Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finally I get to tell you--engaging my kids over Christmas Vacation (NEW BLOG announcement)

So with the launch of the book..  (Have you seen it yet?  It's really good ;)  Here's an excerpt.)
I can finally tell you about the AWESOME thing we did over Christmas vacation.  We took the kids to see Trefusis Farm. 

So this is the backdrop on my computer now. Makes me soooooo happy.

Totally, no way, the absolute coolest.  Obviously words fail..  I wrote all about it on my new  You know how you have to be careful about telling people you are out of town and all that..  Well I could write about it over there because none of you knew about that blog yet.  Don't worry.  Now that the book is done, I'll be blogging lots more here too.  But over on the new blog we're going to be posting all sorts of new ideas about engaging your family with their family history.  Lots and lots to talk about in both places.  You'll want to keep your eye out..

Let me know what you think. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Announcing.....Zap the Grandma Gap!

Finally.. I can tell you why I've been a little quiet this past couple of months.  I've done it.  My book is here and the new website is ready and I'm so so so excited to tell you about it!

Here's the press release:
29 January 2013   

Are the youth in your family more attached to their iPod or laptop screen than they are to you?  How do you connect to your family members and form the kind of close relationships that will support and strengthen them as they grow into successful and grounded adults?  Teaching your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and even your brothers and sisters about their family history can create strong bonds in your family and become a framework that protects and empowers your relationships.  Family history connects family members in a way that is personal and unique to your family.  It especially gives children the power to identify with personal heroes, learn life lessons and gain a broad, wise perspective on life.

You may be thinking, sure but my family’s eyes roll back in their heads and they suddenly have pressing engagements they have to attend to when we start to talk about family history.  Super Grandma comes to the rescue.  In the new book Zap the Grandma Gap : Connect With Your Family by Connecting Them To Their Family History, you’ll find specific ideas, examples and step by step instructions to take your family history from snoring and boring to exciting and inviting.  Super Grandma will teach you all the tips and tricks to connect you and your family back to your own super grandmas and grandpas in simple and easy ways that will bind your family together and strengthen your relationships.

You’ll find specific tips on ideas such as:
  • Applying your family history to your current family member’s interests
  • Utilizing social networking to teach your family about their past
  • Honoring past family members through the plants inside and landscaping around your home
  • Exploring your ancestor’s skills and talents by creating a project or taking a class together
  • Establishing traditional food heritage such as historic family recipes or even a gingerbread house of the family home
  • Collecting and archiving the jewels in your family history to ensure future curiosity
  • Navigating the rough spots in your family history
Along with the launch of the book, a new website has been created full of resources to help families connect with their family history.  The website establishes a gathering place where people can submit their best ideas and learn from each other how to strengthen the coming generation.  Included in the site are a multitude of free resources including:
  • A FREE 28 page excerpt of the book including table of contents.
  • A FREE 35 page workbook for children to begin to record their own lives and explore their family history
  • A FREE weekly newsletter with 52 additional ways to engage your family with their family history
  • FREE 8.5x11 pedigree charts and resources for other genealogy charts
  • A comprehensive list of resources collected from all over the web
  • Links to the FREE Zap the Grandma Gap blog, facebook and twitter feeds with additional ideas for connecting your family with their past. 
Early reviews include: 
  • "If you are looking for concrete ideas for sharing your family history and inspiring the next generation, look no further than this book. The personal stories and worthwhile activities make this an enjoyable read, and an ongoing resource to every genealogist. Janet's passion for the power of family history in the lives of today's busy families shines throughout the pages!"  Lisa Louise Cooke, Author and host of The Genealogy Gems Podcast. 
  • “Janet Hovorka has provided a book overflowing with valuable ideas and suggestions for involving the "younger" generation in genealogy, perhaps without them even knowing about what you are trying to do. This book succeeds in being both entertaining and informative in a way that makes sense rather than preaches.”  James Tanner, author of The Guide to FamilySearch Online and
  • “Zap the Grandma Gap is a handy toolbox brimming with inspiration and ideas for getting the “family” into family history. You’ll be grateful for the guidance as well as the casual and supportive way in which it is delivered.”  Amy Coffin, author of and The Big Genealogy Blog Book. 
  • “This book is a must-read for everyone who treasures family history and wants to make it come alive for future generations." Suzanne Curley Director, Riverton FamilySearch Library
  • “Zap The Grandma Gap is not only a good read but a great reference book for creating fun family centered activities that treasures and builds firm family values.”  Holly T. Hansen, President Family History Expos Inc.

 Zap the Grandma Gap : Connect With Your Family by Connecting Them To Their Family History by Janet Hovorka is available now at, at bookstores and by calling 801-872-4278.  For it’s initial release, the book will be on sale for $19.95 until Feb 8th at which time the book will return to its regular price of $23.95. 

About the Author:
  Janet Hovorka received a B.A. in Ancient Near Eastern History and a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from BYU.  She helped people at the BYU library with their family history research but was completely uninterested in her own.  Now, she and her husband Kim Hovorka own Family ChartMasters ( —official, award winning printers for most of the genealogy software and database companies.  She is currently serving as President of the Utah Genealogical Association and teaches courses in library skills and genealogy at Salt Lake Community College.  Janet inherited a large amount of genealogy from her mother and grandmother, both wonderful genealogists who lived family history in a way that was attractive and inviting.  Eventually Janet woke up to the soul satisfaction of learning about her past.  Most recently she has found great joy in encouraging her teenage children's genealogical interests. Understanding the good and the bad in her own family history has helped her deal with her children and husband, and even her extended family in a more healthy way. Janet writes the The Chart Chick blog (, has written for numerous genealogy publications, and has presented 100s of lectures all over the world to help people learn more about their past. 

Media kit available upon request. 

 Zap the Grandma Gap : Connect With Your Family by Connecting Them To Their Family History by Janet Hovorka.  Published by Family ChartMasters: Cedar Hills, Utah, 2013. Paperback, $23.95 194pp.  ISBN 978-0-9888548-0-2.

TADA!  Go take a look.  I'm out to change the world!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


One of the best things about my affiliation with the Utah Genealogical Association comes this time every year.  It has been another wonderful week at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.  This is such a fantastic program for really digging in deep to learn all that you can about your family history.The country’s best genealogical educators--the rock stars of genealogy--gather to help you gain expertise in an amazing condensed format and in a fantastic venue.  It is the most wonderful way to get intense genealogy education and experience.  Different than a regular genealogy conference where you take one hour classes on a multitude of subjects, SLIG is an institute where you take 20 hours of in depth instruction on one topic, such as Advanced Methodologies, Researching in Washington DC, How to Write a Compelling Personal History, Advanced German, etc.

This year I've been taking the British Records course  "Researching your British Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Registry."  We've learned about everything from court and land records to the East India Company and Non Conformist church records.  Apryl Cox, Barbara Baker, John Kitzmiller and Alan Mann have done such a fantastic job I've even loved the classes that haven't directly related to my British ancestors.  I've learned alot that I'm going to put into practice when I go back to Who Do You Think You Are Live next month and head back out to the Somerset Record Office.  I have all sorts of ideas about what I want to get done before I go and what I'm looking for once I get there.  I've learned so much it is hard to sit still in class.  You want to be trying out all these great new ideas. 

That's why it is brilliant that institute is so close to the library.  There are so many things that I would have loved to have run over and tried out, but it was not to be this year.  I have been needed at home for various things and my family needed to come first this year since I am traveling so much this spring.  But I'm sure I'll be a SLIG attendee for life.  I'll be there for many years to come and I'll have lots of opportunities to utilize the library to solidify my SLIG knowledge in the future. And best of all I'll get to see all my great friends that are all Institute junkies too.  Everybody always makes good new friends at SLIG. 

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy was established in 1996 by the Utah Genealogical Association, and has become one of the premier genealogy education experiences in the country. Classes are taught in the mornings and finish in the afternoons leaving time for research at the Family History Library. A dozen or so optional evening classes round out the offerings providing a deep educational experience in only five days. Evening Classes are included for conference participants but also available to the public for $10 per class. So, if you aren’t able to come during the day, evening classes provide a great option for learning the latest techniques in a quick and easy format.

The new classes for next year will be announced at the final banquet tomorrow night.  You can watch for them on the UGA blog.   The hard part is just going to be which one to choose.  Registration opens the first week of June.  I'm glad I've got until then to decide. Congratulations to Christy Fillerup and her fantastic team, Kimberly Powell, Luana Wentz Darby, Bret Petersen, Peg A Ivanyo, Sherry Stevens, Jill Woodbury, and Valerie Hansen for having everything running so smoothly.

Conference schedule for 2013--so far

  • Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Jan 14-18 in Salt Lake City.   
    • Janet is in seventh heaven with the fantastic instruction at SLIG.  Post coming soon.
  • Family History Expo. January 18-19 in Mesa Arizona.
    • Erin is unveiling a sneak peak of our new project that we'll be announcing soon.
  • Who Do You Think You Are Live. February 22-24 London, England
    • Janet is speaking on "Grandmother’s Bullet Proof Vest: Why Your Children Need To Know Their Family’s History and What To Do About It." Feb 23rd at noon and "Grandpa's on my Ipod: Extending your Family History Using Social Networking and Mobile Devices." on Feb 24th at 11am.
  • Family History Expo February 22-23rd St. George Utah.
    • Lara will be exhibiting and showing off our new project. 
  • North Florida Genealogy Conference March 8-9, St. Augustine Florida
    • Janet will be speaking on "The New Family Tree," "Grandmother’s Bullet Proof Vest: Why Your Children Need To Know Their Family’s History and What To Do About It," and "My Mother's Manipulations:  How Mom Turned Me Into A Genealogist Without Really Meaning To."
  • RootsTech March 21-23rd Salt Lake City, Utah
  • UGA Spring Conference April 19-20 in Woods Cross Utah.
  • National Genealogical Society Conference May 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  
    • Janet will be speaking on“Magnifying Glass, Wide-Angle Lens or Telescope? Charts To Visualize and Share Your Family Tree” at 9:30 am on 11 May
  • Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree June 7-9 Burbank, California
    • Janet will be speaking on "Double Your Membership, Double Your Fun: The UGA Case Study" at 11am June 7, "Beyond Scotch Tape: Charts to Fascinate Your Family" at 3:30 on June 8th. and "Let's Get This Party Started, Family History Conferences For The Whole Family." at 2:30 on June 9th.