18 November 2013

Gratitude for Memories – Looking Forward to RootsTech 2014

During November on facebook gratitude has been the object of discussion and I’m grateful for my memories! Earlier this year at RootsTech 2013, Dennis C Brimhall posed the question “what would our great-great-grandchildren wish we had spent our time preserving?” I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

Childhood memories. I have a memory from childhood that I never recorded but it was one of those aha moments for me – the day I came into the kitchen with “something” in my hands behind my back. My mom asked what I was hiding as she stood over the stove cooking. I pulled my hands out from behind me and showed her my new find – a large green grasshopper! I thought she would go through the roof screaming at me. I have never touched one since! Oh how I wish I had a photo of that day to preserve that memory and to share it with my granddaughters. Even though I don’t have a photo, I just created a “story” – one funny one I can share with them.

Stashing "things'. Like many of you, my house has too many “things” in it, in boxes, storage, cupboards and shelves. Those stuffed animals, marbles, dolls, and even the little tin jar my great aunt gave me after her daughter died. I fight the urge to get rid of them. Why? Why are these things important to me? Because they represent my memories, both good and not so good!

Getting organized. I was reading one day about the process of getting organized, throwing away all those “things” that are just adding to the clutter in one's life. One of the solutions was simple – photograph the “things” and then get rid of them. It’s not necessarily the things that you can’t live without, it’s the memories that are associated with the “things”.  So are my “things” what my granddaughters would be interested in? Some of them might be, but the “things” would not mean much unless they knew why it was important to me. They want the memories I have in my head, a piece of me. We love each other and those memories will be what they remember of me.

Photo albums. As a young child I loved dragging my parent’s photo albums out. I’d sit for hours going through them and asking questions. However, I never wrote any of it down. Some people and places I remember and others I wish I did. Photos were few and far between in those days because of the expense of film and processing. However, I do have some great ones, including shots of my mom’s teenage friends that are not identified or only have a first name. I am sure they have grandchildren who would love to see them, but I don’t know who they are. We were taught to not write on photos because it might damage them. Hey, I’d be one happy soul if those photo’s had been written on!

Over the years, paper photos get lost, damaged or even passed on to only one child and then to their one child. I’m so grateful to those cousins who have posted copies of those pictures that are part of my tree! It’s the only discovered and created memory I can have. It creates a sense of self and belonging.

Journals and stories. My ancestors were not the ones who passed down journals or left their memories behind, but with a combination of a few family notes, family lore, DNA testing and the gathering of documents I’ve been able to piece together a bit of their lives. I have learned what my maiden name should have been and the unusual upbringing of my grandfather and his family. I have learned about the struggles that made them strong and other events that made them happy. I want to be able to tell them how much they mean to me when I get to the “other side”. I want them to know how grateful I am for the part they played in my life.

FamilySearch Photos and Stories. I’m grateful that FamilySearch has come to the rescue for all of us. I can upload all the photos I can get my hands on. I know those pics will be available to my grandchildren and their grandchildren. The more pics I upload the more the ancestor “comes alive” to me. Those pictures, along with the facts I gather from documents create a story or a “created memory” --a better understanding of who I am.  Pictures don’t make us, but they remind us of who we are, where we came from and where we are going.

My grandfather, as a young man playing the violin (he performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir circa 1915), his marriage to my favorite ancestor, Grandma,  and his old age - uploaded  and preserved on Family Tree Photos
That’s what I want to pass on to my grandchildren – my memories, my thoughts, my feelings, my activities and my “created memories” of those who have gone before.  What I wouldn't give to have those memories from my ancestors in their own words and pictures! If you have been lucky enough to have any of these items handed down to you, share them with your family members -- even the ones you don't currently know by adding them to FamilySearch.

RootsTech 2014 is coming in just a couple months. It’s a terrific opportunity to get started, keep going, and master the art of Family History. Take the opportunity to learn more about preserving your memories. Check out the schedule for the many classes being taught to help with organizing, digitizing, restoring, and sharing photos. Then learn how to tell the stories of yourself and your ancestors and share them with family and friends. Give your children and grandchildren the best gift you can possibly give – a gift of past memories and a better understanding of who they are and where they came from!

RootsTech 2014
February 6-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Register today for RootsTech 2014 here
Check out the schedule here

Come and enjoy – stay a few days and visit the Family History Library, visit the local sites, go skiing or enjoy the shopping! Salt Lake has it all. And it’s beautiful during the winter – typically snow in the mountains and not much in the valley.  This year the TRAX light rail runs from the airport to town in just a few short minutes. See you there!

07 November 2013

RootsTech Early Bird Registration $10 off Promo Code

For a special limited time (30 Nov 2013) readers of Granite Genealogy can save an additional $10 off the RootsTech 2014 Early Bird Registration price of $159 for a full access 3-day conference pass. 

Register at: RootsTech.org

Enter Promo Code: RT14LTO to received this discount. 

This $10 off promo code ends 30 Nov 2014. You need to register now to save $90 on the full registration price. After entering the promo code the registration cost will be $149.00.

Early Bird Registration period ends 6 Jan 2014. Full price registration is $239.00.

06 November 2013

New Activity Book Series Brings Youthful Fun To Family History

 NOTE: I have the book "Zap The Grandma Gap" by Janet Hovorka which was published earlier this year, and love it. Janet has a great love for family and her enthusiasm shines through on every page. If you are looking for ways to get your children and/or grandchildren involved in Family History, this book and the new accompanying activity books will get you started. Check these out and plan some great family activities.

Studies have shown that greater knowledge about family history especially strengthens and empowers youth by creating self-esteem, resilience and a greater sense of control over their lives.  Learning about the family’s past also strengthens the relationships between living family members by creating a shared experience and core identity that no one else in the world can duplicate.

To help families achieve these great benefits authors Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade have developed a new series of “Zap The Grandma Gap--My Ancestor” activity books.  The first four books, My British Ancestor, My Civil War Ancestor, My Swedish Ancestor and My German Ancestor are 52 page activity books designed for 6-14 year-olds with puzzles, activities, games and recipes combined with questions and learning opportunities about specific ancestors and the culture that surrounded them.  Timelines, paper dolls, coloring pages, maps, fairy tales, music, dot to dots and crossword puzzles combine to give youth the full picture of what their ancestors’ lives were like.  When pre-ordered now, the books will arrive in time to prompt questions around the Thanksgiving table.  Or they can become the perfect Christmas gift for children and grandchildren that will create stronger bonds in modern families by encouraging the whole family to learn about their ancestors together.  Sample pages from the books can be viewed on the website and blog at ZapTheGrandmaGap.com where they join other online and print resources to help families connect to each other by connecting to their past.

With the My British Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
- Discover online and offline resources for finding more information about your British roots
- Compare British Schools to today’s schools
- Solve puzzles about different British homes
- Complete a crossword puzzle about British words your ancestors used
- Learn about and participate in a British holiday
- Plan a proper British family history tea party
- Play British games your ancestors may have played
- And explore many other activities

With the My German Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
- Record how you are related to your German ancestor
- Try some German recipes
- Read a German Fairy Tale your ancestors might have known.
- Color and cut out German paper dolls to tell the stories of your ancestors
- Collect documents about your German ancestor’s life
- Make a Schultute School Bag like your ancestors may have received for school.
- Explore some of the qualities you share with your German Ancestor
- And explore many other activities

With the My Civil War Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
- Discover online and offline resources for finding more information about your Civil War ancestors
- Follow a dot to dot about an important Civil War landmark
- Try some of the food eaten by the Civil War soldiers
- Learn some Civil War songs and bugle calls
-  Create a military band with homemade instruments
- Record the battles in which your ancestors were involved
- Write a eulogy for your Civil War ancestor
- And explore many other activities

With the My Swedish Ancestor Activity Book youth can:
- Place your Swedish ancestor in the context of broader Swedish history
- Complete a crossword puzzle about Swedish words your ancestors used
- Learn about and create items for a Swedish holiday
- Color and cut out Swedish paper dolls to tell the stories of your ancestors
- Write a letter to your Swedish ancestor
- Design and color a drawing of a Dala horse such as your ancestor might have played with
- Involve your whole family in the fun of learning about your Swedish ancestors
- And explore many other activities

The “My Ancestor” activity books are designed to give kids ownership of their own family history.  “These books help young kids take the lead in learning about their family history for themselves,” says Hovorka.  “As they accomplish the activities together with the help of their parents and grandparents, they strengthen modern family bonds while they are strengthening their identity with the past.”  Parents and grandparents who teach children who they are and where they came from give youth a secure identity from which to draw courage as they encounter the challenges in their lives.

The authors, sisters Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade grew up in a family history oriented home, but didn’t realize how much they were learning about their family history until later in life.   Throughout Janet’s 12 years as a popular genealogy speaker, co-owner of a family history company, genealogy instructor at SLCC, and as past president of the Utah Genealogical Association, she has witnessed over and over again how family history can heal the relationships in a family.  Her books Zap The Grandma Gap: Connect To Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History, and Zap The Grandma Gap Power Up Workbook have helped families connect with their roots through the real life examples drawn from Janet’s own experiences with her teenage children.   Over the last 8 years, Amy has traveled studying folklore, dance and food and culture around the world and recently received her Masters Degree in Folklore from George Mason University.  Together, they are living proof that exploring your family history helps strengthen relationships with living family members.

05 November 2013

Riverton Family History Library - Free Seminar

Saturday, November 16th, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Discovering the Family History Center of Tomorrow

The family history center of the future is a place where families can discover together. It offers individuals and families simple, yet powerful, in-person experiences to discover their heritage and have their hearts turned to their ancestors.

Merrill White was born and raised in Sparks, Nevada. He graduated from BYU with a BA in history and a minor in music. He has worked for FamilySearch for 13 years, managed the Family History Library for six years, and is currently a product manager for the FamilySearch Discovery Center initiative. Merrill resides with his beautiful wife and five children in South Jordan, Utah. 

Following Merrill’s keynote presentation from 9:00 to10:00 a.m., two blocks of four classes each are offered that cover topics of interest for beginning, intermediate, and advanced family history enthusiasts.

10:15 a.m. Choose one of the following four classes:

    ·           “Using British Naming Patterns to Find Your Ancestors” - Craig Foster

    ·           “How Photos and Stories Can Lead to Temple Work” - Fran Jensen

    ·           “Ancestral Quest Basics” - Bud Wood

    ·          United States Statewide Collections on FamilySearch.org” - Adele Marcum

11:30 a.m. Choose one of the following four classes:

    ·          “Doing Family History 15 Minutes at a Time by Organizing Your Time and Space” - CindyLee Banks

    ·          “United States Church Records” - Jill Shoemaker

    ·          “MacGyver Genealogy: How to Use What You Have to Create the Results You Want” - Adele Marcum

    ·          Photo Editing to Prepare Pictures for Family Tree and Other Uses” - Paul Hyer

Registration is not required for this free seminar. The Riverton FamilySearch Library is located in the LDS Riverton Office Building at 3740 West Market Center Drive. The facility is near the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 13400 South, just east of The Home Depot.

02 November 2013

Utah Valley Technology & Genealogy Group Meeting-UVTAGG

The next regular, second-Saturday-of-the-month meeting of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group - UVTAGG (Formerly the Utah Valley PAF Users Group - UVPAFUG) will be on Saturday, 09 Nov 2013, from 9 am to noon in the LDS "Red Chapel", 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo.  Information about the Group, main presentations, classes, and class notes are available on their website http://uvtagg.org.

The main presentation this month will be by Timothy G. Cross of the FamilySearch Department of the LDS Church.  His presentation is titled, THE LATEST AND GREATEST IN FAMILY TREE PHOTOS AND STORIES.  Tim is currently responsible for FamilySearch Family Tree Photos and Stories which now includes Documents.  Pictures and stories of our ancestors help us know them much more than just knowing their dates and places.  For those who have uploaded scanned documents, e.g. birth certificates, into the Photos section, there is now an easy way to move them into the Documents section and that's probably the reason that the Documents section is with the Photos now.  This is still in beta test, so we can hope that eventually the Documents section will be with the Sources section where you would expect to find it.  The file size limit has also been increased recently for uploaded files and you can now upload pdf's (Portable Document Format).  Family Tree has been making good strides from when it started a couple of years ago.  Tim Cross graduated from BYU in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Management in the Business School and has worked as a Product Manager for FamilySearch for 9 years.  Prior to working for the Church, Tim worked in the computer industry for PriceWaterhouse, Booz, Allen, & Hamilton, and for Novell.  He and his family live in Mapleton, Utah.

After the main presentation the following classes are scheduled.  Check the meetings page at http://uvtagg.org/ for last minute changes or additions.  

(1)  Are There Germans In Your Past?, by Laurie Castillo;
(2)  Presenting and Preserving Your Family History:  You Can't Take It With You, So How Do You Leave It?, by Don Snow;
(3)  Q&A: The Latest and Greatest in FamilySearch Family Tree, by Tim Cross;
(4)  Ask An Expert (Personal Help), by Don Engstrom, Finn Hansen, & Beth Ann Wiseman;
(5)  Video of last month's main presentation: A Fanciful Genealogy or Clues to the Past, by Karen Clifford; (6)  MAC: OS Mavericks Update and Evernote, by Ron Snowden;
(7)  Ancestral Quest, by Benjamin Findlay;
(8)  RootsMagic, by Bruce Buzbee; and
(9)  Legacy, by Dean Bennett.

All meetings of UVTAGG are open to the public whether members of the Group or not. The Group has the goal of helping individuals use technology to further their family history and there are usually about 100 attending the monthly meetings on the second Saturdays.