Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Reviews and Signings

If you watch me on facebook, you know that last week I got to do a book signing at my alma mater--in the college bookstore.  Sweet.  Throughout my bachelor's and into my Master's in Library Science, I spent many, many happy hours in that bookstore and I own lots of books I bought there.  It was really fun. 
Funny how that signage meant so much to me even when we can create signage like that anytime.  :) 

The book is getting great reviews.  We've updated the reviews page on ZapTheGrandmaGap.com.  Check out all the reviews that have come up about the book at  https://zapthegrandmagap.com/reviews.html.  A few reviews have been added to Amazon.com as well but none have been registered at Barnes and Noble.com.  If you have seen any other reviews that I've missed, or if you would like to add one at either of these sites, we'd love to have your input.  Thanks so much!

Wisdom from My Dad

You know a little about my wonderful Father from the blog posts I've written about the traveling we've done together.  I am really blessed to have a great Dad and I know how extraordinary that blessing is in this world.  I wish everyone could have a Father like mine.  My parents, my husband, my children and my sisters are truly the greatest blessings I have.  That's probably why I work in family history and I've devoted so much time to helping people figure out how to use family history to create a close family like I am blessed to have.  (We drive each other crazy often--but they are still really great.)

Back to my Dad--  He is currently working outside of London which is part of why I was able to take him on his very own Who Do You Think You Are tour of his family's history this year.  While he's been there, he has written us alot of emails--not just your everyday "this is what's going on" emails, but pearls of Fatherly wisdom for my sisters and I and our kids.  Yesterday the email was about family history so I asked him if I could share it with you here.  Then you get the benefit of my great Dad too :)  This is it..

Dear Family:

Printed on the edge of every two-pound coin in England is the phrase "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants."  I think the British are pretty smart to put it there.  It gives us something to think about.  Each one of us stands on the shoulders of those who went before us -- of course our parents and grandparents, but also those who established and fought for our freedoms, our way of life, and our heritage in the church.  We are very blessed by those who went before us. 

The more I learn about history, the more I appreciate that I was born when and where I was born.  I have so many blessings that I did nothing to earn, develop, or create -- electricity, air conditioning, cars, computers, and all the wonders of science and technology.  I also received a rich heritage of freedom and liberty, knowledge, books, literature, music, and chances to go to school and learn about things in the world. Through the gospel, I have been given knowledge of spiritual and eternal truths that I would not have gained on my own, without the scriptures and prophets.  It just makes me thankful.
It is a humbling thought that each of you stands on the shoulders of your parents, and your parents stand on the shoulders of their parents.  Your children will also stand on your shoulders.  It is comforting to me to know that you are building strong shoulders on which to stand -- even you grandchildren -- because your children will need a strong foundation on which to build their future.

I just thought this was a cool statement for a coin, 

Is he awesome or what?  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

WIFFAC--Southern California and Ownership of my own family history

If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know my Mother's family comes from Southern California and I love going back there every June for the Southern California Genealogical Conference.  I've written many times about being able to explore my own family history and being able to take my children back to see where my Mom grew up.
Teenager Update--Family History Trip
Come See Us In Sunny CA
Nama--My Independent Spirit
And most recently about this trip on the Zap The Grandma Gap Blog at Taking My Daughter On A Family History Trip

This time I took my daughter and her friend and we had a wonderful time.  We went down to the Santa Monica Pier three times--an important place in my family's history.  We rode the carousel, and the Ferris wheel and walked around the pier.  We checked out the house where my Mom grew up, her schools, her neighborhood, the church she attended and where my Mom and Dad's reception was, the temple they were married in, the beaches where we hung out when I was a little girl, the Westfield Culver City Mall, and lots of other places important to our history.

But the best part was something I've been talking alot about with my kids and family history.  I wrote a recent blog post about it over at my ZapTheGrandmaGap Blog.  I gained real OWNERSHIP this year.   My phone battery wasn't cooperating, and the charger in the car was cooperating even less, so I had to really figure out the lay of the land without my GPS.  Like I wrote about last year, we had stopped by the neighborhood many times, but my parents were always driving, or we were following them in the next car.  By the time we went back and forth between Burbank and Westchester and Santa Monica several times this year, I was starting to feel like I really knew the lay of the land for myself.  I can't really describe how important that was for me.  I felt ownership of my family history and I felt connected to Southern California like I never had before.  I felt more a part of that history and those people.  I felt empowered to be able to connect them to the future generations.

So there were lots of awesome things going on at SCGS this year, great talks with the other vendors (as usual) my lectures went well, and a great venue and great people.  As always, the Southern California Genealogy Conference was fantastic this summer.  Paula and Leo and Viki and their team do such a fantastic job every year.  Jamboree is a great asset to the genealogy community.   But this year I was really focused making my own family history--having my daughter and her friend there, and getting an opportunity to really invest her and myself in my matriarchal family.  And that is priceless. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Named to Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Websites List Again!

