Thursday, May 16, 2013

9 Fun Ways to Participate in Family History

1. Interview family members and share stories online
Preserving living memory and connecting with family members are important aspects of family history. Using a digital recorder, smartphone app, or camera allows you not only to preserve stories but also to share them online.

2. Take and share photos
Taking photos of living relatives, heirlooms, and so forth, can provide powerful experiences for future generations.

3. Print and share a chart
A fun way to share what you are learning about your family is through an easy-to-understand fan chart. Make your chart online and share it with family, or help someone else create their own chart.

4. Record what you learn on,, Genealogy Forums...etc.
As you begin learning more about your ancestors, add their information to the Family Tree on and share it with family members. 

5. Index records for online searching

Indexing helps others who are searching for their family by making the world's records searchable online. Millions of records are indexed worldwide each year. Learn about participating in indexing.

6. Start a personal or family blog
Keeping a personal or family blog can be a fun way to record important life experiences for future posterity and also share them with living family and friends. Many online blogging services are free and easy to use. 

7. Make use of social media

Take advantage of the sharing tools on, to share photos, images of important documents, or other updates with your family through social media.

8. Create a digital scrapbook
Creating a digital scrapbook can be easier than making traditional scrapbooks. It can take less time, requires no materials, allows you to undo mistakes, and makes sharing easy.

9. Scan your family history books
Many families have printed volumes of family history. Preserve that history and make it available to others by scanning those books and sharing them as PDFs or uploading them to, (, blog, facebook.... etc.)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writing my Gramma's Eulogy

Her sister and my gram
How To Write A Eulogy---some times you become part of the family history in the making

Sunday January 20, 2013 at 10:51pm my Gramma Witt, (Bessie Marie Kersten Witt) passed away. 

About a year ago my mom asked me to write gram's eulogy.

I remember Stephen R. Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People saying that each person should sit down and close their eyes and image their funeral and who would be there and than write their own eulogy---boy do I wish gram had done this and had given it to me, than this task would be a great easier.

I've been thinking for a long time about how to write grams eulogy, not quite knowing what to do or say. So in 2012 I created a blog full of memories that I had of her--to celebrate her life. This is the blog Gramma Witt Blog. Still not quite sure what to write, I turned to old Aunt Netty (what my husband calls the internet) to ask her what she knew about eulogies

I found a great website that systematically listed the steps of writing one
1. Collect information from others
2. Gather your memories
3. Organize your information
4. Write the eulogy
5. Rehearse your speech
6. Deliver your eulogy 

Seems nice and easy, doesn't it? Well for me I wouldn't need to do step 5 nor 6 because I live in Southern Alberta with my husband and as of right now, I am still considered a visitor and as such I am not guaranteed admittance back into the country if I leave. So to play it safe, I haven't left Canada since we've moved here.  Truth be told, besides not being able to leave with an guarantee of getting back in to live with my sweetheart, we don't really have the money. 

So someone else will be delivering the eulogy for me.

So I liked what I read about the nice easy steps, but I needed a little more suggestions about specifically writing one for gram and the web site just so happened had that too---more like an outline
1. Introduction--welcoming and thanking family, friends and visitors for coming to the event and tell them who you are
2. Share personal memories
3. What were some of grams favorite things
4. How she influenced my life--lessons I learned from her
5. Expressing how much you, her family and friends will miss her---include a favorite poem, hymn...etc
6. Talk about how she will continue to live in every ones memories

After my gram passed on I volunteered to call some of the close friends and family to tell them the viewing, funeral, and burial schedule. I just wanted to feel like I was a part of some thing, so I didn't feel as helpless as I was. The interesting part of doing this task was that it was healing to speak to her friends. 

When I called each one of them, they shared with me some kind of memory of my gram that endeared her to them. Some of the memories were funny and some others were just informative and interesting.


