Choosing the Right Family Tree Template for a School Project

This week a guest post from Suzie Kolber of obituarieshelp.org

Whether you are a teacher designing a project for your students or a parent helping your child with a class project, tracing family history can be a challenge. It is an educational project that can provide a student with a lot of fun and information, but it can be difficult to find and organize everything. A family tree template can be an invaluable resource if you choose the right one.

Consider the Age
Young children are visual learners, so a template that is colorful and simple is best. Using an actual tree with branches and including only the names and dates of birth may be the ideal choice. Allow space for photos to make it easier to keep track of everyone.

Older kids can handle more information at one time, so you may leave out the photos and include more dates and data. It should still be visually pleasing for easy reference. Consider using colored boxes or a colored background if allowed to make it more interesting. Framed charts add style without interfering with the information. A bonus is the fact that it would look nice enough to be hung up once the project is finished.

Consider Family Situations
Teachers will want to consider the fact that not every family is alike if they choose the template to be used for the family tree. Some kids only know the background and family on one side. Select a family tree template that allows more freedom for various situations.

An example is a pedigree or landscape family chart that only includes the information for one side of the family. The child can choose which parent to focus on and others with only one parent in their lives will not feel different from the others in the class.

A child can also trace the history of a grandparent if he or she lives with them. By using a four or five generation chart, the child will have to do some research but will not have to struggle to find the information as much as with larger templates.

Consider How It Will Be Displayed
When selecting a family tree template for a class project, consider giving kids more than one choice. If these templates will be displayed together in a group, they will be more visually appealing if they do not look the same.
Because they are all different, no single template will stand out. It also allows the child to select the template for the individual family situation. If less information is known about one side or if the child is adopted, the template can be chosen to convey the appropriate information without leaving a lot of blank spaces.

When selecting a template for a class project on family trees, be sensitive to the feelings of the child. This is a very personal project that tells his or her story. Just as the stories will be different, the family trees will not look alike.

Suzie Kolber

Suzie Kolber created

http://obituarieshelp.org/free_printable_blank_family_tree.html to be the complete online resource for “do it yourself” genealogy projects.  The site offers the largest offering of family tree templates online. The site is a not for profit website dedicated to offering free resources for those that are trying to trace their family history.

Send to Kindle

Don’t Ignore Ancestor’s Death Certificates

 

Thorne graves in Dartmouth, DevonMany of us are keen to get on and fill out our family trees with generation after generation of ancestors. We can be in such a rush, to see how far back we can get with a direct line, that we so often ignore the siblings and others in the extended family.

We probably all know that there is a better way to understand our forebears lives. We really should try to include as many others in the family tree as our direct line ancestor usually didn’t live in isolation. They may have had any number of brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, all of whom can help us ascertain who is the correct individual when we hit that problem of two John Smiths born in the same year in the same parish!

One way that we may come up against other family members is when they appear as informants to the registrar on the death of one of our ancestors.

Sometimes we may see names that we don’t recognise in the column, perhaps they are the married daughter whose surname now gives us a clue as to whom she married. Or we find our direct line ancestor’s address, as I did when he reported the death of his father to the registrar and the address he gave was different from the address listed in the census six years earlier. I could now see where he had moved to between the decennial census.

 

I know that we seem to be more naturally drawn to the births and marriages of people, but don’t ignore the deaths. When we are dealing with the period after 1837, in England and Wales and the GRO civil registration, it is so easy to make a decision not to order a death certificate based on the cost. But this can mean you’ll miss something. A death certificate can give us clues and more about our departed ancestor that we will not pick up elsewhere.

When I started out on this hobby I was told by a professional genealogist that I really must “kill off my ancestors!” I was unconvinced, but in the years since I have seen how correct this advice has been.

 

This week I bought a new family history book, written by Celia Heritage, to go in my library.

I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading it for the great information that it provides. Tracing Your Ancestors through Death Records  has showed me how to find, read and interpreted death records and also how to garner as much information as possible from them. In many cases, she argues, they can be used as a starting point for developing your family history research into other equally rewarding areas.

Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Ancestors-through-Death-Records/p/3710/?aid=1101

 

After reading chapter 1, I was then able to get a snap shot into my past family’s life from the deaths of my 3x great-grandparents and all from taking another look at their death certificates.

 

The husband died in 1866 in Charles Street, Dartmouth and his son reported the death having been “present at the death” meaning that he was in the house. The son (my 2x great-grandfather) gave his address as “Church Path, Dartmouth”.

When the wife and mother died in 1868, she died in the son’s house, in Church Path, but the informant, “present at the death”, was a lady whose address was in the street that the older couple had formally lived. I was able to go back to the census and see that they had been neighbours. Perhaps they were very close, who can tell?

So I am assuming that the son took his mother into his own house, from this. But that a friend, from around the corner, was looking after my 3x great-grandmother when she passed away and it was she who informed the registrar of the death. Now this paints a bit more of a picture, don’t you think?

 

 Disclosure: Links to the book in this post are compensated affiliate links that may mean I get rewarded by the publisher should you buy the book.

Send to Kindle

Love to Learn

love to learn onlineI’ve been road testing a family history course aimed at beginners this week from Love to Learn. It focuses on informal learning for people beginning to research their family trees and is extremely accessible for active seniors and adult learners with a computer.

The courses are designed for those who enjoy discovering new interests and acquiring knowledge – people who, as the name implies, love to learn.

I liked the video introductions and the multiple choice review at the end of each module.

Love to Learn is the UK’s first dedicated website that offers a wide range of online courses for adults who want to keep learning, in an informal way, in their own time, at their own pace.

How can it help you?

Two of its most popular courses help to trace your ancestors and build up a visual record of their old photographs. These are:

Scanning and Editing your Old photos and

Family History.

This beginners’ online course helps you start exploring a fascinating field that, as most of you have probably already found, soon becomes a passion. It enables you to research your family history using internet resources including census, military and parish records.

Most people can trace their family back several generations, and some of us can even go back hundreds of years. However far you go, if you are just starting out, or know someone in this category, then this may be the perfect way to start discovering family’s stories.

The course is run in partnership with the experts from Imperial War Museums and Ancestry.co.uk and is led by history author and former teacher, John Child, its video tutor, and draws on his John’s own experiences of researching his ancestors. Mel Donnelly of Imperial War Museums has researched family and military history for 20 years. She helps you find out about people who fought in the British Army.

As you learn you’ll create your personal album for your family’s enjoyment and fascination. The course costs £38.00 and provides eight to ten hours on online learning. For more information, please go to http://www.lovetolearn.co.uk/family-history

 Disclosure: I was supplied with a complimentary copy of this course to review by the publishers, but with no conditions attached.

 

 

If you would like more tips on researching your English or Welsh Family History then why not sign up for my tips and a special FREE report using the box below…

 

 

 

Send to Kindle

Recording Your Oral Family History Before It Is Too Late!

As I walked around the exhibition hall at Olympia, taking in all the different stands for family history societies and suppliers, I came across four different companies at Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE offering to record your loved ones as they recall their oral family history, or recount different tales passed down to them from relatives that  no longer are with us.

 

The first one I came across was that of SpeakingLives. This company records people’s life stories and memories and offers to beautifully present these personalised recordings of loved ones so that the client and their friends and family can enjoy them for generations to come. The recording is made available on audio CD and MP3.

I was attracted to the variety of memorabilia on their table, items that I assume could have been used to spark off memories in the subjects.

SpeakingLives

SpeakingLives

SpeakingLives prices start from £195, but they sometimes have special offers to take advantage of.

Gift vouchers are also available.

 

Next I found My Viography who specialised in professionally filmed “viographies” (video biographies) and family history documentaries. From what I gathered by talking to them on the stand they use the latest high-definition video and professional film-making techniques with a professional presenter.

They can use your family photographs, video clips, mementos and favourite music in your viography or family history documentary to really bring your story and personality to life. Also on offer is to scan in your old photographs and convert older film and video footage in a range of formats (Mini DV, Video 8, VHS, Betamax, Super 8 or 16mm film) to help you tell your story.

My Viography

My Viography.

My Viography’s price for a video starts at £594, but this can be made in three payments of £198. They also have other packages that offer extras to the basic at higher price points in the thousands and an audio only one at £495.

 

Then there was  Splendid Reflections whose owner offered a life interview consultancy. Which she explains is your opportunity, from the comfort of your own home, to reminisce, reflect and record your life story and memoirs for the enjoyment of your children and grandchildren for years to come. The result would be made available to you on DVD in a mini-documentary style combining any of your own videos or photographs.

Splendid Reflections

Splendid Reflections

I was very taken by the empty chair and recording equipment on the next stand together with large professional microphone on the next stand that I found in this market.

Life Stories say that they can help you create a unique recording of your story; a carefully constructed audio autobiography to leave for family, friends, or simply for posterity.

They can also help you store it securely for future generations to access, enjoy and even expand; a digital family vault of recorded memories saved for ever.

Life Stories package was £600 that would include preparatory conversations with you and/or your family about what you want to cover.  Planning the conversation and discussing how best to retrieve and organise memories before recording. Lengthy recording over the course of one day and several days editing and production to produce the finished product. Longer recordings could be done at a slightly higher cost.

 

Life Stories

Life Stories

These companies are providing an interesting service that adds a professional polish to the job of recording the family’s oral history and as all good family historians know, our family’s oral history stories are of very great importance to us. Though we should always remember to check the facts with primary sources before we add them to our family trees!

That said, how great will it be for your children’s children to be able to look back, in years to come, and hear or see their relatives talking?

Send to Kindle

Would you like some free credits at Find My Past?

Start Your Family Tree Week is back from  26 Dec 2012 – 1 Jan 2013 with special offers on accessing some search sites!

Hope you had a lovely Christmas day yesterday. At this time of year, when we are visiting or calling family, that we can often make a break through in our family tree research by simply talking to our relatives.

But now some of the family tree research websites are also making it easier for some of us to participate with special Christmas holiday offers. For example Find My Past has 50 free credits available to use for a short time.

Due to the past success of the Start Your Family Tree Week it is back for its third year.  From today, the 26th December to the 1st January, Genes Reunited and findmypast.co.uk will be helping members start their family trees with special offers, free getting started guides, discounts and competitions for the chance to win fantastic prizes!

Genes Reunited has some great prizes on offer during the week, competitions will be posted on the message boards and Facebook page.  To see the Genes Reunited getting started guides, visit www.genesreunited.co.uk/static.page/syftw

Findmypast.co.uk will be offering 50 free credits to get involved with the fun and to start searching records, coupled with quiz questions, guides and templates that make getting started as simple as can be! Experts are by no means left out in the cold either, with more advanced questions alongside beginners’ tasks and a “brick wall challenge day” will be held on Facebook and Twitter on the 31st December! The entire week’s calendar of activities can be found at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/start-your-family-tree-week/index

 

And here is another little present for you!The British Newspaper Archive online

For a limited time there is an offer of an exclusive 10% off the 12 Month Package to the British Newspaper Archive!

You will need to use this link to the British Newspaper Archive.
And then use the voucher code: fHmTenYtR (to be entered at the point of checkout, stage 1)

You then get:
o A 12 Month package
o Validity: 26 Dec 2012 – 31 Jan 2013
o Available in the UK Only

What do customers get with a 12 Month Package to the British Newspaper Archive?

o Unlimited credits / page views
o Access to all digitised newspaper pages dating back 300+ years
o Access to ‘My Research’ – a personal area to keep track of searches, add notes and bookmark viewed items into folders

 

So happy holidays and good luck with your research!



British Newspaper Archive


ancestor, ancestry, family tree, family history, r

Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by the companies should you sign up for their subscriptions.

Send to Kindle