Saturday, February 23, 2013

A fantastic time at Who Do You Think You Are Live

We've crossed the pond again to the world's biggest family history conference. I gave my "Grandma's Bullet Proof Vest" lecture this morning and talked to them about some of the new ideas in my book. I think it went really well. It is really a universal principle that family history is an important part of raising a well adjusted secure adult. And the adults who are teaching children all care deeply about doing everything we can to raise happy and healthy children. It is just so vitally important.

We're having a great time.

There is a great focus here on making sure the next generation is grounded in family history so that the history is preserved. When the next generation doesn't get involved early enough the older generation dies off and history is lost. It all just works so much better when the whole family can preserve their history together.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Taking my Dad on a Who Do You Think You Are Tour

 Last weekend I got to take my Father back to where his patriarchal line originated in Bradford on Tone and Taunton in Somerset England.  It was such a privilege to get to show him around and help him experience some of the lives of his ancestors.  We stayed in a Yalland's bed and breakfast farmhouse near Taunton.  The room we had actually existed at the time our ancestors were there.  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the 1600s and the 1700s. 

I took Dad out to my favorite place, the Somerset Heritage Centre and he agreed to be my assistant for some research there for a couple of days.  The people there were so kind and generous to us.  Phil Hawking was very attentive when we had questions and did lots of work to help us uncover more information about our ancestors.  We came home with scores of images that I now get to go through.  When Dad's grandfather first wrote the Vicar in Bradford on Tone around the turn of the century and the Vicar started sending him information about his family from the parish records there, he wrote that a "most enjoyable pastime" ensued as he tried to piece together the records of his family.  I know just how that must have felt. 

Dad came face to face with the wills and deeds I found last year of his 5th and 6th great grandparents.  It is so mind boggling to see the signatures and wax seals on these documents that you know where signed before the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States were signed.  It makes everything so real.  Even that old.

Dad helped me go through the parish registers that hold the records of his patriarchal line.  We digitized several years of records off the microfilm with Dad running the microfilm reader and me running the computer.  It was nice to sit together with him and fun to hear him say, "There's a Carpenter, there's a Carpenter."  We found the marriage records and christening records for many of his ancestors and we're going to have fun going back through and documenting and piecing together the siblings and the families.  Though my university administrator Dad knows how to research, you couldn't call him a genealogist, but I think he had fun. 
 We went to the church in Bradford on Tone where all of these parish records were created.  Here he is with the christening font in the church.  I don't know how old the font is but this is the place where generations of his family were christened.  It is amazing to think this is where they went to church. 

We had a wonderful dinner at the White Horse Inn again.  The people there have been so gracious to us when we have visited and the food is wonderful.  It has been really nice to visit there as many times as I have.  I feel so blessed to have been able to take my children and my father there now and it is so fulfilling to have been able to have been able to share this trip with my family reaching up and down.  
We went to High Street in Taunton where Dad's Great Grandfather was born and where his Great-Great Grandfather had a grocery store.  I haven't been able to figure out where exactly they lived but they lived somewhere on this block that is now a nice pedestrian mall.  We had a nice walk in the morning around Taunton. 
 We visited the churches in Taunton where some of Dad's ancestors were married.  I lucked out this time and every church we went to was open.  It was so exciting to go in and see where these people were married and where they went to church.  We found a Congregationalist church that was built when Dad's Great Grandfather was a young child just down the street from where his family lived.  He grew up to leave the Anglican church and become a Congregationalist minister.  So I'm wondering if that new church had something to do with his going into the ministry.  More research to do.  :)  Here's Dad in front of St. James church where his fifth great grandparents were married just over 250 years ago. 

And as a final treat, after we came back into London, the next day we went out to find the plot in the Gravesend Cemetery where many members of this family came to be buried.  I hadn't scoped this site out before so when we walked in and found this fantastic tombstone it was a great surprise for me. It listed the seven family members buried there including Dad's Great-Grandparents and Great-Great Grandparents. The tombstone was in wonderful shape and had a wealth of genealogical information on it.   Such a fantastic find.

So on my way to speaking at the Who Do You Think You Are Conference this year, we had our own who do you think you are tour.  It was fantastic.  Simply lovely. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Spring Utah Genealogical Association Conference

The UGA South Davis Family History Fair  April 19-20 at Woods Cross High School.
Friday evening's session will be DENISE MAY LEVENICK, "The Family Curator", speaker and author of  "How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records"  The title for her presentation is "Treasures in the Attic: Every Keepsake Has a Story."  This will begin at 7:00 pm Friday evening and is free to the public.

Saturday's program will start at 8 am with a keynote address by DAVID RENCHER, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA, the Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch - entitled "Preserve the Pensions – The Community Makes a Difference!"
On Saturday, the fair will have classes on many different subjects relating to family history and great vendors will be showing all the newest in Family History products.
Cost for the fair is only $10.00 for UGA members and $15.00 for non-UGA attendees. The cost includes the syllabus on CD containing the handouts for all classes.  The printed syllabus will be $15.00 for UGA members and $20.00 for non-UGA attendees.  Register at the UGA website

Come and join us for the 16th year of this great community event!!  

If you would like to attend for free, SIGN UP AS A VOLUNTEER by contacting Kim Mason at

We'll see you there!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Grandma Gap introductory sale over tomorrow

I just wanted to post a quick note to remind you that our new book is on sale only until tomorrow.  And if you pre-purchase the workbook with it, you'll save even more.

New Zap The Grandma Gap Book Sale Until Friday Feb 8th 
Zap The Grandma Gap Book We've had such a wonderful response to the release of our first book.  Comments like "overflowing with valuable ideas and suggestions" and "must-read for everyone who treasures family history" have been really gratifying.  This is the book that will finally help you involve your family in their family history. 

The introductory sale has the book at $19.95 (regular $23.95) until tomorrow.  During the sale you can also pre-purchase the workbook that goes with the book for a reduced price.  Order the Power-Up Workbook at the same $19.95 price (regular $23.95) and we'll pay the shipping when the book comes out in March.   Click here and you can save $13.00 on both books until tomorrow.  Enjoy the book now, get started with the ideas, and then when the workbook comes you'll find even more to help you connect to your family. 

Power Up Workbook Cover We know these books will help you leave a strong and stable heritage for the next generations in your family.   We're excited to show you a 24 page excerpt of the new workbook.  With over 100 pages of amazing ideas and resources, the workbook will really get the ideas flowing about what will work with your family.  A 28 page excerpt of the book are on the website as well.  Take a look.  They are guaranteed to get ideas flowing about what will work with your family.

Have you checked out the new website we created to go with the book?  It is full of resources to help families connect with their family history.  And there will be more to come.  The website establishes a gathering place where people can submit their best ideas and learn from each other how to strengthen the coming generation.  Included in the site are a multitude of free resources including:  Zap the Grandma Gap : Connect With Your Family by Connecting Them To Their Family History by Janet Hovorka  and Zap The Grandma Gap: Power Up Workbook: The Particulars About How To Connect Your Family by Connecting Them To Their Family History by Janet Hovorka are on sale until tomorrow at $19.95 (regular $23.95).  You can purchase them now at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

FREE Resources on how to teach your family members about genealogy

Have you checked out the new website yet?  Here are the FREE Resources at
  1. FREE Email Newsletter—52 weeks of great ways to engage your family with their family history.
  2. FREE Downloads—35 page workbook for children, pedigree charts, activities for the whole family.
  3. FREE Resource Collection—The greatest ideas from all over the web collected in one convenient place.
  4. FREE Connections—Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Submit Ideas.  Get involved and share your ideas about connecting with your family.  Bring your best ideas and help us build a gathering place where people can learn from each other about how to strengthen the coming generations and preserve our history. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

10 Innovative Ideas To Engage Your Family With Their Family History

10 Innovative Ideas To Engage Your Family With Their Family History From The Book: Zap The Grandma Gap: Connect To Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History.
  1. When you find yourself sounding just like your father, or just like your mother, stop and tell your family members about where and from whom those sayings come.  When little superstitions or quirky or profound sayings come up, point out their origin and make a teaching moment happen with a story or a picture.  (pg 117)
  2. If family history is boring then you are doing it wrong.  Family history encompasses all sorts of topics, music, language, culture, food, fashion, etc, etc.  Move to the part that interests your family and find out what your ancestors were doing with that favorite aspect of your history.  (page 34)
  3. Keeping good track of the sources for your family history information is critical because source citations give future generations something to build on.  Well documented sources will help others in analyzing and building on your research and will be crucial to future family member's successes.  (pg 156)
  4. Most likely the everyday food you cook already contains a mixture of the recipes that were handed down from your family members.  Record your family recipes and make sure your family knows a little bit about the people who cooked those recipes before you.  When there are tricky instructions, make an event out of making the food together so that the next generations can continue the tradition.  (pg 113)
  5. Encouraging journal keeping helps a person think through what is going on in their lives and preserves the present for future generations.  Likewise, when a mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle consistently records the love they have for the children in their family and keeps a record of the cute things they do, they create a great keepsake for the coming generation.  (pg 95)
  6. Look for the time period and culture of your ancestors in the entertainment you choose.  Try their genre of music.  Point out similarities in movies or TV series that relate to your ancestor's lives.  Even family movie night could produce more understanding about the cultural forces that helped to form your family.  (pg 120)
  7. Creating a time capsule can help your family members think about their future family and what life will be like at a later time.  When creating the capsule, share an artifact or heirloom from your family's past and talk about how important the decisions they make now are to the future generations in your family.  (pg 91)
  8. Use the Library of Alexandria Rule to make sure your family history information survives into future generations.  The more copies there are of your family records, the more likely they are to survive.  Share, share, share your family history information so that it is disseminated and thus preserved for someone to be able to find a copy later.  (pg 184)
  9. Don't worry if you need to resort to incentives or even bribery to engage your family member's help with a family history project.  Many hard core genealogists will tell you that they first became involved because their grandparent paid them to help with their family history efforts.  (pg 64)
  10. Curiosity is best encouraged when you don't over program the youth in your family.  Give them a problem you've been working on and encourage them to help you find more.  Even if you think you know everything about a particular part of your family, you'll be amazed if you stand back and watch where they go with it.  (pg 35)