocolate
covered strawberry!); “Best clue solver”; “Best use of accessories” (we used
colorful bandanas to identify each family/team); “Best clue reader”; “Most
Salt Lake City,
July 4, 2012
Clue #1:This year (2012) is the 150th anniversary of one of America’s
great railroads.Find this large
railroad logo and have your team photo made with this symbol in the background.
Pacific Railroad sign at The Gateway (18 N. Rio Grande St., SLC)
do the Utah JAZZ play their home basketball games?There is a statue outside the arena that shows
two of their most famous players.Who
were they?Take a photo of one person on
your team trying to steal the ball from one of the statue-players.
Stockton & Karl Malone
EnergySolutions Arena (301 W. South Temple, SLC; utahjazz.com)
Clue #3:What did Brigham Young say when he saw the Salt Lake Valley for the
first time in 1847?Take a picture of
your team by this statue and tell us where it’s located.Challenge:Circle around this statue walking backwards.
“This is the
This is the
Sunnyside Ave., SLC
facility hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2002 Salt Lake
Winter Olympics.Find the Olympic
cauldron.Count the number of rings and
name the colors that make up the Olympic symbol.
5 rings – black, blue, yellow, green, red (which
are colors found in all the flags of the world!)
Stadium (1400 East; U of U campus)
is the opposite of “little”?Now find
the 8th letter of alphabet.Put these two clues together to find your next destination. You may
spend up to 45 minutes here without penalty.Each team member will be given $10 to spend for lunch.
Where are you going?______________________________________________________________________
HIRES “BIG H” (425 S.
700 E., SLC; 801-364-4582)
Clue #6:These Little Chocolatiers have delighted TV
audiences and locals alike with their hand-made chocolates, carmels and Banana
Splits.The Hatch Family is sure to
measure up to your request to taste one of the best chocolates in Utah.Your challenge here is to do these three
their store in downtown SLC.
2.Each member of your team must taste a small bite
of one of their special chocolate creations.($10 per team allotted.)
3.You must talk to one of the owners or employees
to find out how they started their business.
Ave., Suite A
Clue #7:Go to City Creek Center, Salt Lake’s newest shopping mall that features
90 stores, a retractable glass roof, a pedestrian skybridge and a creek
reminiscent of one you’d see in Utah’s beautiful canyons. Find the ZCMI façade
(or front of the building).What is this
building front made from?What does ZCMI
Center (50 South Main St., SLC)
Cooperative Merchantile Institution, founded by the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in 1868 to encourage Mormons to buy locally made products.
Clue #8:Find a statue of a little dog over at
City Creek Center.Something special is
available to customers next to the little dog.Each team should bring us a sample and tell us what it’s used for.
– It’s a pooper-scooper!
Center (50 S. Main St., SLC)
Clue #9:Why does Salt Lake City have chirping signs at the downtown
crosswalks?Count the number of chirps
it takes you to cross South Temple Street (between City Creek Center and Temple
crosswalks chirp with two different signals for blind pedestrians and to create
a certain avian ambience.The chirps
also serve as a countdown to aid you in crossing the unusually wide streets
Clue #10:Find the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Administration
Building. What are the names of the pilasters which surround the exterior of
this building?What are they made
of?How many of them are there?
pilasters, which are made of solid granite and weigh approximately 8 tons each
Administration Bldg. (47 East South Temple, SLC)
Find a painting or statue of the first leader
of the Mormon Church and take a photo of your team here.
Memorial Bldg. on Temple Square; or one of the Visitor’s Centers or the LDS
Clue #11:What is a cupola?Find two buildings in Temple Square that have
a cupola in the shape of a beehive as part of their design.
A Cupola is
a decorative feature at the top of the roof on a building.
Cupola is found on The Beehive House and on top of the old Hotel Utah, now
known as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
Clue #12:Find a statue of a pioneer handcart on Temple Square.How many spokes are on the left back wheel?
located near the LDS Church Assembly Hall at Temple Square -- 10 spokes
Clue #13:Your pit stop for the final leg of the AMAZING
RACE is a large white building with a dome that sits atop a hill in downtown
SLC.Go to the east side of this
building.Time your team to see how fast
they can run up and down the stairs here.
350 N. State
Name 2 foods that are probably more popular in
Utah than anywhere else:
I got a great chance to sit down and talk with my friend Drew Smith for his Genealogy Guys Podcast at RootsTech in February. Drew and George Morgan have a great podcast that is a good place to get all the latest news in genealogy. And I was really excited to talk to them about my new book.
I've brought my daughter to the Southern California Genealogy Society Conference this weekend and yesterday I was able to take her out and show her around where her Grandmother grew up like I did with her brother last year. We had a great time at the beach where her Grandmother used to play. I'll post pictures soon, along with all the other blogging that I have for you. It's been a busy couple of months but things are slowing down after this weekend--only local presentations for a while. So I'm looking forward to catching up on the blog after this weekend and showing you all the great ideas people have been sending in and that we've come up with. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I'd love to see you at one of my presentations.
Here is where I'll be in the near future:
This week, at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree I am presenting:
Friday 11:00 - 12:00
Double Your Membership, Double Your Fun:
The UGA Case Study
Friday 2:15 - 3:15 Demo Stage
Apples and Oranges:
How the Genealogy Softwares Create Charts
Saturday 1:45-3:15 Demo Stage
10 Great Ideas to Zap The Grandma Gap
and Connect Your Family With Their Family History
Saturday 3:30 - 4:30
Book Signing (as well as sales and signing in our booth all weekend long)
Beyond Scotch Tape: Charts to Fascinate Your Family
Let’s Get This Party Started:
Family History Conferences for the Whole Family
12:30-1:30pm The Cool Parts of Family History: Engaging My Teenagers Case Study
1:45-2:45pm Beyond The Fan and Scotch Tape: Charts to Fascinate your Family
And on September 21st we'll be at the Logan Family History Conference
I'll be teaching:
The Cool Parts of Family History: Engaging My Teenagers Case Study
Beyond The Fan and Scotch Tape: Charts to Fascinate your Family Times TBD
Lots of new and exciting things going on. I hope we'll see you there.