Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Gift of Family History

There is still time to make a Family History treasure for Holiday giving. 

You don't have to wait until you are "finished" your research because, guess what?  You are never going to be finished, as most genealogists know. There is always another tidbit of information waiting to be discovered. Don't wait until it is too late to share your family stories with your older generations.

Your family history project can run the gamut from simple to elaborate, one branch at a time. Books, scrapbooks, and videos are just some of the ways we can share our family history. There are many examples to be found online. I have done simple and pretty detailed, and I am looking forward to doing an elaborate one, using all the tricks I learned watching Time Travel with Google Earth!  You know... when I have time.

Windows comes with a program called Movie Maker (or iMovie for Mac) and I have used it for birthdays and for a celebration of life.  You can use it to make a genealogy video, incorporating your photos, records, video, music and voice recordings. Then you can upload it to a site like YouTube or Vimeo, or put it on a DVD to give as a gift.

Here are some examples of family history videos:

           Using video and records to tell the family immigrant story

This woman shows how she made family books using 3 ring binders.

At copy & print centers, like Staples and Office Depot you can make hard cover books for about $25 and up, or consider a booklet for as little as $10-12 depending on the number of pages. I made this one at Staples: I wrote the condensed version of our history using Word with a couple of pages of images and used Staples' "Perfect Binding" with a clear plastic cover to make a booklet to give to family members. Use lots of images (people, places, heirlooms, etc) to hold their interest and to wow your family members, and they will be saying "How did you find all this??"

I have made many hard and soft cover books for family members over the years at Staples, but for my family history books I decided to go with Blurb. First because their prices have come down the last few years, and also they have many sizes and formats to choose from, including a pdf for any ebook reader. Secondly because other family members can go there and purchase the book if they want, in either soft cover or hardcover, or pdf form, fitting their budget. These online publishers, like Blurb, Shutterfly and PhotoInPress to name a few, make it easy with a free download of their program, then all you have to do is pick your layout, drag and drop images and write your story.

You can see one I did of my husband's Nolin and Runge families using Blurb here. I have used information from not only records, but family accounts, books, images, photos and newspaper articles to tell the stories of these ancestors.

Don't forget the children - you can make smaller size books with lots of images that tell the story of their parents and grandparents - or go further back if it is for an older child. My eleven year old grandson is very interested in his ancestry and was in awe when he discovered he could trace his family back over 300 years. Think about your audience and keep it interesting.

These ideas may spark other ideas from you to get started on sharing your family stories.

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