Family History Games for Kids

image from Stacey of The Thrifty Chick blog

I found this great post today via FamilySearch on Geni about fun DIY games to teach kids about their family history. I love these ideas!

Pop on over to Amanda’s post and get all the details. We had a genealogy game growing up. Not sure I can remember the name of it. I bet my mom still has it. You had to build a family pedigree from clues on the cards. I played that game over and over. I’ll have to check on it. I just can’t come up with the name of it now.

Do you created any family history type games that your family enjoys playing?


Respect of the Aged Day

I got this off Facebook today and thought it was a wonderful thing, so I decided to share it here.
Today is Respect of the Aged Day in Japan. It was established as a national holiday in 1966 to recognize and thank the elders in the community for their contributions and celebrate their lives. What do you do to recognize your older family members or neighbors?



RootsTech 2014 – registration now open

Registration is now open for RootsTech 2014, which will be held February 6­-8, 2014 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This annual family history conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is a unique global event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. Over the past three years, RootsTech has grown in popularity with attendees to become the largest family history event in the United States!

Whether attendees are just beginning their family history, an avid hobbyist, or an experienced researcher, RootsTech has something for everyone:

  • Classes and Computer Labs —Over 200 classes and computer labs taught by knowledgeable experts and enthusiasts in family history.
  • Getting Started Track —A track of over 30 classes designed to help beginners start their family tree. Passes start at only $19.
  • Developer Day —A preconference event on Wednesday, February 5, for developers to innovate and collaborate with other engineers and family history industry experts.
  • Expo Hall —A huge expo with over 100 informative vendors and interactive booths where attendees can record a family story, scan a book or photo, or create a visual family tree.
  • Family Discovery Day —New! A day of free inspirational classes for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn more about strengthening family relationships across generations through family history.

Pass Pricing and Discounts

Various pass options are available, with pricing set to make RootsTech an affordable experience. Early Bird pricing discounts for a Full Access Pass ($159) and a Getting Started Pass ($39) are available until January 6, 2014.

An additional $20 discount is available for a limited time. Attendees can get a Full Access Pass for just $139 simply by using the promotional code RT14EXCLSV before September 9, 2013.

To get more information and register, visit


Family Reunions in the Digital Age

from FamilySearch newsletterI found this information in the FamilySearch User Newsletter for June 2013, but it is also on their blog in this post by Matt Wright. He has some great ideas for family reunions using modern technology to its best advantage.

When my ancestors took this family reunion photo in 1932, they didn’t have our generation in mind as much as they did what was for lunch, where little Melvin had disappeared to, and what time they might need to leave to get home. But, I’m so glad they took the time—this snapshot has turned into a valuable piece of my family story.

When you get together for your yearly family reunion this summer, what will you do to make sure future generations have access to important family memories? FamilySearch Photos and Stories provides tools to help you capture, preserve, and share your family memories for today and generations to come.

Read on for some general reunion photo ideas as well as tips for using Photos and Stories to add some flair to your reunion. If you haven’t had a chance to use Photos and Stories, you should try it out. We recently added an automated search that will find photos of your ancestors [VIDEO]. Simply click the blue button on the Photos page to log in and see what photos others have added.

General Ideas

There are certain photo-related activities that could or should happen at any family gathering. Here are some ideas.

  • Take a group photo—Kind of a no-brainer, but so important to capture the people at the event for future generations.
  • Photo slideshow—Set up a laptop or television with a looping slideshow of favorite family photos, from as many people as you can get to contribute. Make sure the photos are uploaded to so that family members can see the photos when they get home.
  • Photo name tags—get head shots from each attendee (or from the ancestor they descend from for larger events) and place the photos on name tags with their name to make sure everyone remembers names!

Photos and Stories

Many family reunions or get-togethers are held in buildings or other locations with Wi-Fi. Some family members can bring an Internet Hot Spot. Whatever the case may be, if you have it available, take advantage of the access to make some serious progress in documenting your family story on FamilySearch.

  • Identify photos—Work with individuals or groups to identify the people in photos that have already been uploaded. My family reunion picture above is a great example—I don’t know everyone in the photo, but working together we can likely fill in many of the blanks.
  • Give time to explore—Have a few laptops available for family members to explore the Family Tree fan chart, photos, and stories at their own pace. They can add stories to photos and may even help tag previously unknown people in photos they see.
  • Take time to record—A hand held digital audio recorder or video recorder can capture individuals telling stories and sharing memories that can be preserved and cherished by those to come.

Gather and Digitize

Even if you don’t have access to the Internet you can still grow your family’s Photos and Story collection and experience the magic of ancestral photos.

  • Assign a Photo Chairperson—As part of your reunion planning, assign someone to manage the gathering and display of family photos. This person can organize an effort to have family members bring photographs to the reunion to be digitized or copied so you can upload them to FamilySearch.
  • Set up a scanning station—This is easily done with a laptop and portable scanner. Once scanned, you have a copy to upload to FamilySearch. This can get people motivated and trained to add more photos when they return home. Get the word out as far ahead of the event as possible and provide reminders so that people remember to bring their photos.
  • Show a family presentation—This can happen quite naturally during an already scheduled family meeting. Even without Internet, you can present a slide show with screen captures of what family information is already available on FamilySearch.
  • Set up a photo identification table—Print out photos of unidentified people on inexpensive paper print and have a table full of family photos for older relatives to annotate who is in each photo. Transfer the information to FamilySearch to be preserved.
  • Reunion web page—Create a family reunion page in FamilySearch Photos and Stories and share it through email or social media.

However you approach photo sharing at your reunion you’ll be glad you did. The photos and stories of our ancestors can help create a connection that bridges generations.

Thanks Matt for this inspiring ideas. Are you having a family reunion this year?



Last day of RootsTech

Wow! What a conference. This morning’s keynote speaker was David Pogue. He was awesome. They don’t have the videos up yet for today but I’m sure they will be up soon. He was great! My classes today were:

  • Creative and Fun Ways to Cherish Your Family History
  • 365 Days of Story Prompts
  • Beyond Home Movies: YouTube Genealogy
  • Digital Storytelling: More Than Bullet Points Lab

I think my favorite class today was the one YouTube. But all of them had some great information. Digital Storytelling was my least favorite. It was about using Power Point to make a video and I learned some stuff because I’ve never used Power Point. Overall I liked my three hands on classes the least. I think because everyone moves at such a different pace on the computers and so the class has to move at the pace of the slowest person. It felt like I was exposed to the least amount of info in my hands on classes.

Overall it was a great conference and I’m looking forward attending RootsTech next year, on February 6 through the 8th. I can’t wait to start digesting this stuff and applying the things I learned.


RootsTech Day Two

Lots more great stuff at RootsTech today. You can catch the presentations on the main stage at I must make time to at least see the beginning of the keynote speakers this morning. We got there late and missed the first part. The classes I took today were:

  • Social Media Part 1
  • Social Media Part 2
  • Digital Photo and Document Organization: Understanding Metadata Lab
  • Do Your eBook right: Self Publishing Secrets for the Family Historian

I learned good stuff from all of them but I think my favorites today were the social media classes. I’ve not joined any of the social media things yet but I can’t put it off too much longer and I learned more about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ today which well help me make more informed decisions about where to put my energy when I’m ready to make the plunge. It is tough to choose classes. There are so many great options. Just one more day of RootsTech.

RootsTech: Day 1

Open day of RootsTech is over! At least for me. There was an evening activity at The Leonardo followed by a concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir about the music of Irving Berlin. But I didn’t buy a ticket to The Leonardo and I was too tired to wait around for the concert but I sure it was wonderful.

After the keynote speakers I went to the welcome for the Story@Home part of the conference. I went to the first Story@Home conference last year so I’m excited that they are now part of RootsTech. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on the story telling aspect of family history which I love. I wanted to go to “The Future of Genealogy” panel but since it was being streamed I decided I could always watch it later.

All of the presentations that were streamed live today are not available to watch on I’m looking forward to watching all the videos over the next few weeks. After lunch I went to three more classes.

  • Simple HTML/CSS for Weebly
  • The Cool Parts of Genealogy: Engaging My Teenagers Case Study
  • Content Planning for Genealogy Bloggers: How to Stay Organized and Never Be Without Post Ideas Again

The last class was my favorite of the day. Implementing what I learned there should help make this blogger better. I’m exhausted now and looking forward to good night sleep and all the learning opportunities that tomorrow will bring.

If you can jump over to and pick one of the videos from today to watch. If you like a good storyteller, I’d try “Tell it Again” by Kim Weitkamp. She is very entertaining as well as informative.



Tomorrow is RootsTech!

I’m so excited for tomorrow (except having to get up way earlier than I normally do). For the most part I think I’m ready. I’ve made arrangements for a puppy sitter for Dune. She is not ready to be at work all day with Bill and way to young to handle an event like RootsTech. Zodiac will go with me. It will be a great socializing opportunity for him. I’ve gone through the classes and narrowed down my options. Some sessions it wasn’t hard to pick a couple but other hours I had trouble and only got down to seven options. I’m signed up for one hands-on workshop each day so that will be cool. I’ve got clothes picked out to wear so that is covered. I still need to coordinate with my friend, who is going to RootsTech too. Her very dear aunt died on Sunday afternoon and the funeral is today. So her life is in an upheaval. But we will get that worked out. I wish I could figure out how to pick up my registration materials tonight instead of in the morning. But I can’t justify the time it would take to make the trip downtown just for that. I should probably download the RootsTech mobile app to my phone. I’m still new to the smart phone thing and it would be good for me to learn a new way to use my phone. I don’t have a data plan on it so depending on how well the WiFi functions might decide how useful it is.

In a perfect world I’ll get posts written every night about RootsTech. But I might just be way too tired to get anything posted. So don’t hold your breath. I know I’m going to learn lots of great things in the next three days. I’ll try to pass on as much as I can here.

Two Days to RootsTech

One of the keynote speakers at RootsTech is Jyl Pattee of Mom it Forward. She put together a book called “Family History – 40 Ideas for Capturing your Family’s Story”. You can download the eBook for free on her website. It has lots of great ideas. I can’t wait to try some of them. Jyl says that “preserving your family’s life story doesn’t have to be a daunting or overwhelming task. The project can be as easy as capturing simple yet meaningful moments every day.” And I agree!