Steps to Preserving Your Family History with a Digital Family Scrapbook

Solve your photo problem! 
Taking photos has never been easier. But what do we do with all of our digital images? And who gets to see them? At Heritage Makers, we help people preserve, share and celebrate their photos with easy-to-use online software called "Studio." With Studio, you can rescue the photos on your computer and create amazing projects that your friends and family will love and that you will be proud to share. Whether you choose to publish a professionally bound book, a personalized greeting card or a gorgeous, wrapped canvas print; you will love creating photo keepsakes with Heritage Makers.

1. Find all your family pictures--other family members may have some too

If you have some one in your family that will only allow you to look at their family pictures but wouldn't them leave their home, bring your Flip Pal ("Portable Affordable Scanner") to their home and scan the pictures/documents

2. Choose the best pictures that tell the story of your family---not just pictures of scenery or half head shoots

3. Put your pictures in order

4. Scan your photos/documents to your computer--this is where owning a Flip Pal really comes in handy

5. Go to Heritage Makers create a free account and choose from their easy to use templates or create your own on their site

Search the amazing collection of ready-to-use templates by keyword, project type, or general category. Or, start from scratch and create a masterpiece of your own! 

6. Upload your photos/documents to Heritage Makers, free account, place your photos on the templates

Add your photos and text. 

Enjoy unlimited customization! Place your photos wherever you like, personalize the text and add your choice of embellishments from our extensive digital library.

Press 'Publish.' When you've got your project just the way you want it, press the publish button and sit back and wait for happiness to be delivered to your door

7. Smile when your finished product comes directly to your door and when your family members open the Digital Family Scrapbook and say "did you really make that yourself"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two-step solutions

We found this great tip about family history on this link, written by Paul Graham, professional genealogist, titled “Goal: Trace an African-American family line back to the 19th century”

“Step 1: Gather family information. Start by asking family who your 20th-century ancestors were. Talking about family photos is a good way to jog relatives’ memories. Remember that more distant relatives may have knowledge that your immediate family has lost, so get in touch with aunts, uncles, and older cousins. Collect family documents that might provide additional information, like marriage certificates and funeral programs. If your family moved out of the South to the North or West, look through all records for clues pointing to the town or county they came from.

Step 2: Locate the family in census records. Use the information you gather about older relatives to locate them in census records. Start in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census and use new details you discover in that document to trace the family back through each census to 1870, noting new details each time to help you with your next search. Censuses indicate relationships to a head of household, providing names and details about each person living at a particular residence. Be aware of two potential problems: first, the 1890 census for almost all of the United States was destroyed, creating a 20-year gap between 1880 and 1900 that creates challenges for many researchers (but we have a solution for that, so read on); and second, the 1870 census is often the earliest census record that lists formerly enslaved African Americans by name. Prior to 1870, only free African Americans were listed by name on the census.”


Monday, February 4, 2013

The Letter H -- Family History Through The Alphabet

The Letter H

H can be for Haka, Happy, Home, Honorable, Humble, Healing, Hungry…

I was blessed to be raised in a Happy Home we were taught to Humbly live a life Hungry to be Honorable – – an environment that was soothing and Healing as one faced the dangers and heartache of growing up.

Today I would like to dedicate letter H to Henry Hixon Hamon, my grandfather. Grandpa Hamon was born – – 1900, in – – New Zealand. Henry Hixon was the great-grandson of Tunewha (toon-ee-fa) one of the great Maori chiefs during the Maori Wars with the British over misappropriated lands.

He was a man of great faith and I have to believe that the spiritual giant my father is has a lot to do with his father and their forefathers and mothers.

Henry Hixon and Edithe Violet had 12 children survive. A cousin in Australia told me that my grandparents had a way of nurturing their children such, that every one of them were convinced that they were their parents favorite.

I was about 12 years old and we were living in Calgary Alberta, Canada. All my life I'd heard about my grandpa Henry Hixon Hamon– and what a great man he was.

I had met him in New Zealand when I was about two years old and had no recollection of him or grandma who passed away in 1970 when I was 10.

Again, around the time I was 12 I got an insatiable hunger to meet my grandfather --but it looked like I might never have that opportunity in this life. I couldn't shake the feeling and took to praying about it--every night for three years I prayed that I would get to meet him.

Then when I was 15 years old we got the news that the family in New Zealand was sending grandpa over to spend a month with us. To this day reflecting on that experience warms me all over.

I had a nice transistor radio I really enjoyed and I gave it to grandpa to remember me by. About six years later my sister got to spend a year in New Zealand. She would tell me how grandpa loved that little radio and listened to it all the time. Grandpa Hamon died in 1987 in New Zealand– – but he walks with me still.

Family members in the photo--thank you Sarah Chapman for providing this beuatiful picture
Michelle Chapman, Kirsty Chapman, Bruce Chapman, Josh Chapman-Bradshaw, Brylee Chapman-Ramsay, Grace, and Sarah Chapman

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Family History Fun

Family History isn't always serious as noted in the following comics

Luke has a sister!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Letter G---Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge

The Letter G
G is a cute letter. It's fun to write, as well as to think about all the Great words that begin with G  ---Giraffe, Goat, Goose, Grape, Grand, Graffiti, Gradual, Giant, Graduate, Good, Gorgeous, Goofy...etc

For today's blog the Letter G is for Gramma Witt--I used to lament that my gram wasn't like other grams. She didn't stay home and bake cookies and pinch cheeks, she was always on the move being adventuresome and visiting with friends and family.

My Gramma Witt was a strong women, independent and smart. 

During the war (WWII) and for sometime afterwards, gram worked in the engineering department at the Bell Aircraft Factory in the Town of Niagara, New York.

She actually went to college and did something with math studies. This was quite an accomplishment for a women during that time in the USA.

 My gram, Bessie Marie Kersten, was born 29 September 1923 Tonawanda, Erie, New York, to parents Nellie Elizabeth Bailey and Fritz Franz Kersten. 

She was married to my grampa, Dewey Henry Witt, September 1947. I was excited to find a 1947 newspaper article with their engagement announcement in it. 

Even though she was married she still had a job. My mom told me that at one time, gram worked at the local restaurant, making pies. 

Hmmm this may be one of the reasons she always had plenty of pies for the holidays; in fact she would try to know all of the guests favorite pies, and then make sure every pie was available for the holiday meal.

---I remember one year where there were more pies than there were entrees.

Years before I was born Gram and Grampa got a divorce. When Gram got the divorce she changed her name to Marie Kersten Witt.

I have created a blog just about my Gramma Witt.

Kelly Hamon


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Letter F---Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge

F letter- faith, family friends.png
The Letter F

When I think of The letter F I think of the words faith, family and friends as well as fun.

Every family member past, present and future has had some type of impact on me. 

I am made up of little parts of every member of my family tree, the sum of the parts is more than the whole. I am the culmination of every generation of my family.

Family has a lot to do with faith---faith in a higher being, faith in values, faith in people/society, and faith in oneself. 

As you contemplate your past, present and future family, ask yourself---what do I want my family now to become, to believe, and how can I effect that.

As a child everything revolves around family, it's where you get your physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment---it's your center. 

As you get older around teenage-hood, friends and society become so important. It's funny how life has a way of doing circles; as you get older, you go back to the first place you got your nourishment and better realize the value and strength of family. 

It's important to point out here that it's ok if you have not always had a good family, because you can create your own....not all good people came from good families. Family can be defined many different ways too:
Little Family Fun: F is for FAMILY

Not all families look alike, some have one parent, some families are extended family, some are not even related, some friends become like family, whatever the case, a sense a family is important in every life.

 Kelly Hamon

Monday, January 7, 2013

FamilySearch now has two new search features.

The new features are as follows:

1) Restricting Results by Record Location & Type

2) Searching the FamilySearch Catalog Using Multiple Search Terms

Take a look for yourself Familysearch

Why Keep a Journal?

"Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available. Your private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity. Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant. Your journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them."

"Begin today...and write... your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies."

"People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life's experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted."

Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals"