Feb 082017
 
Rootstech 2017 logo

RootsTech 2017 is finally here: February 8 – 11, 2017

RootsTech hasn’t officially started yet, but already, excitement is in the air. Twelve thousand people will descend on the Salt Lake Palace for RootsTech by Thursday, according to FamilySearch’s Shipley Munson. They’ll come from 43 countries and 49 states. (Currently, there are no registrations from Nebraska. Go figure.)  By Saturday, aka Family Discovery Day, the conference will max out at 30,000 attendees. Wow.

Wednesday’s Innovator Summit showcases not only innovation, but exhibits FamilySearch’s dedication to fostering innovation for the family history sector. Jen Allen, the RootsTech event manager, says that RootsTech 2017 has seen more innovators, as well as younger innovators–something that organizers take  pride in. Continue reading »

Feb 022017
 
Divided households picture of torn photo of house

Does your family story include issues which divided households?

Throughout time, people have disagreed with the people they love. Issues of childrearing, money, faith, culture, religious practices and politics have, on occasion, divided households and hardened hearts. You might immediately think of the present political environment, but this isn’t the first time in history that issues have created emotional schisms among family members and friends

Sometimes, if the animosity has been put to rest, it’s best to leave the story alone like the proverbial sleeping dog. There’s nothing to be gained from revisiting and possibly re-igniting tensions. Continue reading »

Jan 172017
 

Who do you think you are logo The popular TV show Who Do You Think You Are? provides some valuable storytelling insight that we can apply to the narratives of our ancestors.  Despite the professional genealogists, unlimited travel budget and celebrities, the show also has some practical storytelling wisdom for memory and family history writers. Continue reading »

Jan 062017
 
Momentum for the new year

Gathering momentum for the new year uphill ride

How do you gather momentum for the new year in the bleak mid-winter?

Remember riding your bike when you were young? Starting out downhill, pedaling like mad to gather speed and momentum for the hill ahead? You don’t have to dust your bike off (though if you’re able, it’s a great idea) to approach the new year with passion. There are other ways to store up emotional energy and keep a healthy cadence rather than a half-hearted slog during the coming months.

Try the following in addition to the tried-and-true procrastination busters. Continue reading »

Dec 192016
 

Taking a step back from stories Many times, taking a step back from stories allows us to truly understand them. Until we separate ourselves from events, we see them only through our own eyes. We know what happened, but we don’t know what it really means. We don’t realize all the implications.

Taking a step back can also help us see how our stories connect to each other and how they continue to influence our lives. Continue reading »

Dec 012016
 
Genealogy resources for Memoirists

Genealogy resources for memorists help bring history to life

If you didn’t read Do Memoir and Research Belong Together? you might wonder why’d I compile a list of genealogy resources for memoirists and memory writers. Before you yell, “BAHHHH Research” and run (or click) away, stay with me. This list of genealogy resources for memoirists will help you incorporate historical details that bring your memories to life. The facts you gleam make a great way to “show, not tell” the settings of your stories, increasing your readers’ understanding of your past.

Continue reading »

Nov 172016
 
Research and memoir

Whether it’s online or in the library stacks, research and memoir belong together.

Do research and memoir belong together? Counter intuitive as it sounds, the answer is yes.  Though it is true that memoir involves writing about the episodes of your past that already exist in your memory, research can enhance your story.  Adding researched details from the past can bring your story alive for your readers.

Working with family historians writing their ancestor’s stories brings this home. They not only provide the meticulously researched (and cited) facts for readers. When they write about their ancestors, they often include a rich background of historical and social context.  They don’t do this to fill in the gaps between facts. They use their research to help their readers visualize the events of the past. Continue reading »

Nov 072016
 
Win a free RootsTech Pass and see scenes like these.

A free RootsTech pass can help you experience RootsTech Feb. 8 – 11, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Update: This contest is now closed.  The lucky winner is Kim S. 

Want to attend RootsTech 2017? RootsTech has some promotional pricing, but here’s the best deal: Win a Free RootsTech Pass right here.

Full disclosure: It’s not on my dime. All RootsTech Ambassadors get one 4-day pass ($299 value) to give away to one of their followers. We also get a complimentary pass for ourselves, but,  like whoever wins this free RootsTech Pass, we pay for our own travel and hotel accommodations.

The pass includes keynote and general sessions, over 200 classes, including Getting Started classes, the Innovator Summit, and evening cultural events.

If you’re not familiar with RootsTech, here’s the skinny: Continue reading »

Oct 292016
 
First Lines of Ancestor stories

Photo Credit Wikipedia Commons

It’s hard to know where to start writing your ancestor stories. Sometimes it helps to look at potential stories  from different perspective.  Instead of looking at the plethora of facts and deciding what to write, look at the following first lines for story ideas.

Which relative or ancestor do they remind you of?  What stories could you tell about them? Choose a few prompts and try writing a vignette or two.  If you were born before 1950, many of these will also work for your own memories. Continue reading »

Oct 122016
 
My Great-great grandfather

My great-great grandfather VanBuren Field Clark

I can only think of my great-great grandfather, VanBuren Field Clark, the way my grandmother described him. Longish dark blonde hair blowing in the wind, an irregular gait and blazing blue eyes. A vibrant, brave man with a gentle heart.

I wish I could go back in time and get to know him better. I say “better,” because I feel like I know him a little already, since my grandmother wrote stories about him. Continue reading »