Woohoo!  Thanks to Diane and Alison and their team for the love.  Another award to add to the 2011 award they gave us.  Check it out:

Learning to cook like my ancestors did--What I did over the summer


This summer my kids and I volunteered up at This Is The Place State Park.  We had a wonderful time and learned so many things about the past.  We volunteered several years ago when the kids were little and I was always so impressed by what you can learn by reliving the past.  My ancestors were pioneers and it really makes their lives become real in so many details.  It is a great way to teach my kids some gratitude too.  I wrote Plan to Visit a Living History Museum recently for Family Tree Magazine.  There are just so many things you can learn from a Living History Museum. 

I've been getting to know this stove. It is a cast iron stove that we've been demonstrating cooking with.  We have made rolls, and cookies and pies.  It has been good food and lots of learning.  But mostly it has been alot of appreciation for what the women before us went through to feed their families.  Besides the kitchen garden, besides cleaning and gutting the animals, besides making everything from scratch, using a stove like this is a big deal, a really big, time consuming, complicated deal. And that's after all the work of collecting and chopping the wood. 

The fire box on this stove was on the upper left and the oven was on the right.  You could feed wood into the side and into the front of the fire box.  Making the fire is really tricky, you have to be sure you are allowing enough air through so that the fire gets hot enough.  And different kinds of wood create different temperatures in the stove.  I suppose if I lived with it all the time, I would learn all of that but it was really tricky to get it to the right temperature this summer.  Once the oven is hot enough the burners on the left are your high heat, the burners in the middle are medium and the burners on the right are lower.  When you bake something in the oven, you have to turn it 1/2 way through so that it cooks evenly on both sides.  Dealing with this oven was like having another child.  It took several hours to heat it up to the right temperature, quite a long time to cook and then once the oven was cool, you needed to clean out all the ashes to make it ready for the next day.  It took two shifts of women all day just to produce a couple of items.  I can't imagine having to make three meals a day on it.  You wouldn't have time for anything else. 

One of the things I really learned to appreciate is that our ovens are insulated and cool to the touch on the outside.  Not so with this one.  It would have been quite a job to keep little kids away so that they don't burn themselves.  And then of course, it heats the house up really hot--which is great in the winter I'm sure, but really hard to handle in the summer.  It was soooo hot.  I don't know how the pioneers ever had cooked food in the summer but I do know why my ancestor's journals talk about the summer kitchen. 
It is a huge project to cook in this oven.   And then you have to do the dishes. I really missed the running water.  We had to bring in water from the back, make sure it was heated.  And then we had to wash and rinse every dish by hand.  It worked, but it took all day.  I'm sure it took every bit of energy every day to make the food for their families.  I have a whole new appreciation for women of the 19th century.  We all come from a strong lot. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Lectures

I've been teaching alot this year about what I found when I set about trying to figure out the best ways to engage your family with their family history and write my book.  Last week's lecture at the BYU genealogy conference went well and I'm the keynote this weekend at the UVTAGG meeting. Every time I teach it I learn new things and add more about what I've been experimenting with.

Zap The Grandma Gap
The 10 most important ideas to connect to your posterity by connecting them to their past. If they don't like family history you are doing it wrong. This class will take you from snoring and boring to exciting and inviting.

I'm excited this weekend to try out my new workshop too for the second hour of instruction.  This workshop was just accepted for RootsTech 2014 so I'm glad I get to try it out on UVTAGG first so they can help me work out the kinks.  

“Zap the Grandma Gap” Leave a Heritage Workshop 
How do you leave a heritage for your descendants? Based on the book and workbook Zap The Grandma Gap Power Up Workbook: The Particulars About How To Connect To Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History, (www.zapthegrandmagap.com) we’ll work together to brainstorm about what will work in your family. Power up with the group and let’s figure out together how to raise the next generation of grounded and inspired family historians. 

And I'm most proud of the fact that my 15 year old son submitted and was accepted to teach at RootsTech too.  He'll be teaching:

Get To Know Your Geezers.   (Apparently RootsTech does have a sense of humor.  He absolutely came up with that one himself.)
Get started in genealogy by visiting the top sites used by professional genealogists.  We’ll explore how to sign up and get started collecting your family history on the three biggest sites, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and MyHeritage.com.  Recommended for 18 and younger. 

I've been working this summer on several new lectures.  See the list below.  For a full list of all my current lectures see www.janethovorka.com.  I love speaking to genealogy groups--I always learn so much and make such great friends.  If I can come speak to your group, let me know at janet@familychartmasters.com

Turn Your Family History Into A Coloring Book Workshop--Computer Lab Workshop 
Bring 5 fun family stories, a five generation pedigree chart and a few family images and you can turn your family history into a coloring/workbook for you to share with the younger members of your family. Great for family reunions or for gifts, we'll help you easily tell the story of your family in a fun and engaging way. 

Mom and Pop Culture: Creating A Culture of Family History in Your Family And Your Home 
Teach your family about their family history in a painless way by just breathing it into the life around you. The next generation can learn about their past simply in the way that you live. Give them all the soul satisfying benefits of knowing where they came from and build strong family relationships with a strong family narrative. 

In-laws and Outlaws: The Bylaws of Teaching Youth About The Family Skeletons
Sharing your family history can strengthen your youth and give them scaffolding for the future but every family has a few sticking points. So it is all in the way you frame it. Here are some rules for making sure your family learns from the past and proceeds forward into the future in a healthy way. 

Trip the Tree Fantastic: Intriguing Family History Trips for the Whole Family 
How do you prepare, organize and execute a family history trip for your family members so that they will enjoy the ride? These are the people who should care, how do you get them there? 

The Cool Parts of Family History: Engaging My Teenagers. 
The adventures and pratfalls of how it went when I tried to engage my teenagers in family history. Come be inspired by what might work with your kids. Get prepared to reach the toughest crowd in your family. 

Post It Forward: Lessons To Learn From The Family History Records My Great-Grandfather Left. What happens over three generations to the family history records in a family? And what will happen to your records over the next three generations in your family? My Great-Grandfather did his best to preserve his records for coming generations but he couldn’t foresee the iPad and YouTube generation. Likewise you can’t see into the future but there are measures you can take now to help make sure your Great-Great-Great-Grandchildren can learn about their heritage. 

The Mother of Connection: How my mother turned her children into genealogists and how you can too. 
This class will cover tons of ideas for creating excitement in your family about the people who came before. We’ll discuss activities and give resources for involving all ages. We’ll also talk about how to surround yourself with various reminders of your heritage to encourage curiosity in the family, and give a sense of perspective. You can create a feeling of belonging in your family members by sharing with them where they come from.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I'm teaching a fantastic new genealogy course at SLCC

If you read this blog, you may or may not know that I have been teaching Genealogy and Library Science courses for several years in the Continuing Education Department of Salt Lake Communtity College.  I was recruited by Karen Clifford to teach the Genealogy technology course that she and Lorraine Bourne had already developed.  It is three college credit hours and is taught entirely online.  This was a great fit for me.  I had been Lead Reference Librarian at SLCC before having my children and while there, I was on a multi-university team that wrote the first online class in the state of Utah.  (dating myself there aren't I?). Teaching online and creating engaging curriculums is something I've loved since my years teaching at BYU, SLCC, and then at my children's charter schools.

As I became more busy over the last couple of years, I kept teaching this class, I enjoyed interacting with the students but I didn't have time to do the technical and content updates that I wanted to with the class.  When Karen Johnsson asked me to teach a library course last year, of course I jumped at the chance to use my library skills, but the wonderful Library course developed by Jen Hughes made me want to find the time even more to update the Genealogy course and make it something worthy of this discipline I love and a worthy opening course to the whole Genealogy program.  The program has continued to develop too, with fantastic courses designed to help you prepare for certification, and taught by a world-class faculty with Kelly Summers and Sharon DeBartolo Carmack joining Karen and Lorraine and I.

Finally, this summer, Kelly and I dove in and re-wrote Genealogy 1000 Computer and Internet tools for Genealogy.  It is a fantastic course and I am really proud of it.  Anyone can take it, even an experienced genealogist who just wants to brush up on their tech skills.  The course is really quite brilliant.. It takes you through the basic principles of genealogy research and let's you explore and practice on the new technology by having you start with yourself and completely document and analyze the first three generations in your family.  So a beginner can start here, but even most experienced genealogists haven't usually gone back and really well documented their parents' and grandparents' lives.  It gives you the excuse to go back and do that first part right while you are trying out the new technology.

And the reason I want to take it myself is because of the "Preserving the Past and Present" module.  We go through websites where you can post your family history findings, blogs and social networking, interviewing, scanning and publishing and then your assignment is to pick a project that you have wanted to do and spend six hours working on what is most important in your history. It really is a chance to just spend some time doing what you have been wanting to do.  My sons have been talking about taking the course and  I really think it is a good enough course to hold their attention.  There are lots of videos and it is well organized.  I am excited to see what they would pick for the Preservation project.

I really loved working with Kelly.  We completely saw what needed to be done with the class in the same way, and we brought different skills and experience to the course which made a great combination.  I really respect and love Kelly as a person, and I'm really proud of what we've accomplished here together.

So take a look.... And come join us.  Registration needs to be done by August 16th.  You can take it from wherever you are... for credit or as an audit.  I know you'll learn something and you'll have an excuse to work more on your own family history.