My Generations Project – Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor

The next step in My Generations Project as out lined by The Generations Project episode “Do Your Own Generations project”, is to populate my family tree. So I went to on the right hand side of the page is a link for “just getting started”. If you don’t have an account you can set one up there. Step one is to build your tree. Mine was already built so I went to the second step. Discover your fan chart. If you have an account for FamilySearch you can go straight to and login there. Then just select create and it will create a pdf file ready to save to your computer or send it to one of four printing options.   It was really slick and easy. Here is how mine turned out.

There are several free downloadable genealogy charts through One of the other options there is a cloud style tree. I picked the one that is just last names. Here is how mine came out.

As I explored I found a link on their about page to Misbach Enterprises. They have blank pedigree charts and some are free that you can download. One is a graphical family tree that looks interesting. A few weeks ago I found a bunch of blank free pedigree chart at I really like an 8 generation fan chart that I have used for my puppies pedigrees.

family_tree        fan_chart         eight_generation_family_charts_fan_triangles

There aren’t too many blanks spots on my mom’s side of the family. My dad’s side has a lot more holes. Maybe sometime I’ll work on filling in those holes but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I really like how compact and clear the fan charts are in organizing so much information.Have you used a fan chart?


My Generations Project – Mary Taylor

Mary Taylor

I’m in the middle of my first Generation Project. I am focusing on my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor.The first step of a Generation Project is to find your why. Here are the questions that the producers of The Generations Project have:

  • What do you spend a lot of time thinking about?
  • What do you hope will happen to you in the next year or two?
  • Tell us a story about a life changing experience.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life now?

As I’ve worked thought these question and pondered I’ve decided that the challenge I want/need the most help with now is with the Telling Family Tales web site. I really want this blog to be meaningful. I have a vision of it being a place where all or at least most of the resources that someone wanting to record and keep family stories can come to learn what they need to complete their project. This feels like an overwhelming tasks and I don’t know if I can do it. But I want to. I’ve wanted to do something to help others be more effective in telling their family stories for many years. Then a few months ago the idea of a gathering place of not just what I have done but others information too developed in my mind and that seemed to make so much sense.This idea will take a long time to really develop and I worry if I have what it takes to make it a reality. I’ve taken a few small steps, but for me starting is the easy part. I have much more trouble with staying on task and completing a project.

My great-great-grandmother survived through some really tough stuff and found ways to thrive. I want to find that same kind of strength in me. So there is my why. I’ll post about step two – populate your tree next week.

In the meantime as part of my upcoming Martin’s Cove experience I started sending out emails to those in my family who coming about important dates along Mary’s journey from England to Salt Lake City. I’m going to a series of short posts called 156 years ago today to go along with those emails. I hope you enjoy them.

What are your biggest challenges? Are you thinking about doing a Generations Project too?

Do Your Own Generations Project

Last week I talked about the BYUtv series called The Generations Project. Now I want to go into a little more depth in how to “Do your own Generations Project”. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, take time to watch it. It is worth your time.

Step One – Finding Your Why:

Think about what your biggest challenge is and what you would like to change in your life. Be willing to let this be a process. Your “why” might change as you journey through your generations project. Here are the questions that The Generations Projects asks those who want to appear on The Generations Project

  • What do you spend a lot of time thinking about?
  • What do you hope will happen to you in the next year or two?
  • Tell us a story about a life changing experience.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life now?

Step Two – Populate Your Tree:

Start close to home by checking with family members first to find information for your pedigree chart. The go to vital records to fill in the holes. This is the part where genealogist are experts. Think of it as a treasure hunt to find your ancestors.

Step Three – Mix It With History:

In this step you find the stories about your family member and then find out about the social history of the time. By doing this you really flesh out who that person was, they become real. One of the fun ways to mix it with history is to find a reenactment place. One that we went to several years ago was Plimoth Plantation. It is a working pilgrim village. For my generations project we are going to Martin’s Cove in Wyoming and doing a short handcart experience.

Step Four – Walk In Their Shoes:

Now you find a way to connect with your ancestor by doing something they did. It could be as extravagant as going to another country where they lived or as simple as eating the kinds of food that they ate. This step is about connecting with your family member.

Step Five – Share It & Watch It Ripple:

Last of all you want to share your experience with others. This often starts with writing down what happened to you on your generations project. Then it could be just sitting down and telling your family about what you learned and how you felt. It could be making a book, or painting a picture or writing a song. This is a very personal step and there is no wrong way to share your experience. After you share, you get to see how sharing your experience changes other people’s lives too.

My main purpose in doing this blog is to gather ways to share things like generations projects. I’m just getting started on this new focus for my blog so I’m still working through how to make this happen. If you have ways that you have shared a generations project I’d love to hear about it.

Martin’s Cove Journal – Finishing up

I’m really excited about how this came together. I was hoping it wouldn’t take too much time and I really tried to keep it simple. But at the same time I wanted it to have some personality, to help draw people into the experience at Martin’s Cove. When I did this cover with the only photo I’ve ever seen of Mary Taylor, I noticed how much she reminds me of my Grandmother. I don’t know why I haven’t seen the resemblance before.

credit page & find your why page - Martin's Cove Journal

This first spread is a place to give credit where I got my information and to give space for family members to journal about why they came to Martin’s Cove and what they hope to learn from the experience. My hope here is to help each person take the this opportunity to do their own generation project.

Our Family Tree - Martin's Cove Journal

This next spread is for the second step of a generations project – populate your tree. I filled in the basics of the information that is common for everyone who is coming to the reunion. They will each have to fill in the left side of the tree depending on who they are. This was a little tricky to figure out how to lay it out. I hope that it is clear on how each family member connects back to Mary Taylor.

content pages - Martin's Cove Journal

The rest of the pages up to the last page look like the page above. On the left had side there is a simple timeline of events along with excerpt from “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull; Mary Taylor, handcart Pioneer And Her Descendants”  by a distant cousin Kenneth L. Rasmussen. The right hand page of each spread is for journaling. At the bottom of the journaling pages is a date from history. The purpose of these pages are to help each person to “mix it with history” and “walk in their shoes” as suggested by The Generations Project.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

The last page of the book is the words to a favorite song of my great-great-grandmother, “The Handcart Song”. She sang this song not just while she was crossing the plans but all her life. I want to learn all the verses and help my family to learn it too.

I’ll do another post later in the week on the “how to” of putting this journal together and if I figure out how, I’ll have an InDesign template that you can download and adapt to your needs.

The Generations Project

Earlier this year I discovered “The Generations Project” on BYUtv. We don’t watch broadcast TV but I found it one day when I went the BYUtv website. They have all three seasons episodes available and I’ve now seen all of them. I love the concept of exploring your family history with a purpose in mind and the impact that makes on people’s lives. They even have an episode called “Do Your Own Generations Project” that helps in figuring out how to take the principles they use on the show and apply it to your own genealogy. I’ve decided to do my own generations project this summer and I’ll post about it along the way. Actually I think I’ll start tomorrow with a journal I’m working on as part of this generations project.

In each show they start with helping the person to find out why they want to learn about their ancestors, then they fill out their family tree, learn about the history of that time period and finally walk in that ancestors shoes. The last step is to share what you have learned with others and watch how it affects their lives. Most of the shows are about 30 minutes long so if you haven’t seen it, hop on over to BYUtv.

I’m sold on the concepts they teach in the show and dedicated to helping other share what they know about their families. What do you think about “The Generations Project”?