Listening Skills and Conversations: Keys to Collecting Stories

When I joined Toastmasters to improve my public speaking, their emphasis on listening skills surprised me. It shouldn’t have. Listening, as opposed to simply hearing, is the key to effective communications. Good listening skills facilitate meaningful conversations. The two of them together are indispensable when it comes to collecting stories. Listening Skills help You Understand Stories Simple conversations can bring an understanding of Read More

On Memory Factories and Legacy Makers

If we're lucky, our brains still function as memory factories. When the need arises, we’re able to fill the orders to remember that story, that person, and with a little prompting, that name. But we’re factories that work more on whim than process. We’re undisciplined when it comes to preserving and sharing our memories and stories. That thought came to me Read More

Writing Memorials and Tributes

Whether they’re sitting across the kitchen table from us or have been “late” for decades, writing memorials and tributes about loved ones can be hard. It’s easier to tell stories than try to encapsulate everything we feel about a person in a single essay or speech. Pulling together memorials and tributes has been on my mind the last couple of weeks Read More

Which Storytelling Hat are You Wearing?

In storytelling as in life, we find ourselves wearing a variety of hats. The professional. The parent. The expert. The questioner. Some situations call for only one hat. Other times, we wear a combination. Which storytelling hat we don as we tell our own and family stories impacts how we’ll narrate the episodes of the past. You don't have to choose Read More

Am I really 37% Irish? Comparing Ethnicity Estimates of 3 DNA-Testing Companies

Discovering my Ethnicity via autosomal DNA testing Taking myself and my sister as a pseudo case-study, I thought it might be interesting to compare the ethnicity estimates obtained through autosomal DNA testing at three different companies.  Note: This is not a detailed comparison of all the DNA-companies and all the features they offer.  Rather, I’ll only compare the origin or ethnicity Read More

Why Family Stories Matter

Most of us believe that family stories matter, but we’re hard put to explain why. Here’s what I came up with. Family is more than the DNA in our cells, more than our biological relatedness. Family is a story in itself—a tale of where we came from. It includes what roads we traveled, what obstacles we faced, and who kept us Read More

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Blogging for Family History Blogging for Family History: How To Launch a Blog and Make it Successful guides family historians as they identify their blogging goals, determine which website-building platform best fits their needs, configure a site, and create engaging content that connects with readers. Read more...

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