Thursday, January 2, 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.

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.

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: "All They'll Need to Know"
Article: "Personal and Family Year in Review"
Article: "Family History Activities for 2003"
Activity: "Your Writing Assignment"
> NEW!

Quote of the Day --

"It's Better to do something imperfectly than do nothing flawlessly".

I think this quote has particular meaning to us as family historians.


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

All They'll Need to Know!
by Joyce Pierce

"All They'll Need to Know" will help your loved ones to make decisions according to your wishes if you are not there to advise them.

This 32 page e-book contains forms for providing vital statistics, professional and military records, funeral instructions, names of those to notify, as well as financial information regarding checking and savings accounts, location and contents of safe deposit box, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds and mutual funds, savings plans, retirement programs, trust accounts, real estate, loans payable and receivable, insurance, and even information on your automobiles and credit cards.

One book is designed to accommodate personal information for a couple, so only one is needed per household.

If you're not the one who handles these matters in your home, it is important for you to have this information completed now so you will have all the answers when you need them. If you are the one who handles them, can you think of a better way to let your family know you care about them than to guide them step-by-step through the process of managing these important decisions?

Typical concerns of family members surviving the loss of a loved one, but questions often asked too late are:

How will we get enough cash to live on until the estate is settled?

Are there insurance policies and bank accounts I don't know about? What should we do about the funeral and burial?

"All They'll Need to Know" provides the forms to help you discuss and settle these issues . . . before it's too late.

"All They'll Need to Know" will open doors for your family to discuss matters that are all too often considered private and personal.

It's a great opportunity to share your love with your family as you instruct them on the things that are important to you.

Once you look through the book, you'll see how the forms simplify the process of recording this valuable information.

To have more detailed information emailed to you or someone else, click here and send a blank email. It will be delivered to the mailbox you designate. Don't forget parents and other family members!

Don't leave your loved ones them now.

[My Review and Notes: This is a very impressive compilation of forms and information that will save a lot of time and grief later on. The forms are simple to fill-in. As I worked through the forms, I kept thinking to myself that I never would have thought of creating a record of such information... imformation that will be so valueable to my children.

"All They'll Need to Know", just like it's title, takes you beyond nice to know information and constructs a volume of "need to know" information that will help you organize your life and will give your family the information they'll need in the event you aren't there!

You may want to put this on your goal sheet for 2003!]

CLICK HERE to get your copy of the e-book for a special price only for subscribers of this newsletter.

Personal and Family Year in Review!
by Michael R. Boyter

As is tradition, the end of one year and the beginning of another prompts us to review the year past.

Keeping family memories and stories alive is very important to aid in the cohesiveness of family and to instill a nurturing sense of belonging for your children. Plus, it can be a very rewarding experience to look back to see where we were and how we’ve grown over the past year.

It is far better to keep a daily, weekly or monthly journal throughout the year, but often times, we don’t keep up with one, so follow these easy steps and reminders to help you do your personal and family year in review.

Get Ready to Begin.

Start by breaking down the year into parts, such as: months, seasons or major milestones.


Health: If this category doesn’t jog a memory, then it is probably a good thing.

Occupation: Write about changes and highlights in your career. Tell about awards won, promotions received or interesting happenings around the office or on the job.

History: Write about “This time a year ago…”

Those who Passed On: Write about those who passed away this year. Include family, friends and, if there was a well-known individual that also passed, tell about it.

Travel and Moves: Where did you travel to this year? Who did you travel to see? Who in the family moved closer or farther away? Why did they or you move this year?

List your major purchases throughout the year. What prompted their purchase?

Children: Don’t forget your children. What were some of the milestones in their lives this past year?

Places to look to assist you in remembering the past year: Look for scribbled-in writing on your wall calendar and don’t forget to look at bank statements and checkbook ledgers to help jog your day to day happenings.

Time keeps marching on and the years blur together as it does. Even if it is a slight struggle, put in the effort and time to make a record of your family’s past year’s events. Time is no friend to the procrastinating historian!


A copy of Memorygrabber can help you remember family events in 2002 and every year with nearly 900 memory prompts and ideas.

CLICK HERE to Get Memorygrabber

Family History Activities
for 2003

by Dale Lee

Family History has become the number one
Hobby in the United States..Why is this so?

Because it touches so many areas of our
lives we might want to remember.

How can you get involved in Family History?
Well, there are actually many different
activities you can become involved with,
spanning all but the youngest age groups.

The following is a sample listing. Remember,
Family History is not just about old, dead
ancestors, it is also about documenting the
thoughts, feelings and activities of your
life for future generations.

- Keep a diary.
- Keep a family photo album (scrapbooking).
- Create a Family Organization.
- Have Family Reunions.
- Publish an Annual Family Newsletter.
- Collect Family Histories from the extended
Family and publish in a bound Family History volume.
- Create a Personal Family Crest.
- Create a Personal Family Flag.
- Read your ancestor's journals to your children.
- Collect antiques from your ancestors or relatives.
- Video tape your Parent's life stories before they pass on.
- Play a family remembrance game:
Every member of the Family must relate a story or anecdote
before continuing to the next member in a circle. The member
with the best story wins.

- Tell the kids something about their early lives they may not
remember. If they don't remember, they are "it" and have to
relate something they think another member of the family
doesn't remember.

- Have family members tell a story about themselves that
really happened, but put it in a very different setting,
such as on the moon or in Midevil times.
- Visit the cemetery an ancestor was buried in and make a
charcoal sketch of the gravestone.
- Write to distant relatives and ask them what they know about
the family. - Hold a Family History Fun Night with fun activities for all
ages, labeled for a genealogical theme.
- Visit websites that offer advice for beginning genealogists,
such as
- Solve Family History puzzles, such as those found at
- Use Family History search engines, such as
- Collect information on your ancestors into a Pedigree Chart.
- Collect information on the descendants of a common Ancestor
into a Descendant Chart.
- Keep in touch with the extended family through e-mails and
chat rooms.
- Put together a Website of Family History items and digitized
pictures. - Put together a virtual Website of Family History items on a
CD and give a copy to each member of the family.
- Hire a professional genealogist.
- Join a Family History Mailing list for people interested
in research in a specific geographical area of the world.
- Join a Genealogical Society.

- Become a certified genealogist.
- Collect letters of importance to a relationship.
- Earn the Family History merit badge (for those in scouts).
- Visit a Family History Library and ask for a tour.
- Study the history of an area in the world your ancestor
lived in. It will help to answer why he or she did what
they did during their lives. For example, many people
migrated to the United States in groups and settled in
the same cities as the other members of the group.
- Use internet portals to search for your ancestor. Family
Organizations post their genealogy on the internet in hopes
that others having done research will see what they have
and contribute to their knowledge. For example, by using a
search engine from one of the portals such as Yahoo or
Dogpile, I found that there are five different major lines
in the US having my last name. Of these, I believe all can
be found on a Family organization's website.

- Let others know you are interested in Family History. Other
members of the extended family which are not interested may
give you information and old books of interest because they
know you'll take care of them, while others may not.
- Visit your State library and/or county recorders office.
Records such as birth, death, marriage, wills, deeds,
business partnerships and etc. can offer glimpses of
information you might not find elsewhere. For example a
birth certificate may contain the names of the parents and
their birth States.

Hopefully this sample list of Family History activities has
perked your interest. Family History can be fun as well as

Copyright (c) 2002


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

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 10 things, or more, which you plan to do/accomplish before your life is over".

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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