Connect To The Youth In Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History

Monday, August 26, 2013

Involving my children with family history in my past life

I guess the guest blogger is my previous self today.

Even before I decided to start writing a book on how to connect your family with their family history, I experimented with what would work with my own kids.  I blogged about that frequently on my regular blog at the time.  The Chart Chick Blog.  If you are reading this blog, you might want to check out the links on the left about our adventures as I was applying many of the principles in the book on my own children.  We all learned lots.

Take a look at these subject headings:
Let me know what you think.  As I've launched the new books, The Chart Chick has become more about my own research, and our charting company while my aha moments with my kids have been moved to here.  But I love comments on both blogs.  Let me know how it is working in your family. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Reviews

We've updated the reviews page on  Check out all the reviews that have come up about the book!  A few reviews have been added to as well but none have been registered at Barnes and  If you have seen any other reviews that I've missed, or if you would like to add one at either of these sites, we'd love to have your input.  Thanks so much!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Heaven bless those shaking leaves.

Here's a quick success in our family that might translate to your family.

Earlier this summer, I uploaded the genealogy computer file my grandmother left me to  I had been hesitant to do that before because it doesn't include sources and I really don't have direct knowledge of the research.  But my son has played with it a little in how it relates to some of the databases out there. 

On Ancestry he has been able to go in and connect my grandmother's research with the documents to back it up.  I seeded it with several pictures so that he could see who he was dealing with.  Ancestry has made it so easy for beginners, they put shaking leaves on each person that lead to documents that Ancestry thinks might relate to that person.  It is so easy to check out the documents and then quickly link the ones that relate to your family.  My son was drawn right in.

Right off the top, he was able to pull up things I didn't know about my own grandparents.  I haven't ever really gone in and looked for records on my own grandparents because I was blessed to be able to know all of them well--my first grandparent to pass away didn't leave us until I was 16.  On Ancestry, he quickly found draft cards and army documents, the census records and several other things that were exciting to see.  And with a simple click of the button, they were added to our online tree.  It was quite addictive. 

I think Ancestry has really created a space where the advanced genealogist can play in the same sandbox as the beginner because it is so focused on the documents.  And that is a great thing for families.  Take a look at  It might work for your family too.  Let me know how it goes. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Taking my daughter on a family history trip

There is nothing like travel to engage your family with their family history.  It can be near or far.  A couple of weeks ago I got to take my daughter to the Southern California Genealogy Society Conference. We had a great time on the trip, but we also got to do a little family history.  My mother grew up in Southern California and my Grandparents and Great Grandmother spent most of their lives there.  So we decided to stop by some of the old places.  

We stopped by the beach.
Mom and her sister on the left in the late 40s, Dad and I in the center in the 70s, My daughter on the right

We rode the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier.
Mom and her sister on the left in the 50s, My daughter and I on the right

We stopped by the temple where Mom and Dad were married.
Mom and Dad June 2, 1967, My daughter on the right

And we stopped by the house where my Mom grew up.
Mom and her sister on the left in the 50s, Grandpa and I in the center in the 70s, My daughter on the rightI was glad to see my Grandparent's house was being well taken care of now.   It didn't look so good when it was for sale last year when we stopped by with my son.

Next time we go to California, I'm going to see if I can recreate some of the old photos.  We did this for my parents for Mother's Day and Father's Day.  I've never laughed so hard in my life.  My sister put them together into a video for each of them.  It was a fun project that might work in your family too.  Watch out though.. I've never felt so old in my life either.  Time flies when  you are having fun. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Exciting Magazine Article--Reunions Magazine

Zap The Grandma Gap has been reviewed in another magazine article.  Issue 24 Number 1 of Reunions Magazine has a great article about the book on page 17.  You can access the issue here:
Here is the screen shot:

Thanks to Edith Wagner and her team for helping us get the word out about our resources.  And thanks for letting us use the article here.  You should check out all the great resources they have for creating family reunions at near and dear to the heart of anyone who is trying to engage their family with their family history. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I've been recognizing something in my kids that I think is a real key to creating family historians in your own family--especially when there are other family historians in the family.  That is OWNERSHIP. I'm having a hard time putting my kids in control but they need to feel that control so that they aren't always waiting for me to give them permission.  Of course this is something that will grow as they mature, and you need to keep in mind the maturity level of the child, but I'm finding that you can really hold someone back if they don't have their own sense of ownership. 

That can come in many forms.  Maybe digital files, maybe actual artifacts.  And I have yet to figure out the perfect way to share--we are working on avenues through Ancestry, FamilySearch and My Heritage.  I know that it has to be source centric in order for the more advanced researcher to feel comfortable working with the beginner.  But I know from observing my own family that you can really hold someone back by not giving them ownership of their family history.  And you can really spur them on if they do feel they have ownership. 

So here is one of the emails that goes out with our Zap The Grandma Gap emails.  Have you registered for them yet?  When you register they start with week one and send you one idea every Tuesday for 52 weeks.  This one appears about 1/2 way through the year.  You can sign up on the front page at  Lots of great ideas.  Take a look:


I have an idea for you this week that might work in the short term, or might take a little longer to come to fruition in your family. It has worked in my family, and even worked well in my own life.
Have you given your family members a sense of ownership in their family history? Feeling like one doesn't know where to start can be compounded when a person feels like there is a gatekeeper on a project and they don't really feel a part of what is going on. If you have done a lot of family history, you may inadvertently be acting as gatekeeper and stopping them from really getting involved in their family history for themselves. The solution? Give them something of their own.
This has worked particularly well in my family and really is one of the main reasons I became a genealogist myself. When my grandfather published his book about his father, he gave one to each member of the family. Even though I was only eight years old, he entrusted me with my very own copy of the book. While I didn't instantly turn into a genealogist, that book worked on me over the years and has come to be one of my prized possessions. Recently, I've seen much more interest in my children when I've given them their own copies of a genealogy computer file, made a scrapbook just for them, or shared some digitized pictures. As they grow, I'm excited to entrust them with more of our family history artifacts.
Ownership may be as simple as sharing a computer file, or presenting someone with their own copy of a book. Or it may be as huge as passing down an heirloom or entrusting them with original pictures. What can you do this week to encourage a budding family historian in your family with some ownership of their own?
Hopefully you have been able to put to use some of the ideas in these emails. You are always welcome to email me with questions or suggestions. I love to hear from you and celebrate the successes in your family.

Good luck this week.