Wednesday, December 18th 2002

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I want to welcome you to this first 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.

I personally believe that living your life is only half of what we need to do while in this life...the other half is make a record of it.

For most people the living part is the fun part and making a record of it (via journaling, life story writing etc...) is the hard and not too exciting part.

Of course they couldn't be more wrong.

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
Free Download: Timeline Maker 1.0
Article: Organizing Your Child's Memories
Article: "What Your Children Will Want to Know"
Product Review: "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

Timeline Maker 1.0!

Free Download. For a limited time, Progeny Software is offering their great timeline creation software, Timeline Maker 1.0 for free.

I downloaded this software a few months ago and I was very impressed. It was simple to get started and create a timeline of my life and one for my parents.

If you've never had the chance to view your whole life on a detailed timline, then you should go download this program.

It is being offered free, so if this sounds interesting to you, please go get it before they begin charging again! Timeline Maker 1.0 Download Link

Organizing Your Childs Memories!
by Erin Read Ruddick

Four Quick Steps To Organizing Your Child's Memories By: Erin Read Ruddick

I'll be honest with you. At any given time, my hallway has at least three baskets of clean laundry waiting for sorting and folding. A visit to my office shows off my ability to pile instead of file. And I still haven't finished that honeymoon photo album I began in September of 1996.

It's tough to get and stay organized when you're a parent. Our different roles compete for time and attention. One of the most important roles is family record-keeper. But, without some organization, the precious memories and milestones of your children's first years may go the way of those missing single socks.

Are you thinking of finally tackling that pile of notes and pics that chronicles your child's life from pregnancy to preschool? In honor of National Get Organized Week (October 6 - 12, 2002; National Association of Professional Organizers), here is a four-step approach to start preserving your child's memories.

1. Decide what it's all going to look like when you're done. You could use a web-based service that lets you organize memories online, then publishes them in a book when you're ready. There also are fill-in-the-blank journals that might work for you, blank books, and scrapbooking. Your chosen approach doesn't have to be fancy but it should be easy. Just be sure to evaluate your options so that you're aware of the time, money, or special supplies (if any) required.

2. Go through the house and collect every bit info related to your child's first years. Empty the kitchen drawer where you've been throwing notes scrawled on scrap paper. Gather unsorted photos, random mementos, incomplete fill-in-the-blank baby books, and any calendars where you jotted events and appointments. Put them all in one big box and take the rest of the day off.

3. Group items together by theme (holidays, birthday, newborn pictures, etc.). Stack them in reverse chronological order, ie with the most recent information or photos on the top. (If you have more than one child, separate by child and then group. Put common/overlapping information in one pile.) If your children are older, they'll enjoy helping you with this part of the project. Take a trip down memory lane, congratulate yourself and take a break.

4. Now, start with the top of the stack and begin working your way back in time. Write down the things you've got in front of you, stories that you remember most readily and don't sweat the lost details. In other words, write down what you DO know!

As you go along, other stories will probably come to you. Take the same approach, writing down notes and fleshing them out later if you choose. If you jot down the basics about the "biggie" milestones you'll eventually get the most important information recorded.

Remember that it takes time to get organized, and being the family archivist is an ongoing project. Don't feel like you have to create an legacy in a weekend; give yourself time!

Every parent develops their own method to deal with the madness of their busy lives. With a little bit of organization, saving family memories can be as fun as making them.

Erin Read Ruddick is the co-founder of babEbook ( ), a custom-publishing service that lets parents organize the memories and milestones of their child's first years and create a totally personalized, hardcover book. Copyright 2002. All rights reserved.

What Your Children Will Want to Know! by Michael R. Boyter

Does your life story read like it was straight out of a best-selling novel?

Maybe, or maybe not, but regardless the life stories, knowledge and experience you pass down, through some form of recorded life story, will be invaluable to your children and grandchildren now and especially in the future.

From the day your children first stepped foot on that big yellow school bus to the day that they left home for college you were concerned that they were ready for "life" without you. You wanted to "be there" for them, didn't you? Your life experience could provide valuable advice and guidance to your children. From the time they were little, you coached and prepared them for much of what life would throw their way.

Even now, your adult children probably rely on you for sound advice on things ranging from marriage matters to child rearing.

As your children advance and mature through all the stages of their lives, they will have a natural deep yearning to know and compare their life situation to that of your life, while in the same approximate stage of life. "Am I doing things right"?

The ability to "compare notes" inspires confidence and can cause a calming effect in our children. This can be derived in knowing that their parents faced some of the same tough challenges early in their lives, thus giving them the strength and perseverance to do the same.

As just a young married couple, my wife Sheri and I struggled to make ends meet. There were occasions when all we had to eat in the kitchen was boiled noodles and nothing to put on them but catsup! Was this normal or was I failing as a provider? I feared the latter was the correct answer.

As far as I knew, my parents always had plenty and never struggled like we had. On one occasion, my mom mentioned that for a stretch of time, when I was only an infant, money was so tight that she and dad wondered how they were going to make it to the next paycheck.

This is only one example, of many, that I could give you.

Therein lies the power of journaling and preserving, at least, some semblance of a biography.

Most of us continue teaching our children, through example or otherwise, until the day we leave this life. But what then?


Your posterity will want to know some of the small, seemingly inconsequential, stories from you life; ones that are fun to tell. We all have stories like these. They are often stories steeped with insight and coincide with life lessons learned.

YOUR DATING STORY: How did you meet their mother/father. How did you know he/she was the one?

Do you ever feel down?

What motivated you and got you going again?

Did you ever have a boss that you couldn't stand? How did you handle the situation?

When grandma and grandpa passed on, how did you manage?

How did you deal with a person that just outright didn't like you?

If you've ever lost your job, describe your feelings and attitude.

How did you overcome?

Tell of the day-to-day pressures of providing/caring for your children.

Were you living on the "financial edge" when you were newly married? How did you get by. Were there any special measures that you had to take?


...Did you and dad/mom ever argue as newlyweds?

...How did you decide who to spend the holidays with each year?


... "Did I really cry this much as a baby?"

... If you ever got any sleep when they themselves were newborns.

... What were the events in and around their own birth?

... "How quickly did I learn to walk, talk and potty train?"


... "Will I ever make it to old age?"

... "Will my teenager make it to old age?"

... "Was I ever that unruly?"


...How the effects of aging played on your mind and body

...How you dealt with the loss of your parents. (This one may be too uncomfortable to talk about now, but writing down your feelings now for future reading by your children, will serve a very helpful purpose.)


...What becoming a grandparent for the first time was like for you.


...How you dealt with bad health situations.

...How you dealt with the loss of a spouse.

...How you felt in your role as the family patriarch/matriarch.

Don't leave your children unprepared for all that lies ahead of them once you depart this world. Write down or record to tape all that you know your children will want to know about your life someday, but won't think to ask until it's too late! CLICK HERE to Get Started Telling Your Life Story

font size="5" color="navy">Family Picture Calendar

[The Family Picture Calendar is a program that makes it easy for anyone to create customized professional looking wall calendars. Stored pictures of family and friends will automatically print on the calendar in the month their events occurs. Printed calendars make great annual gifts for all members of the family as well as for friends. With The Family Picture Calendar you can supply each member of your family with an organized daily reminder of birthdays and anniversaries helping to promote family ties and unity. Family history is also encouraged with the inclusion of events to honor family members no longer living.]

Windows 95,98,Me,2000 and XP.

I had the concept of a family calendar in my head for a long while. I looked for quite awhile, before finally finding Family Picture Calendar.

Creating a family calendar is great fun and a great trip back through memory lane. Brainstorm with other members of your family and come up with all the many family and individual highlights from over the years.

Next, dig deep for all of those old family photographs that you and the family hasn't seen for many years.

Sprinkle in dates and interesting facts from your genealogy records and you have the makings for a great family calendar designed to catalog and preserve your families history for the generations.

Another aspect of Family Picture Calendar is that you can go on making calendars, month after month, forever! As time goes on, continue to add new events to the calendar. Soon, nearly ever day of the calendar year will be filled with a family event that'll bring back cherished memories.

It's very convenient as well. Each month's calendar can be updated and quickly sent , via e-mail, to all the matter how far away they live.

What a way to keep in touch!

With a small time investment, one could have a pretty full family calendar done by the start of the New Year!

For more details, visit:

Family Picture Calendar

New Feature: Share a Memory Message Board

Please visit the new message board to share some of your most cherished childhood Christmas memories and read those of others. Invite a friend to tell a story from their life as well. Share a Childhood Christmas Memory

======================================== Gift Idea Center: Don't go to a family Christmas get-together without a copy of the Memorygrabber e-book.

Download a copy within a few minutes and take it with you to your family gathering. I guarantee it will help make it a family gathering to remember!

Thanks for reading this issue. 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 wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best Regards,

Michael Boyter

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