The Family History Help & Product Review Newsletter
Toy & Inspiration for Family Historians
to this issue of Family History Help &
Product Review Newsletter. I hope that it find you
in good health and spirits.
Our collective prayers and best wishes go out to those
of you who reside in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio and other
states that were hit by a terrible week of tornados. I hope your losses
I wish to especially welcome all of our newest subscribers. I am Michael Boyter, publisher of this
newsletter. Your input, feedback and suggestions are always welcome.
Send them to: email@example.com
I hope that everyone will read the feature article that
I wrote just last week, entitled "Flunking
Family History". I hope you'll share it with as
many people as possible.
I have another exciting issue for you,
... before you dig in -- please do your friends and
family a favor and forward them a copy of
this newsletter/e-mail or send them this link so they can
Submit Your Questions
Beginning with the next issue, I will be starting a
question and answer section in this newsletter. If your
question is used in an issue of this newsletter, you will be able to
select from among the 5 products offered on the www.familyhistoryproducts.com
Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions can be about anything loosely related to family
history, journals, lifestory writing etc.
In This Issue....
New Product: The
Journal w/ Memorygrabber Module: The Journal lets one combine
your writing with photos, short video and audio clips and more into a
highly organized journal, diary or life story project.
Tips & Tidbits: Slide
Shows; What are you going to do with all those pictures?
Life Story Writing Exercise:
Vehicles and Memories
cannot control the length of our life, but we can have something to say
about its width and depth."
Flunking Family History
Written by Michael R. Boyter
someone were to give your children a “test” that covers many of the
details of your life, and included questions about their own family’s
history, how do you think they’d do?
If your children are school-aged, no doubt, they
are inundated with tests of all kinds. When they fail those tests, or do
horribly on them, we are often quick to blame the school and the
After a number of years of living (studying) in the
same home with you, you’d figure that they’d know a lot about your
life, the lives of their grandparents and more.
In this scenario, the home is the school and we,
the parents, are the teachers. I
fear that, when it comes to communicating significant family history and
why they are significant, many of us may not be receiving as good of a
grade as we would hope for.
Believe me, it’s not that we don’t want to
teach our children about these things, but in today’s hectic
lifestyle, the traditional opportunities to share these stories and
memories may be fewer.
Hectic modern family schedules, especially when both parents
work, may curtail time spent talking around the family dinner table.
Full-blown family reunions and get togethers are less
frequent due to the distances we live from other family members.
Distractions, such as, non-stop cable television, computers,
video games and more reduce the actual time that we spend talking
with each other.
Increases in extracurricular school and community activities
absorb family time as well.
In past, years I’ve assisted individuals, ages
17-27, with background investigation paperwork.
For this, some family information was required on the
I would estimate that nine times out of ten, these
individuals would have to call someone to be reminded of their
parent’s birth dates and their grandparent’s full names.
It always made me wonder. What else didn’t they know about
their own family?
Here are some sample test questions.
How would your children do? How
would you do, if given the same questions about your parents and
Describe how, when and where your parents met?
What would your parents say were the 3 most
influential people and events they experienced during their
childhood? How were they influential?
What did your parents want to be, when they
What kind of students were your parents?
What would your parents, individually and
collectively, consider their best decisions made? Which have been
their most regrettable decisions?
Who is the oldest member of the family that
your parents (or grandparents) can remember, while growing up?
What is known of them by the family?
Well, how do you believe your children would have
done? How well could you
have answered those same questions about your parents?
No one has been given a guarantee that they’ll
live to be old and gray. It
really makes one stop and think, when confronted with this sobering
“If I didn’t live past tomorrow…”
“Have I conveyed everything about my life, that
I’ve intend to, to my children? If not, what am I waiting for?”
“Have I shared with them the hard-learned lessons
I’ve learned about life? Or am I just going to let them figure it all
out on their own?”
“Have I passed on all the great family stories
and memories that were told to me by my parents?”
“Will my children know, or will they someday
understand the happenings in my life that…”
…Cause me to think the way I do?
…Make me believe the way I do?
…Make me act the way I do?
…Cause me to celebrate the things that I do?
…Help me make the decisions that I do?
…Worry about things like I do…etc?
Then there are these questions...
- What have I taught my kids, so far, that will
impact them the rest of their lives?
- What have I NOT
taught them that will impact them the rest of their lives?
will they remember most about me?
One day, this test will actually be given to your
children. It will come, most
likely, from the sweet innocent voice of your grandchild or great
grandchild. They will have
questions about you. Questions
that will help them understand who they are and how they fit into the
Will your child have the right answers to give
them? Will they have an
answer at all?
Nothing beats an open book test.
When you keep a journal or create a record of your life, the test
your child faces someday, will indeed, and thankfully, be an open book
Won’t you get started today?
[You may use this
article in your online or offline publications, or Web site, as long as
you include the authors information (below)]
Written by Michael
R. Boyter of www.familyhistoryproducts.com
season of our lives holds a beauty all its own"
What's Michael up
are you going to do with all those pictures anyway?
I haven't said anything about this until now, but I've
been doing some experimenting!
In the months leading up to Christmas last year, I was
busy as I could be. I scanned over 1,200 family pictures that had
previously been collecting dust in boxes and in old photo albums.
What an job that was!. It felt great, though, getting them
all scanned and burned to disk. But I didn't stop there...
I then created a beautiful slide show that was not only
a great gift idea for the family, but also helped ensure that my family
photos were duplicated and sent to other members of the
This way, a fire,
flood or tornado will not destroy the only copy of your photos in
A Slide Show for your family
I created a slide show for my parents and brothers and
sister. The slide show included over 200 of the best pictures
we've taken of our children...many of them interacting with the rest of
the family, over the years. We don't live near the rest of
the family, so they were especially happy to get these photos.
I then added some very appropriate music; entered some
text for many of the photos and then put the show on disk.
The thrilling part was that many of the pictures that I included, had never been seen by the rest of the family. We had
taken many of the pictures, and then waited so long to get them
developed, that we just looked at them once and put them away.
Slide shows are a great way to use many of those old
pictures that haven't seen the light of day for years.
A Slide Show for your Spouse
Then, for Valentine's Day I gathered up all of the
pictures of my wife and I from our dating years, to include the years
before our oldest was born. Those were great years!
I believe this would make a great gift to give as part
of an anniversary gift, as well.
She loved it and I loved putting
it together for her. I had a lot of fun.
Here's a quick sample of what's possible. I've not
included text with this brief show, to keep the file size down. This
sample show is of the kids.
Slide Show (950K) Plays in Windows Media Player
In the next issue of this newsletter, I'll go into more
detail about putting together a slide show. I'll also have
some recommendations for slide show software.
New Products at FamilyHistoryProducts.com
The Journal: Electronic
Software For the
Serious Journal and Life Story Writer
the last issue, I announced the release of The
Journal. It's considered, by many, the best journaling software
It was even featured by Personal Journaling Magazine.
It's programmer and creator, David Michael, and I have worked
together to make The
Journal even better by including my e-book, Memorygrabber, within
the journaling program itself.
This now gives one the ability to answer the hundreds
upon hundred of questions in Memorygrabber
right into the journaling program (on screen). Easily include all your favorite
family pictures, files and more. You can even record short audio clips
and include them into your journal or life story project.
Sometimes, writing about our life can get a bit complicated, to varying degrees.
The Journal, along with Memorygrabber, keeps you highly organized in
Here are the key advantages to using The Memorygrabber
version of The Journal over a paper journal...
Type right onto the screen
Create instant backup copies
Unlimited pages to tell about your life
No more worries about messy hand-writing or misspelled
Keep it ultra-organized with unlimited folders,
sub-folders, sub-entries etc.
Find old entries with quick-search features -- no
more flipping through the pages to find an entry
Load it on your laptop and do your work no matter
where you are
Add short video and audio clips
Print in "book" form right from your
...and much more!
My partner, David Michael, sells
The Journal and Memorygrabber for $49.95 from his site.
If you want to get the Journal, don't get it there, though.
is available for $31.96
through this link only. If you need more information to
make a decision, be sure to visit The Journal page on my Web site or
contact me directly at email@example.com
. . From the site, you'll be able to download it and try it free for 45 days.
use this software almost every day and I know you'll find it very, very
helpful to you.
let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something
stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we
might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."
-- Earl Nightingale
Life Story Writing
List creating is a powerful, yet easy way to keep a
journal, write about your life or whatever you wish to call it.
In this writing exercise, I'm asking you to write a
list using the following prompt:
List every vehicle that
you have ever owned. Include vehicles your parents owned, as you were
What memories come to mind as you think back on
these vehicles? The memories are what is most important here. Write
those stories down.
For Example: One vehicle that
I remember from childhood is my parent's 1977 Chevy Nova.
These are remembrances that I have
of that car.
Mom and dad bought it new, it was
yellow and it was ugly.
Shortly after it was purchased,
the whole family set out on a vacation that would cover 22 states. We
went from Oregon to Kentucky and back again.
The transmission went out about
an hour from Flagstaff Arizona. I remember spending a day and a
night in a small little hotel room with my mom and brothers and
It was hot and I hated staying
there. Then once the small garage told us that couldn't help us, we
"limped" in to Flagstaff. Somehow the automatic
transmission would still work in first or second gear.
It took forever to get to
Flagstaff, as I remember. We had to drive so slow to get
There you go.
For every car I can remember and
have owned, there is, at least, one story to tell. Vacations,
breakdowns and other memories abound. Have fun with
If you have an interesting car
memory, and would like to share it in the next issue of this
newsletter, submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember this is a family
newsletter, so let's keep that car memory rated G. ;)
Tools & Toys for
the Family Historian
There is more than one way to preserve your family
history/stories. At FamilyHistoryProducts.com, I am continually adding
new "tools and toys" to help you get the job done. My
objective is to make the information gathering process easier, quicker
and way more enjoyable!
Considered, by many, to be the best journal writing
software available anywhere. Combine your typed text, family
pictures, sound to a highly organized way to gather together your
personal and family memories. Try it F*ree for 45 days! Memorygrabber is built-in to this newest version!.
- An unrivaled fill-in-the-answer life story workbook and life story
interview "script". Nearly 900 memory prompts, lists,
activities and web resources. Trial Download
Video DVD Cookbook -
Turn those dusty family video tapes into a brilliant family DVD library.
Picture Calendar - Get rid of those generic calendars on
your wall and replace it with your "official" family calendar.
Distribute to family via e-mail. Trial Download
They'll Need to Know - Record and preserve vital information
your family will need to know, when you aren't there to give it to them.
that's all for this issue of the newsletter. Please submit comments,
feedback and suggestion to email@example.com
Until next time, keep preserving those memories,
because it's work that needs to be done, it's enjoyable and above all
else, it's worth it!
I wish you and your family the best.
Michael R. Boyter,
remember to forward this e-mail to anyone you know that values the
family and the memories they create.