Sunday, January 26, 2003

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Welcome to this edition of "Family History Help & Product Review". I am hoping that you will enjoy what you read and find it helpful in your individual family history projects.

In this issue we continue to bring you ways to have fun and be effective in preserving your family memories.

This issue highlights a new e-book entitled "The Home Video DVD Cookbook". It'll show you how to create a family video DVD library that you'll be proud of and that your family will love you for!

Also, in this issue, you'll find tips and ideas for long-distant grandparents. With the world the way it is now days, these tips are very useful.

Our subscription numbers are growing rapidly. I want to welcome all of the latest subscribers. I hope you enjoy it the newsletter.

The sole reason for this newsletter is to make preserving your lifestory, and that of other family members, fun and exciting through the use of all that there is out there in the way of software, books and web resouces.

Whoever said family history had to be boring?

If you have feedback to share with the whole group or something just for me, I hope you'll send it to me. Send it to:

Inside This Issue

Free Download: Family History Jumpstart e-Book
Product Review: "The Home Video DVD Cookbook"
Article: "Ideas for the Long-Distance Grandparent"
Article: "Connections -- Connection with our own Identity"
Activity: "Writing Assignment"
> NEW!

Quote of the Day --

"We do not remember our days...we remember our moments".


Family History Product Store:
Tools to make family history preservation easier on you!
Memorygrabber - A 150 page downloadable life story workbook with over 800 ways to spark your distant memories. It's fill in the blank format and self-interviewing style, makes preserving a life story a much less daunting task.

Family Picture Calendar - Create a Family Calendar! Enter events and family photos once and produce beautiful calendars for years to come.

Family Picture Calendar

Free Download! To show my appreciation, for subscribing to this newsletter, I am providing a download link to my e-book "Family History Jumpstart".

It is a collection of inspirational family history articles written top family history writers. You'll find all the inspiration, motivation and instruction you'll need to keep on going!

Click Here to Download Jumpstart


Product Review:

The Home Video DVD Cookbook

Learn How to Turn Your Old Family Videos into A Biography Channel-Like Family Video DVD Library

The Home Video DVD Cookbook - 70 Pages; (Available via Download Only for PC computers) by Pat Motola 

As you probably know, I believe that pedigree charts and plain old paper journals are fine, but I love to go beyond those types of items to preserve genealogy and family memories.

My latest find that I am happy to tell you about is The Home Video DVD Cookbook written by Pat Motola. of Austin Texas. 

CLICK HERE to Instantly Download 6 Free Chapters from The Home Video DVD Cookbook. (Sorry, for PC only)

Thanks to Pat's e-book, I'm well on my way to editing and converting all of my old dust-collecting home videos into a  brilliantly formatted family video DVD library, and I believe you should also.  

To catalog all of those years of video into a compact and impressive set of DVDs will be a family gift that will never be topped or forgotten.  

I've wanted to do something like this for a long time, but the big hold up was that I simply had no idea how to do it, and to make matters worse, I didn't know anyone else who did either...until I found Pat's brand new e-book. 

The DVD Cookbook breaks the process into ten easy steps that, if followed, make it possible for anyone, you and I included, to put all of those slowly deteriorating video tapes onto DVD, where video from past family events will be easily found and played with the quick click of a button. It can all be done from the DVD menu screens you create.  No more fast forwarding and rewinding of tape for you and I.

When you purchase the DVD Cookbook you are given exclusive access to a members only Web page that includes updates, tools and more for you to use in your DVD project...and yes, Pat returns all of his e-mails...providing any technical assistance that one might need. How could anyone go wrong with an expert "over their shoulder"?    

Follow Pat's 10 step method, which is spelled out in 70 very full pages, and it won't be long before you are popping that DVD into your DVD player to the utter amazement of your friends and family. You will come off looking like a pro and be lauded for your efforts by your whole family.

Here are some reasons to learn to create your own home video DVD library:

  • DVDs last a very long tapes lose their quality by the year.   

  • The equipment to create your own DVDs is very affordable now!

  • If you paid someone to do the job for you, 1) it would lack the personal touch and 2) you'd have to pay in the $2,000 range or higher.  I'm serious. Who has that kind of money?

