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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Family History for Star Wars Fans

I've always said that the best way to connect your family with their family history is to take their interests, and apply them to your family history.  So if your daughter is interested in fashion, she might be interested in the beautiful pictures of your great-grandmother and her fantastic hats (see also Maureen Taylor's resources on the fashions of our ancestors.)  Or if your child is interested in trains or animals, find out how those intersect with your family history.  Well Virginia Kysh took my suggestion to heart and came up with an idea for her Star Wars fans. 
If you have any StarWars fans, have we got some fun fan items for you! Take a look over at The Chart Chick to see the coolest chart we just completed based on the Death Star from Star Wars.  We like to have a little fun with our charts and who says family history charts have to be traditional or formal?

Since we had Star Wars on our minds,  this fun Star Wars Family Tree caught my eye on my Pedigree Charts Pinterest board. Wouldn't that make a fun family movie marathon? Pop lots of popcorn and settle in to connect the relations between the Empire and the Alliance.

"Connect with your family by connecting them to their family history."  Zap the Grandma Gap is all about getting your family involved and engaged in family history by incorporating the child's interests. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to take a piece of pop culture to show how it's done.  Family history even happens in Star Wars!

Come follow me on Pinterest for tons more great ideas on family history and genealogy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The most inspiring keynote I've ever heard

Wow Wow Wow Wow Wow.
Congratulations to Bret Peterson and Ginny Ackerson and their team at the UGA Spring Conference.  I have never seen a conference planning committee nail a keynote speaker like these people did. Paul McCarty was honestly the best keynote speaker I've ever heard. I couldn't take notes fast enough. 

Paul is a Psychology professor at BYU.  He volunteers at the Family History Center at the Utah State Prison.  I don't know if they have Family History Centers at other prisons but from what he talked about it sounds like they should.  (I'll have to look into that.)  Paul talked about the amazing rehabilitation that he sees in his work at the prison.  I had heard about this program but the stories he told were fantastic.

One of the examples he gave was a young prisoner who had been incarcerated for some serious gang activities.  Paul said he was angry all the time.  When he started doing family history research, he found out that he was descended from a Spanish prince and from some of the conquistadors.  You can imagine what that did to his self image and he reported feeling the presence of his ancestors.  Paul said he did a 180% turn in just a few weeks and was quickly involved in leadership and mentoring positions in the center. 

Like I've talked about many times here, apparently family history is helping to heal the prisoners' relationships with their mothers, their children and other members of the current families too.  No surprise there. 

Another prisoner he talked about was in prison for life without parole.  He was angry all the time and quite violent with the other prisoners.  He actually found out that his great great grandfather had been a security guard for a frontier bank and his great grand uncle had arrested Black Bart.  He was so enthralled that he actually ended up writing to some of the people back home and with permission started researching the family history of some of his victims.  He sent the information that he had found to these victims families and there was alot of healing and forgiveness that came from it. 

He said that indexing and researching family history gave the prisoners a chance to "escape from prison" and do something good in the world.   They are able to feel good for a bit and leave that guilt at the door.  It has also become a key part of the rehabilitation when these prisoners are released from prison as well.  After they are out of prison, they are encouraged to volunteer once a week at the FHC near them and they do much better when they do.  Paul said that Family History is the "key to changing an attitude of failure to a person of worth." 

That's what it is all about isn't it?  Wow wow wow wow wow.