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December 31, 2006

Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes

Dennis B. Neuenschwander gave an excellent talk on Family History work in the April 1999 General Conference entitled, “Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes.” In his talk he even quotes something an American President, Woodrow Wilson, said. Here is an excerpt:

Family history and temple work have a great power, which lies in their scriptural and divine promise that the hearts of the fathers will turn to the children and those of the children will turn to their fathers. Woodrow Wilson stated: “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.” Well might this be said of families also: A family “which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”

I feel like I need to work on more of the "history" of family history. I know the family names, just not all the historical events and stories. The tag line for Elder Neuenschwander's talk is, "Genealogies, family stories, historical accounts, and traditions … form a bridge between past and future and bind generations together in ways that no other keepsake can." At least I can work on making keepsakes for my children, even if I don't have many from my ancestors. I am planning to start a journal for each of my children this next year and write things about each of them and keep their silly drawings and pictures. I'm really looking forward to doing it and how they'll appreciate it when they're older and have kids of their own.

Here is a link to the talk.

December 14, 2006

Family Cookbook

For a few years now my mom has mentioned the idea of creating a family cookbook. At one point she asked for recipes from people in the family, but not many people responded. So it is still on the "to do" list. Kimberly Powell wrote a nice blog entry about creating a family cookbook, and here are her tips for encouraging a reply:

* Ask those that can to send their recipes and stories by email. You're not only more likely to receive more submissions, but you'll also be able to cut and paste the recipes right into your final document.

* Since emailing good quality pictures can be so painful for many, consider joining a photo share site to make it easier for participants to upload their photos.

* Set a deadline that allows family members at least a few weeks to gather together their recipes, but not so far out in the future that they forget about the project all together. You may also want to send a short reminder postcard or email a week or two before the final submission deadline.

* For participants you know don't have email, try sending a SASE with your letter to boost the chance of a response.

* If you're planning to sell the cookbook to help recoop your costs, it is still nice to offer free copies to everyone who contributes recipes, stories or photos.

I also found a genealogy blog called Family Matters that has written a few entries about how they made a family cookbook for this Christmas. It looks like they put a lot of work into it with pictures and different styles. They used The Living Cookbook software and Lulu for printing.

Hopefully with these helpful blog entries on the topic, my mother and I can get one made for next year!

December 12, 2006

Paul Allen's BYU Students have some explaining to do

World Vital Records is getting some bad publicity about comment spam. According to a BYU Student, it's not World Vital Records fault.

Check out the full article at Family History.

December 11, 2006

Journal Ideas

Scrapbooking has never been something I wanted/liked to do. My mom's idea of a scrapbook for me was putting all my pictures from childhood into an album. That's it, no fancy stickers or paper...just the pictures. I tend to have the same theory. But after finding a blog about scrapbooking I've realized that part of scrapbooking is writing down memories next to the pictures, which is somewhat like keeping a journal, which I think is very important. Tasra Dawson has a good post about writing down memories. It's called Moments Worth Saving and she shares some pictures of her 2 children and the importance of writing down what was happening when the picture was taken.

I have 2 kids myself and really liked her idea of keeping a journal for each of them and writing down cute/funny stories when they happen. Ever since I had kids I haven't been very good about keeping a journal, so here are Tasra's 3 easy solutions:

1. Buy a small calendar: make sure it has a bit of room on each date for you to take some notes. Even if it's just bullet points or short sentences, it will help jog your memory years later when you can expand on it.
2. Get a voice recorder (tape or digital): you may already have one. If not, they are relatively inexpensive these days. Get one, set it by your nightstand and pick it up and talk for a few minutes every evening as you review your day. When you finish a tape, label it and store it somewhere safe. If you have some free time, transcribe it.
3. Use a journal: a plain Jane, ordinary journal will do just fine. Chances are you already have one sitting on a shelf somewhere. If not, pick one up and limit yourself to one page a day. This will make it doable and something you look forward to, rather than fear.

She also has some good ideas of how to make a cheap notebook look like a fun, cute journal. And for those who do like scrapbooking, Tasra has just released a new book called Real Women Scrap.

December 5, 2006

Nintendo Family Tree

It seems like genealogy pops up everywhere. Two weeks ago I wrote about Barbie's family, now there's a family tree shirt available for Nintendo lovers. I remember the first NES very well, but I haven't played any of the newer ones.


December 4, 2006

Detective Megan Smolenyak

This is a very generous offer from well-known genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.

I'd like to invite you to submit your unsolved mysteries for possible resolution. I can't do 'em all, of course, but it only takes a minute or two to submit and you just might get that stubborn brick wall knocked down! Here's where to submit:

Orphan Heirlooms

Lost Loved Ones

Brick Wall/Mystery

DNA Stories

I have an adopted (or perhaps taken w/o adoption?) great-grandpa who has caused trouble for my mother and I. I think I will gather my information and try and stump Megan, or gratefully use her expertise :)

December 1, 2006

Ensign & New Era Family History Articles

As some of you may have noticed, on the last day of each month I post an LDS quote on Family History. For those of you who would like to find more of these, my main resource is this webpage:

Family History - Genealogy Articles: Ensign and New Era

The page is updated fairly often, at least monthly, since the November articles are up. I found it months ago and it continues to be updated.

Contact info

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OurStory.com - Online Diaries, Journals and more.