  • You'll watch and enjoy your family videos more because they will be very organized on menu screens that can be accessed by the mere click of a button. CLICK...your wedding day;'s first steps; CLICK... Thanksgiving at grandma's, etc...

  • It's much easier than you think...don't let fear stop you!

  • You've never had someone ready to show you all the steps and equipment you'll need before...but now you do!

  • With practice, your DVDs can resemble something off of the Biography Channel or from Hollywood.

  • You'll be able to combine video, still photos, music of your choice, narration, words and text together for a spectacular show your family will watch over and over! You can even have rolling credits at the end and add that THX or Dolby Sound trailer that you see when you see a movie at the movie theatre, to the beginning of your movie.  The DVD Cookbook shows you where to get them.

  • You'll be able to create theme based DVDs, such as those for weddings, anniversaries, memorials, tributes, yearbooks and family histories and more!

  • Creating multiple copies as gifts will be the perfect way to prevent the loss of your pictures and videos due to fires, floods or other disasters. Losing family videos is terrible.

As you can see, I'm pretty excited about the possibilities. If we don't take the time to learn this valuable skill, who will and what will happen to our priceless family videos if they continue to collect dust in a boxe?

Please, take the time to download and read six free chapters from the DVD Cookbook by CLICKING HERE:


Ideas for the Long-Distance Grandparent   

Written by Michael Boyter

Traditionally multiple generations lived in close proximity to each other, but given the economics of the day and the higher mobility of the senior population, many find themselves living great distances from children and grandchildren. 

This typically causes a breakdown in the passing on of family stories and traditions. Grandchildren know less about you and you them. 

This calls for a little extra thought on our part.

I've put together some ideas to strengthen the relationship between grandchildren and long distant grandparents. 

Share what you have and know about family

In my middle teens, my grandparents began including
copies of old family journals, stories and what pictures 
they had of my great grandparents and others, along with
my other Christmas gifts. These things fascinated me and
I distinctly remember Christmas afternoons sitting and
reading these things, while the rest of my Christmas gifts
lay relatively untouched. 

Sharing these kinds of things now, rather than later, is just
plain smart. Don't wait to give it to them "someday", because
a lot can happen between now and someday. A fire or flood
could destroy it all and all that was passed down to you would
go no further.

As a very young child, I can remember looking into a box of
old black and white pictures at my maternal grandmothers house.
To this day, neither I or my mother know what happened to this
box. Imagine if my grandma would have just made more copies
and had written even a little bit about some of those pictures.

The lack of copies and distribution of family history documents
ensures that few lines of your posterity will carry this
valued family treasure forward...the others will soon lose
memory of it all in a few generations. 

Use Memory Prompt Books - Fuel Your Memories

Use memory prompt/activity books, such as Memorygrabber. With books such as this, you'll never run out of things to talk about or write about. Books, such as Memorygrabber have activities do do, lists to create and memory prompting questions to answer...making it a very simple and enjoyable process.

Instant message 

Save them as a text file. These are the next best thing to a phone call.

Record your calls with grandchildren

I'm not a legal expert and there are, I'm sure, people in this 
world who will tell you that it is illegal to do this, but I think
we are a fool not to record at least one conversation that
we have with a young grandchild. Imagine the joy, for
both of you someday, to listen back to a conversation 
between you and them, as a four or five year old, telling
you what was important in their life at that time! 

I know that I had many conversations with my grandparents
by phone and I wish that I had just one call on tape. That
would be very special now. Burning these to a CD will 
give it a long-lasting existence. 

Somewhat of an example of this happened recently. My mother-
in-law passed away in 1991. We had to travel from Wyoming
to get to the funeral in Oregon. My wife and I had just
arrived and were sitting alone in her parents living room.

The phone rang and the answering machine picked up before 
either of us had the chance. The pre-recorded answering machine
voice was that of my mother-in-law. She had the sweetest of voices.

This caused my wife think and she took the cassettes out the machine. 

Of all of the things that my wife eventually received of
her mother's possessions, I think it telling that the first 
thing that she wanted was the two cassette tapes out of that
answering machine.

I'm sure it was by accident, but we found that there
was a whole conversation that her mother had with a friend 
recorded on that tape. Those old answering
machines had a knack for staying on like that. 

I was going through a box of pictures just before Christmas,
and came across and played that tape again. It was the first time
in nearly eleven years that my wife had heard the voice of
her mother. It was a Very special moment. I am in the
process of digitizing this tape so that we'll have it forever.

Memories through the E-mail

On a somewhat regular schedule, make it a point to e-mail
your grandchildren with a memory from your past. Depending 
on how many grandchildren you have, you may want to send them individually or send one mass e-mail to all of them. Tell them about your life when you were their age. When one of them is set to start first grade, regress yourself back to that time.
Tell them what you remember about your first memories of 
school and what the world was like at that time. 

Be sure to keep a copy of each of these e-mails and archive them for later re-distribution. Your grandchildren are sure to love
these e-mails, but e-mails are sometimes easily lost. Eventually
burning a copy of all those e-mail correspondences to a CD
will be a great gift to a graduating senior or a now young adult

Share a Book from Your Childhood

Go to the bookstore and order one of your favorite children's books from your childhood. Videotape yourself reading that book and send it with a written note telling why that was special to you. Don't forget to describe your life at that point in your

Don't let the miles between you and your grandchildren inhibit your connection with them any more than it has to.  In the end, they will always love and appreciate you even more for the extra effort that you invested in them.

Inspiration to Live By

"Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation.

Go find somebody's hand and squeeze it,

while there's still time" - Dale Dauten

A Thought to Ponder...


By Dale Lee

Family History is the way we connect with our own identity.

We may think we're smart because we had an education and have performed admirably in our professions, but who gave us the opportunity to do so?

A large part of what we were or are able to accomplish in this life has nothing to do with us, it has to do with our parents and where they lived and what they accomplished. AND a large part of what our parents accomplished was due to their parents and where they lived, the opportunities they had and what they accomplished and were taught. AND a large part of what our grandparents... well you get the idea.

Our identity, who we are and what we can accomplish in this life
is largely due to those who have gone before us. Even the great
accomplishments of the space age, were built on the efforts of
scientists and mathematicians born many hundreds of years before our time.

If we fail to search out and understand the history and motivations of our own kindred, we fail in large part to understand ourselves.

Copyright © 2002, Dale Lee
About The Author:
Dale Lee is a computer consultant who has been involved in
Genealogy for over 12 years. For information on how to publish
your own Family History or book manuscript, visit

In Memorium

It was a huge shock to so many fans to hear of the untimely death of Maurice Gibb of the internationally famous Bee Gees.

 I never met Maurice Gibb, but I always wanted to. I feel somewhat cheated for never having the chance.

He and his brothers Robin and Barry have penned nearly 1000 songs that many of us grew up with and associate with great memories of the past.

It is hard to see him go, but let us take this time to reflect back over our lives.  We have no guarantee to live to until we are "old" (whatever old is) and gray.  We need to make our mark on the world and live and love our friends and family like today is our last.

Maurice was 53 and is survived by his wife and two children.


NEW! Family Historian Activity:
Reading how to do something is one thing, actually getting started is quite another.

With this in mind, The Family History Help and Product Review Newsletter will include a writing assignment/activity in each issue!

The writing assignment comes right out of my lifestory workbook Memorygrabber.
Here's how it will work.

I've set up a "classroom" (message board) exclusively for this purpose. You'll find the link below.

I'd like to ask each of you to answer or write about the life story topic on the message board. It can be done anonymously, if you wish -- just put in a fake name. You can be as brief or lengthy as you wish in your message board entry.

This will help each of us in several ways:

1. It will get us in a habit of regular writing.

2. You'll be able to see that you're writing is just about as good as anyone elses. Help you get over the fear of writing.

3. What others write will sometimes spark your memory as well.

4. If writing about your life is one of your goals for 2003, this will help keep you going and on track.

Once you type your entry on the message board, be sure to print it and put it in your life story folder at home. See, you're off to a great start already!

Here is the first topic:

"List times in your life that you'd like to return to, if even for just a short while. These may be to make changes or simply because you loved that particular time in your life very much".

So there you have it! Click the link below to go to the special "Share a memory message board" and complete your assignment.

Your Writing Assignment The message board is also available here:


Thanks for being a subscriber to this newsletter. Please remember to forward it to those on your e-mail mailing list.

On a personal note, my family and I wish you and your family a Happy and prosperous New Year!

Until the next issue....

Best Regards,

Michael Boyter

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