Friday, March 21, 2008

10 best things to do with a genealogy chart

Here are some of the things we have seen customers do with our charts over the years.

1) Track your database. We get feedback about this all the time. One customer said "I can finally see all the work I've spent all these years doing."

2) Impress the in-laws. We had one customer this Christmas write us back and tell us that her previously cold father-in-law had spoken to her for the first time in years after her gift of a chart on his ancestry and descendants. He appreciated her efforts and she was thrilled.

3) Join two families. A step family chart, or a wedding chart is a great way to celebrate the start of a new life. Below is my personal favorite chart. It is a canvas giclee wedding chart that hangs in our dining room. I enjoy how everyone is young and in love.

4) Get people to come to the family reunion. Some of the most spectacular charts that we do are large family reunion charts with pictures. Sometimes these can have 100's of pictures on them. We always hear back that when you contact everyone for a picture, they all have to come see the chart. And often that will pull them in to the family history--which brings me to...

5) Collect information at a family reunion. I always say, and have never been proven wrong, that when you see something wrong or missing on the chart at a family reunion you have to go get a pencil. I actually went to a family reunion of my own last summer where the organizers didn't want anyone to write on the chart, they wanted you to send an e-mail. It about killed me not to add in my sister that was missing. Even your Aunt that doesn't want anyone to know her birthday will put it up on a chart.

6) Inspire yourself. I'm betting most of the people reading this blog have never been to one of my lectures. I often tell about a time 3 years ago, when I was late for an appointment and leaving town the next day, and I walked into the house to find the washing machine pipe had broken and our main floor was under 6 inches of water. The water was draining down through the furnace and our basement was about 4 inches under as well. Of course it wasn't a day when the house was clean and as I went through the house in a panic picking things up, I happened to look up on a wall where a picture chart was hanging. In it I saw my ancestors who had crossed the plains as pioneers, farmed in the desert, lived through the depression, and made all sorts of sacrifices for me. In that moment I had a peace and a perspective come over me. This wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, I had insurance, it would be fine. And even though through the next two weeks they ripped out our kitchen, and recarpeted everything, my daughter was in the hospital and it was perhaps two of the worst weeks of my life, I went through it with a much greater sense of peace and gratitude.

7)Share the genealogy you have collected with someone else. There is nothing better than a chart to explain the research that has been done to someone who wasn't involved. I'm hoping that I will inherit my mother's work in a nice color-coded filing system with a matching color coded chart. (I'll have to make sure my mom reads this.) If not, maybe my kids will get it. (Yeah right.)

8)Impress your kids. I want my kids to know where they came from, and the decorating in our home reflects that. The other day, when my son wouldn't finish his book report, I jokingly reminded him that he descended from the very prolific Pratt family, and he had it in him. He knew he wasn't getting out of it. Poor kid.

9)Appreciate someone. This one kind of goes with #2. We do lots of charts for anniversary parties, retirements, 80th - 90th birthdays and etc.

10) Explore a new database. Getting a file out on a chart is a great way to see what is in someone's file that you received from a databse. And with New FamilySearch, we can print any of our charts right from the database.

I've got to go now. The 5 worst things to do with a chart will be coming shortly.

more at and

No comments: