Friday, February 21, 2020

New front page for our website

Congratulations to Alex, our super programmer for another accomplishment that the rest of us think is magical.  Often his magic is spread behind the scenes, but this time it is out front where you can enjoy it too.  We have a beautiful new front page.  Check it out:

Go to to check out the full effect.  I think it shares our message better.  Let us know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to send in your family information for a free consultation so that we can get started on a chart for you!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Creating a Digital Will.

Next week I'm presenting a new lecture entitled "Creating a Digital Will" at RootsTech.  The topic comes from a need I found last year.  As I presented another lecture entitled "Heirloom, Documentation and Junk: What to Keep and What to Toss" across the country, I had dozens of people come up to me after every lecture asking about more information on digital wills.  Clearly, genealogists had been digitizing their family history but had not thought enough about how to preserve their digital past.

So I proposed this lecture to RootsTech and it was accepted.  It is something we all need to be talking about so that our digitized information is safe for future generations. If we don't preserve our digital life, our great grandchildren may know more about our great grandparents who wrote regular letters than they do about us and all of our emails.  To avoid a digital dark age in this generation, we must ensure that our records are accessible in the future with attention and a plan. Our digital footprint is subject to constant change and items are easily lost or destroyed when a subscription runs out, a bill is not paid, there is too much information to digest or even just a computer crash.

Of course I'm not a lawyer so this lecture is a general survey.  Participants are encouraged to consult a lawyer in their local area to ensure that they are working within any laws that effect where they live.  A digital will should never be included in a Last Will and Testament because once the testator dies, the will becomes a public document.  Likewise, digital assets change so quickly, a digital will needs to be updated without having to formally change a will.  A digital will can be referenced in a will but should be a separate document.

The lecture discusses what needs to be included in a digital will, and the survivorship policies of the popular websites for genealogists.  But the actionable part of the lecture is the six steps you can do to secure your digital legacy.  
They are:

  1. Collect a list of all your digital assets.  
  2. Once you have a complete list of digital assets, fill out the list with logins and passwords.  Add answers to security questions, pin numbers, account numbers, and security codes for all web assets and hardware
  3. Leave instructions for your wishes and designate an heir for each asset.  List which assets should be archived and saved, which should be deleted or erased and which should be distributed to family, friends or business colleagues.   
  4. Secure your list of assets, logins and passwords.  Because digital assets are subject to constant change, a digital plan must be easy to maintain so that it is kept up to date.  In some cases a good old fashioned piece of paper and locked case may be more secure.
  5.  Appoint a Digital Executor.  A digital executor will work with the executor of your Last Will and Testament to distribute your digital assets.  
  6. Whenever possible, digital information concerning family history can and should be disseminated among family members now for additional preservation whenever possible.
There is a lot to talk about concerning how we protect our digital history.  I hope you'll join us next Wednesday at 9:30 for the full discussion.  When you have a plan and get organized, you can make sure your family history assets and current history are preserved for future generations.  

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Annual Favorites 2020: Special Occasions

We love helping you celebrate your family's special occasions.  Anniversaries, birthdays, engagements, weddings, or any family milestone can be commemorated with a family history chart.  These charts tell the origin story of your family and how you all came to this place.  And charts make a wonderful unique gift.  Your family history is something you share with the recipient that no one else outside the family shares with them; it is unique to your bond.  

Be sure to click on any of the charts to see a larger version with all of the details.  And join us at any conference this year to see the actual prints.

A birthday present for the researcher's brother showing the brother and sister and the brother's son with all the family's photos.
A baby gift from Grandma showing a little girl's maternal line.

A beautiful birthday present for Mom showing off her Eastern European heritage.

This chart could be a beautiful present for Mom and Dad from their daughter.  With color coding for each of the family branches and the gorgeous water color tree in the background it is a family history to be proud of.

Let us help you celebrate your family bonds with one of our amazing custom family history charts.  It is simple to send in your information for a free consultation with no obligation to purchase until it looks perfect.  Just send the information to  One of our designers will help you come up with the perfect chart to mark your special occasion.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Annual Favorites 2020: Unique Favorites

When we advertise that we can create any kind of chart, we get unique requests.  We love it when a client has a specific vision for their chart.  Our designers put their extensive talent and experience to work creating unique masterpieces that really tell the family story.  And with our online preview system for custom charts, each designer works closely with the client to realize their vision.  It is so satisfying for the client and the designer when they come up with unique masterpieces such as these.  

Be sure to click on any of the charts to see a larger version with all of the details.  And join us at any conference this year to see the actual prints.

One of our favorites this year.  These cousins found each other through DNA and celebrated their kinship with a beautiful chart showing their unique relationship.  

An amazing chart showing the lifespan of a couple and their families'  origins.  It includes documents, gravestones, stories, and a timeline fore each of their lives, and it encompasses the whole story in a captivating chart.

A simply beautiful chart with the focus on an elegant background photo and the clean ancestral lines.

The dark background makes the color coding on this chart pop off the page.  A tribute to the popularity of the Finding Your Roots TV show.

This brilliant client created two matching charts (above and below).  She hung her family and her husband's family side by side in her home.  But then she gifted her husband's family copies of their chart and her family copies of her chart.  Each of the charts work as a stand alone piece, but together they unite her heritage with her husband's.

This beautiful chart shows off a direct line that splits and then comes back together.  Showing all of the family on the bottom was tricky, but we fit them all in.  
Our designers can also come up with an amazing, unique display of your family history.  Anything you can dream up, they can do, and they'll work with you until it is perfect.  Just send your information in for a free consultation at and they'll get started on your family masterpiece.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Annual Favorites 2020: Family Reunions

We've been honored to help many family history researchers share their family history with their families this year.  Summers are always busy with family reunion season but really a family gathering can be anytime of the year.  There is no better way to share the history with the non-genealogists in your family.  Creating an impressive display of the family history will always engage the whole family in learning about where they came from.  We would love to help you share your history at a family reunion.

Be sure to click on any of the charts to see a larger version with all of the details.  And join us at any conference this year to see the actual prints.

This amazing all in one chart includes ALL of the family with extended cousins, distant ancestor lines, icons for soldiers, links to US presidents and Supreme Court Justices, and other important historical figures.

The photos of the grandparents and each of their five children with their spouses bring this family's origins to life.  The group photo, house, and maps really tell the story of the family in an engaging way.  

The amazing couple on top raised this beautiful family of fifteen children.  The soft image of their home in the back shows the background of the family and where they were raised.  This chart is wrapped to keep to a more frameable size but still has room for all of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great great grandchildren.
So let our designers give your family tree a try.  You can send your information to us at  There's no obligation until we go to print because we are confident we can come up with something you will love. Just wait until your family sees all of the work you've done.  They'll be so impressed.  We'll make sure your chart is just as breathtaking as these are.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Annual Favorites 2020: Immigrant Ancestors

We've had a lot of requests this last year to show unique immigrant stories and the paths these immigrants took to get to the United States.  With the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower coming up in 2020 I would suspect that there will be many more to come.  It is great to honor those who made amazing sacrifices and surmounted huge challenges in our family history.  Knowing that you have strong genes gives one courage to face the small day to day challenges that come up in life.  These charts celebrate those amazing ancestor stories and give us that strength.

Be sure to click on any of the charts to see a larger version with all of the details.  And join us at any conference this year to see the actual prints.

A beautiful representation of this immigrant family from New York.

This client showed off his Irish heritage with the map, flag and Celtic border.  
This beautiful family included the couple's wedding photos, their two beautiful children and even their dogs.  Love it!

One of our absolute favorite charts.  The pedigree chart on the bottom is referenced above with the trips each ancestor actually took from Europe to North America and their dates of immigration

This chart celebrates the client's heritage from Italy, England, Ireland and Russia.  Even though this research so far is asymmetrical, the chart worked out beautifully.

An all in one tree of this Swedish family shows both sides of the family with cousins, aunts and uncles, and blended family members.  
Any of these charts would make a beautiful centerpiece to your home, or an amazing, meaningful gift.  You can send your information in for a free consultation and our designers will work with you, sending previews until it is exactly perfect for your family.  Once you approve your chart, you can place your order and we'll send it right out.  We'll help you really honor those that came before in your family.

Watch for new posts on our Annual Favorites collection over the next two weeks.  We have so much more to show you. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Twelve-week Research Challenge

As we thought about how to help you all make even more connections with your family history in 2020, we decided to focus on family history research. Whether you're a professional genealogist or a novice who wants to learn more, we have a twelve-week research challenge for all levels. The purpose of the challenge is to help you step-up your genealogy game, discover new people in your tree, or even just get started with your research.

The link below will register you for the challenge. You will then receive one email every week for twelve weeks. Each email will have three levels of suggestions: beginning, intermediate and advanced. If you are just getting started, the beginner ideas will help you start thinking about your ancestors in different ways. Advanced researchers will find new directions to check out in the advanced section of each email. And some researchers may change between the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels to choose whichever level works best for them on any particular week.

At the end of the twelve weeks, we have a special prize for everyone who completes the challenge! Not only will you expand your knowledge of family history research, but you will receive an awesome gift from us.

Sign up here and get started today!