Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Family History for Busy Parents–4 Easy Steps

Ever since I heard the topic for this month's blog link up, the excitement to write has been hard to contain.  I love this topic! Why, you ask?  Because I AM a BUSY--scratch that--an EXTREMELY BUSY mom; and I still find time for Family History. Why, you ask again?  Because I make it a priority! I make it a priority because I’ve experienced the difference it can make in my life and those I share it with.

Genealogy and Family History Work has long been thought of as a hobby for OLD PEOPLE: “another season of life,” “when I’m less busy,” are what I often hear when talking with my peers. BUT to them I ask,

Children ImitateWhy should the “old people” get to have all the fun?!!

Besides, if I wait until I’m older, all the people who have the precious memories I can glean from will be gone!  I’d argue that I’m at the PERFECT age! With the crazy advances in technology that happen almost daily, which I was raised with, the absurd amount of records becoming available each month, and with 3 perfect little imitators at my ankles, learning & absorbing everything I can feed them, how can I afford to not start now??

How can YOU afford to not start now?

We need these stories, we need to know these people, and your children need to know them.

So toss off your past perceptions and prepare to introduce something into your life that will radically improve your world! And surprisingly, NOT make you more busy.

Step 1 – LET GO OF all your preconceived notions about family history or genealogy work. Open up your mind to possibility.
I’ll expand… family defined
History defined
Taking into account the definitions of both of these words & considering now the following, (one of my favorite quotes):
“Family history is more than genealogy, rules, names, dates, and places. It is more than a focus on the past. Family history also includes the present as we create our own history. It includes the future as we shape future history through our descendants. A young mother, for example, sharing her family stories and pictures with her children is doing family history work.” –Alan F Packer

Step 2 – Take a quick look at your daily life.  Where do you spend your down time.  Don’t tell me you don’t have any, we all have some unwind time…playing games, watching television, pinning on Pinterest, stalking peeps on social media; what’s your vice?

Okay, NO, I’m not going to ask you to give it up.  I’m only going to ask you to consider taking 10 mins of that, 10 minutes only. Then I’m asking you to commit 21 days.

21 days?!? It’s only 10 minutes, don’t stress!!

Step 3 – On day one of your adventure, start on the following checklist.

*I actually recommend getting that checklist done the first day even if it takes a little longer than 10 minutes.  Just so you can move onto the fun stuff sooner. OR you can continue to work on it with each passing day.

Step 4 – Each day use the following list to select just one thing to do relating to family history that day.

*Psst! If you’re a member of the LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) church, add “attending the temple” to that list.  If you’re a member of another faith, include your family history in your worship, via prayer or ponder. It will enhance the entire experience.

That’s IT! You’ll be doing your family history every day.  4 easy steps to get going, and I guarantee you won't to quit when the 21 days is up.  I also recommend recording your experience in brief journal entries as you go.  It counts as family history and will help you remember all that you are learning. My favorite part is to read back on my journal entries from those weeks and see how much happened, even though during the 21 days I didn’t necessarily realize it.

I like to refer to this quote by one of the women I look up to most in my life:
"If you’d like a little more joy in your life, a little more meaning, more heart-to-heart connections, more focus, energy, motivation, more of so many wonderful things, make time to [participate in Family History Work]." --Wendy Nelson
I hope that you’ll accept this challenge and listen to the voice that is nudging you to try it.  Whether you’re an experienced family historian or someone who’s just getting started, participating in 21 days of family history is completely rewarding and teaches you new things each time. I’ve done it 3 times now and intend to start again.

I also absolutely recommend that you check out some of the posts from other amazing busy people at the #FHforChildren Blog Link Up. In fact, after you’re done with the challenge you might just have a post your own you’ll be dying to add.

Until then . . . !

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why—Teach your Kids Family History

Why do you think it’s important to share family history with children?

Admittedly, I struggled with this post. Not because I don’t believe that it’s important to share family history with my kids, but it’s hard to put my finger on WHY.

In preparation for this post the following video kept coming to mind, so I dug it up to share with you.

If just the simple concept of the importance of family to kids can be so powerful  (all for a food commercial, might I add), how powerful then can family be if you include generations of them? Generations of ancestors who came before, who sacrificed, who worked hard, who both succeeded and failed…generations of love and of hurt…generations of pressing on, and generations of families.

It's been my personal experience that Mulan isn't too far off.
 I say that with a bit of a tease, but there is something true about drawing on your ancestors' power, their strengths, and their help; and if you don't know them, and you don't know their stories, how can you draw on those strengths?  I've experienced it and even my young kids have experienced it.  In fact, my 8 year old daughter recently made up her own family history game. I recommend trying it with your young kiddos.
Grab a pedigree chart and a set of dice.  Gather the family or friends around and start rolling.  For each number that you roll, add that many items to the pedigree chart.  Sounds simple, but my husband and I, our two older kids, and my in-laws had a great time exploring our tree together.  The first one to complete their full pedigree chart wins.
Truth be told I couldn't pull the hubs and the grandpa away once they got going. They're the ones who usually pooh pooh it. ;)

The point is, try it.  Try it with your kids.  It doesn't need to be intricate or a well thought out approach--just start exploring your family tree and see how it feels.  There are so many resources out there--go tap into just one.  Then share your experience and help someone else to catch the same fire.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about sharing family history with kids and teens. Use #FHforChildren to help keep the conversation going, and go visit our blog link up for more great insights:

Happy parenting, until next time!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Untangling the Knots in Your FamilySearch Family Tree

So...this class was born from my recognition that I really do have a very distinct process for managing the messes that I find when doing my family history in FamilySearch. I learned it through picking several peoples brains about their process then adapting it to be my own.  That said, consider this all a guideline then adapt it to fit your brain. I have a very strong conviction that it's important, as a member of the LDS church, to help contribute to the clean up and improvement of the great big tree known as FamilySearch Family Tree.  I've honestly spent most of my time as a genealogist cleaning up messes and have learned nearly all of my researching skills from working through those messes.  It wasn't until recently that I realized that even some who have been doing genealogy for years are just avoiding the so called "messes" because they don't really know how to tackle them.

And so this class was born.

First of all lets define "knots" from the title, or what I've referred to as "messes".  If you've ever worked on FamilySearch you've noticed that you'll often come to families who have A LOT of data problems! Yikes! How did that come to be? Years and years of duplicate work, followed by great attempts to merge, and lots of contributors.  I complain about none of this, because it's the process FamilySearch had to go through since the first declaration that members of the church were given to do their own 4 generation pedigree charts.  In fact, I praise the church and FamilySearch for all that they contribute to the world of genealogy.  Let's face it, without them genealogy couldn't possibly be where it is today, they got a head start by at least 60 years given that the Genealogical Society of Utah (FamilySearch's former name) began microfilming record in 1938 and Ancestry wasn't even thought of until 1990.  So the point is, I'm grateful for every leap forward that FamilySearch makes, which happens often. Thank you FamilySearch!

Sidenote: I think a fascinating class would be the history of Family History!

Okay so let's get to the content.
Here are my slides for the class:

Monday, February 20, 2017

WeGather for Photos and Stories

So this little puppy came in the mail today!
I was super excited to win the WeGather raffle at RootsTech. I feel like I never win, and I honestly didn't know I entered to win, so winning was a complete surprise.  But--I do not write simply because I won.  I have to report on WeGather because it's awesome, and I love the developer!

Stories are the currency of our past, present and future. Without them, we are bankrupt. Since family photos trigger those stories, we should save and share them.
-- Rachel LaCour Niesen

So I met Rachel at her booth at RootsTech, but I had been following her site for months before that. I absolutely love her, I love her passion, her drive, her mission, and all that her site stands for.  We share our passion for photos and stories and she's got some amazing resources. I've learned some great tips and tricks from following her.  She has great insight into photos and stories and how they can impact who we are and who we can become. She has guest posted some great articles for FamilySearch's blog and other great sites.  One of my favorite reads was her guide to metadata. Here's a few of my favs:

I absolutely recommend checking out and subscribing to her site if you're interested:

Also check out her latest tool, featured at RootsTech, WeGather.  I've already used it for a few photos that I didn't know who was in them.  I posted it to WeGather, shared the link with family via FaceBook and watched as the memories, and information flooded in about the photos. It was THAT easy!  A great resources for those of us who have inherited old photos, and have no idea who's in them.  Check it out:

Best of all it's all free, so you can't go wrong! Thanks Rachel for sharing your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us!

Happy photo preservation.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Everyday Genealogy for the Crazy-busy Life - RootsTech 2017

So just finished my last classes at RootsTech today.  I had the opportunity to teach 1 on Wednesday and 2 more today.  It was an incredible experience to have the opportunity share the things I love with so many interested and anxious learners.  If you came to my class, thanks for coming, and I hope that you have tons of success moving forward. I hope that some of you will take the time to share some of those experiences in the comments.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out in the process.
For those who attended and wanted the links here's a copy of my syllabus and the slides:

Download the Syllabus PDF to use the links

UPDATE: Use the following URL for Zoning 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Preserving your Family History in Fun & Modern Ways -- RootsTech 2017

I've been teaching this class for a few months now and have quickly gathered so many great resources that I want to share, but 1 hour just never seems to be enough.  So I'm going to share some of the class info here, just so class participants can come here to learn more since we won't have a change to address all of the cool programs out there.

First of all here's the class syllabus and slides so you can go visit the links and play around with the programs yourself:

Download the class syllabus with live links.

Then here's a playlist of tutorials I created on YouTube for helping you see how you can use the different programs for your family history creations.  DISCLAIMER: They are FAR from professional, just tutorials I put together quickly using free programs, so I'm sorry they're not higher quality, but hopefully they'll still be helpful.

If you have questions, feel free to comment here, or on the videos, or just email me.  Hope you have tons of fun and success as you start working on your family history creations!