thegenealogygirl


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Two FamilySearch Classes this Week

FamilySearch_Logo

Sunday night I taught a class at my local Family History Center, Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch.

I covered everything from this blog post and then some.  I really love teaching.  So it was a great time for me.  And bonus, my students were pretty happy too.

Well, today I get to teach a group of 10 and 11-year-old girls.  I have ten minutes.  Ten minutes is not a lot of time.  You really can’t cover a lot in ten minutes.  So I am going for quality.  We are going to talk about preserving memories.  I’ll tell them a story or two.  I’ll show them how to add a photo and an audio recording to FamilySearch from the app.  Then I am going to challenge them to go home and add 3 photos and 3 audio recordings to FamilySearch using the FS app.

I will send them home with this handout:

FS app with gg address

I hope at least one of those little girls will feel a nudge towards her ancestors.

 

Wish me luck!

 

 

ps – Those girls?  They are members of my church.  We have a program called Activity Days that is for 8-12 year old girls.  They meet twice each month and learn new things, complete service projects, or participate in some sort of activity.  I was asked to help out this time.  If you are an Activity Days Leader and come across this post, please feel free to use my handout.

 

pps – If you are interested in my overly detailed handout from my Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch class, send me an email and I’ll happily share.  Email address on sidebar. 

 


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Family Reunion Bingo Games!

Reunion at Lagoon 1926

Isn’t this photo awesome?!  This Family Reunion photo was taken at Lagoon* in 1926.  The family gathered are the descendants of my 2nd great grandparents Frederick William Ellis and Susan Kaziah Davis.

My family still holds three different reunions today.  They look a little something like this.

14774109640_a783c1edfa_o

Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

I really love family reunions but one of the main challenges is getting everyone talking to each other.  It’s easy for the siblings and first cousins, but second cousins and cousins from different generations?  Not so easy.  Everyone experiences the same silly obstacle – they feel dumb asking people’s names.  We always have name-tags available but hardly anyone puts one on.

Well, last summer I was in charge of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson Family Reunion.  Rulon and Naomi are my great grandparents.  This reunion is held every summer in late July or early August and includes 4 generations of my family.  I love to see and visit with my Grandpa’s younger siblings.  His brothers remind me so much of my Grandpa that it takes my breath away for just a minute, in a good way.

But all those younger cousins, understandably, gravitate to their grandparents, parents, and first cousins.  I wanted to shake that up and get people interacting more and remembering our family members who are no longer with us.

So, I made two bingo games that required asking people questions.  I had good prizes too.  There were lots of little party favor type prizes for Bingos like stretchy frogs, bouncy balls, suckers, lip balm, packs of gum, etc.  Then I had a few big prizes for the first 5 or so people who earned a blackout – a cool water gun, two $10 gift cards for lunch, and a few other items I’ve forgotten.  In all I spent about $90 from the budget.  And every penny was worth it.

This was the easy Bingo game:

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

As soon as I explained the game to the first children to arrive, they instantly starting running around asking everyone the answers.  The adults who were trying to remember things, had to talk to each other about it too.  Lots of good family conversations were going on.  After several kiddos exhausted this Bingo board, they moved on to the harder game.  This one was about our deeper family history.  This entire side of my family are LDS, so you will notice that reflected in both games.

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

I really loved the conversations that both Bingo games generated.  We heard some family stories and facts that I had never heard before – and that is saying something!  There was an awesome feeling during this whole reunion as we had dinner and talked, and filled in our Bingo cards.  Our focus was on our family members and we all felt their love and presence with us that night.

After dinner I wrapped things up by sharing that I had recently come into possession of a large collection of family letters including a box of letters written by Naomi.  This is a special treasure for all of us because she died very young, with one child still at home, and left no journals or personal history.  But those five years of letters she wrote to my Grandpa include so much of her heart and life.  I read this little story from one of her letters:

From a letter dated Friday, October 13, 1944, written by Naomi Peterson to Ronald Peterson:

“I must tell you about Janice and Marilyn.  We went in to Lienhardt’s to get the candy last night and when we came home Marilyn’s new robe was over the back of the chair by the telephone.  It looked wet and on further examination I found a pool of water under the chair.  This morning Janice stated to laugh saying she had never seem anything so funny in her life.  Marilyn had filled the bath tub for her bath.  She and Janice were standing by the mirror.  Marilyn says things just to make Janice angry – rather smart you remember.  Janice gave her a disgusted push and sat Marilyn in the tub robe and all.  Her feet were hanging out and her head against the soap dish.  Janice said she went in very gracefully.  Marilyn says there is going to be a big splash one of these times.”

What a treasure.  It was a joy to see everyone’s eyes light up as I told them about the letters and shared this story.  It was a great reunion with a very simple set of activities.

 

If you have a family reunion coming up, I wholeheartedly suggest you consider making your own version of Family Bingo.  Everyone loved it and they were used again at a smaller reunion for one of my Great Uncles and his family.  I also emailed copies to everyone who couldn’t attend including answers for the second Bingo card.

 

If you would like to use my docs as a starting point to make your own, here they are:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

And if you are related to me and are curious about the answers, here is the copy with answers:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingo

 

I will just add one more tip – I did not put a limit on the number of prizes.  I also didn’t worry a lot about the prizes.  The kids knew I had created the game, they would come to me and show me their card and I would send them over to choose their prize.  Some kids made a serious haul, but it kept the conversations going all night.  Plenty of adults and teenagers played too – and took prizes.  I made sure I had a Costco sized bag of High-Chews as backup in case we ran low on prizes, we did use the High-Chews and got very close to running out of everything.

 

Have you ever been in charge of a Family Reunion?  What activities have you enjoyed at Family Reunions?

 

 

*Lagoon is an amusement park here in Utah that started out as a place for bowling, dancing, and eating.  The first thrill ride was added in 1899.

 

Family Reunion Bingo Games

 


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Creating Free, Beautiful Charts on TreeSeek

Adeline Perrault, 5.13.2017 fanchart

I love beautiful, informative charts.  I love them even more when they are free!  That lovely fan chart up there was created for free at TreeSeek.com, using information from FamilySearch.org.

In the center of that chart is Adeline Perrault, my 4th great grandmother straight up my maternal line.  I wanted to look at my tree based on only her ancestry to see where my holes are and make some decisions about where I may choose to research next.

Now, if you are thinking to yourself that you don’t use FamilySearch so creating that lovely chart is not an option for you, guess what?  TreeSeek has you covered.  You can create a chart from a gedcom file.  If you don’t use a genealogy software program, but you do use an online tree service such as the one found at Ancestry.com, you can download a gedcom file of your tree to use on TreeSeek.

Let’s take a quick tour of TreeSeek and the chart options you have.  When you go to TreeSeek.com you will see a landing page like this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.03 PM

Notice that in the center gray box you have two options: “Login now to create your chart” and “New! We now support creating charts with a GEDCOM file.  Try now.”  The login option will take you to a FamilySearch sign-in page.

Before we log-in, I want to point out that if you scroll down you will see some of the chart options available:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.15 PM

After clicking the log-in option I am taken to a FamilySearch sign-in page.  If you are not a FamilySearch user, you will need to upload a gedcom file, your chart choices will be limited, but that beautiful 9 generation fan chart is available to you.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.52.30 PM.png

After logging in I am given some quick options.  Under “Starting Person”, there is a drop-down menu that currently has my name, Amberly Beck, showing.  The other options I have automatically are: my husband, children, and parents.  I can also choose anyone I like based on their 7 character PID number in FamilySearch.  I simply type that PID number into the empty box to the right of my name.  After selecting the start person, I choose my chart.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.26 PM

Here is the complete list of chart types to choose from:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.38 PM

I can name my chart if I like and select whether I want to include the siblings of the start person on the chart.  Once I have made my selections, I click the green “Create Chart” button.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.31.47 PM

Next, I will see this message as the chart is being created.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.07.16 PM

Once the chart is complete it appears in a window like this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.07.28 PM

I can click the green “Download Chart” button to download this chart as a pdf.  Once I have the file, I can save it as a jpeg if I like.

If you are not a FamilySearch user, you will click on the “New! We now support creating charts with a GEDCOM file.  Try now.” button.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.22.03 PM

That will take you to this page:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 12.32.26 PM

You will click the white “Choose File” button and then select your gedcom file from your computer.  After your file has uploaded, you will see this:

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.12.00 PM

In the dropdown menu you will see a list of people in your gedcom file.  They are organized generationally starting with you.  I chose my great grandfather and a 9 Gen Fan, and then clicked “Create Chart”.

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 1.12.21 PM

Again, my chart shows up and I have the option to download the pdf file of the chart.

Here are a few other cool charts I was able to make.  These options are only available to FamilySearch users at present.

mixed first names cloud

Mixed first names in a name cloud from FamilyTree on FamilySearch, using me as the starting person.  This means this comes from my portion of the tree on FamilySearch.  Remember, no one has their own tree on FamilySearch.female first names cloud

Female first names in a name cloud.

male first name cloud

Male first names in a name cloud.

surnames name cloud

Surnames in a name cloud.

5 Generation Photo Family Chart

I think this chart is my favorite of all.  It uses the profile photos I have selected for each person on FamilySearch.  My parents are in the center with my brother and I beneath.  I removed the names of anyone who is living, but those are also on the chart.  I want to go in and update each person with the best photo of I have and create this chart again and frame it.  It’s such a lovely visual for my children to really get to know our family tree.  I also need to either remove my brother or add my other siblings.  😉

One last note, these charts print up beautifully in very large sizes.  They can be printed at any copy store.  If you live near BYU, the BYU Family History Library has a wonderful fan chart printing service available for anyone to use.  You can print a full color 24×18 poster print for $3.50 or a full color 24×36 poster print for $7.00.  They are printed on a high quality, thick paper.

 

Have you used TreeSeek to create any charts?  Do you have another favorite service for creating charts?

 

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 


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Family History for Little Ones

family history for little ones-01

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

 

There are so many ways I can answer these two questions but the bottom line for me can be summed up pretty well in this short video of my little one:

 

 

When he was somewhere in his second year of life, he developed his first little mole on his arm.  It was really bothering him and he kept asking about it.  He was finally okay with that little mole when I told him it was an angel kiss.  From that moment on, every freckle and mole on any of us was an angel kiss.

A while later he started asking who the angel was that was kissing us.  I don’t recall our exact conversation, but the end result was that he believed that my Grandma – Margaret – was the angel that was giving us all kisses.

Whenever I can, I tell him special little things about her and my Grandpa and other family members.  I keep it very simple.  Slowly he is learning little things.  But of all those little tid-bits, the one thing that I really want him to know is that he is loved.  That he has a place in the fabric of our family.  That he is connected to those who came before and to those who will come after.

That is the part he understands completely.

In fact, he regularly says little things about the Grandma who loves him.  The one who gives him all of the angel kisses.

Those moments happen at random times.  Like when he is watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Daniel’s little sister Margaret is mentioned.  Suddenly I hear him say, “Ooooh, she has the same name as the angel Grandma!  She loves me, doesn’t she mom.”  This sweet declaration is usually followed by a hug from my darling little boy.

Preparing my children for the things they will face throughout their lives in a daunting task.  Giving them a strong foundation when they are young makes all the difference.  I believe that one of the key ingredients for that strong foundation is knowing where they come from and who came before them.  Family History has the power to strengthen the foundation we lay for our children’s lives.

As Bruce Feiler said, “The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.”

I choose to share our Family’s history with my children, my nieces and nephews, and my cousin’s children whenever I can.  I do it because I know it makes them stronger and more resilient.  I do it because I want them to feel loved, not just by those they can see, but by the countless other family members who are no longer living.  I do it because it matters.

Family History is not just for old people.  Family History is for everyone – especially for children.

 

This post was written for the blog link-up Why Share Family History with Children hosted by Nicole over at The Family Locket Blog.  Thank you Nicole!

Why Share Family History with children blog link up posts