Thursday, December 16, 2010

Family History--What's in it for me.

Last year, while we were putting together a new Generation Maps Mission Statement, I spent some time reflecting on why Genealogy is important. I've been putting together some new lectures for 2011 and I want to show you one of the graphics from one of the sets of Powerpoint slides. To me, it clearly explains the 4 reasons I believe Genealogy can save the world. (Said with a little tongue in cheek, but not much.)

  • Understanding and Emotional Healing. If you haven’t found someone in your family history who is a scoundrel, you haven’t done enough family history. Likewise, if you haven’t found anyone in your family who accomplished amazing things, you haven’t done enough family history. My husband and I run a genealogy chart printing company. As we print descendancy charts for family reunions, it never ceases to amaze us how often we can see trends running through family lines, even just in the vital information on a genealogy chart. Divorces, or illegitimate children can sometimes be seen running through generations on some lines, and then you can see where when one person breaks the cycle, and intact families follow. In my own family, among many other things, there are lines of addictive personalities and I know that is something I come by easily. And in my husband’s family, it is easy to see where the trend started that gave my mother-in-law her sense of self. Understanding these trends, and how they play through the generations can help us heal and deal with family members in a more compassionate and understanding way. I know some of the personality traits ran through my family, and into me, long before I started collecting family history. But now I understand them so much better.
  • Realizing Potential. I've written many times about being inspired by your family history. (It's easier to broadcast to the world, than all my stories about healing and understanding the problems in my family's history.) Once when my very scientifically minded son was struggling over yet another dreaded book report, I made the comment to him that he certainly had it in him to write well because he came from a long line of prolific writers. After a bit, he stopped the procrastination and finished up the report. I am continually amazed at how such small comments inspire confidence in my children. Likewise, in my 20’s, when I was given a short personal history of my great-grandmother, I found that she had been through a hard trial similar to mine at about the same age. It inspired me to know that those trials hadn’t defined her life and she had gone on to be very successful. I recently learned more about the sacrifices she made when she was the same age I am now. I look at my challenges and say “I can do this. It’s in my DNA.”
  • Grounded and Enveloped in Love. If you think about how much your grandmother loved you, you can imagine how much your great-grandmother, or even great-great grandmother loves you even though you might not have had a chance to know them in this life. I want my children to know as much as they can about the sacrifices that have been made in their behalf by their ancestors so that they could have the good life that they have now. Family history is often a solace for people whose current family ties aren’t what they want them to be.
  • Spiritual Power. I've written many times about the spiritual power of Family History. I usually like to call it Serendipity, because that takes out some of the religious connotations. The coincidences, psychic connectedness, hunches, “I don’t know why,” luck, synchronicity, inspiration, intuition, and providence cross all religious, social, political and etc. boundaries. Megan Smolenyak wrote in her book, In Search of Our Ancestors,“If you were to gather fifty genealogists in a room, chances are that forty-five of them would readily admit to having experienced a few unexplainable incidents in their search for roots.” (pg.1) I teach a class on serendipity that is one of my favorite classes to teach because you can feel everyone in the room give a sigh of relief that they aren't the only crazy genealogist. And when I open up the floor and ask the class if they've ever experienced serendipity in their research, I get to hear the most fantastic stories. I absolutely love teaching that class. It leaves everyone with an amazing sense of awe and an awesome feeling of connectedness.
So go out and share your love of family history with someone--especially your own family. You just might save the world for someone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


If you ever watched Saturday Night Live when Mike Meyers was on, he had this on-going skit called "Coffee Talk'' and got `verklempt'' at the mere mention of Barbra Streisand. I'm really not Yiddish, but I've studied German and Hebrew, and I think this is the best word at the moment.
Flattered but overwhelmed.


Saturday I was installed as the president of the Utah Genealogical Association.


I would be scared spitless, but Luana Darby has done a wonderful job the last two years getting UGA into a place where someone in their right mind would be willing to take on this responsibility. During Luana's presidency, the organization has completed a new website and new social networking communication avenues including a stronger newsletter system, facebook, twitter, blog (Thanks A.C. Ivory). This last year we've put together a better organization including a renewed committee structure and books for each committee chair to begin passing down the institutional knowledge that will sustain UGA in the future. And Barry Ewell has orchestrated the purchase of a new virtual meeting system that will not only make the organization run more smoothly, but also has facilitated the development of our new Virtual Chapter, and the UGA Online Training and Tutorial Library. While Luana was in office, our journal Crossroads (yea David Ouimette and Christy Fillerup) has been revamped and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (go Adele Marcum) has remained one of the premiere sources of genealogy training in the country. And probably the biggest accomplishment of Luana's presidency was the immensely successful hosting of the National Genealogical Society Conference in 2010 which showed off Utah’s assets to the genealogy community at large, strengthened UGA’s status in the genealogy community and set UGA on a strong footing for future development.

So we are in good shape. We have a great new board. I have two fantastic Vice Presidents, Sue Maxwell and Christy Fillerup. And we are excited to take UGA into a new year. It is the 40th anniversary year and there is lots to get going on, lots still to do. Let me know where you want to help.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Extended Deadlines

We've been working hard to keep up with the demand for meaningful family gifts this season. We're enjoying the holiday season so much, we've decided to extend things a little for domestic orders.
  • Custom chart orders are due by Monday December 13th.
  • We've extended the deadline for Family ChArtist and Pre-created charts to December 17th.
  • All rush orders must be submitted by December 20th.
Go to, give us a call at (801)87CHART or drop us a line at if we can help you share and inspire your family this year. We really delight in helping you show off your family history.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Safety Rule #3 for the Genealogy Internet Playground

Safety rule #3 for the internet genealogy playground: Don’t throw sand in other people’s eyes.

Remember, remember, remember that you aren’t just talking to a computer screen, or even a database, you are talking to people. And you are talking to people about one of the most emotional topics around—their roots. Often you are even talking to people about family members that they knew and loved.

In some cases we can’t ever come to a knowledge of exactly what happened in a historical situation because we weren’t there. The best we can do is collect quality sources and learn how to interpret them the best we can. Sometimes that leaves a lot of disparity between opinions. Care must be taken to be diplomatic in all cases. Especially in dealing with people you don’t know very well.

Sometimes a discussion in a collaborative environment results not so much in the person with the most knowledge coming out victor, but the person with the most time to devote to the cause. Just double check yourself before you hit the enter key. Would you say that to a person in real life?

Play nicely and be safe on the internet playground. The internet is a fantastic boon to family history researchers. It creates an exciting gathering place where we can find distant cousins and fast friends to help us research our family tree. And remember, as any internet genealogist will tell you—Share, Share, Share is the name of the game. If you cast your bread upon the waters it may come back to you an hundred fold. It’s never too late to play by the rules and have fun. Be sure to follow these three basic safety rules and you’ll have a great time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Generation Maps Partners with MyHeritage

Salt Lake City, Utah - November 18, 2010 - Generation Maps is happy to announce another partnership making it easier for the world to print and display genealogy charts. In addition to other database and software partners, MyHeritage has joined the team of companies looking to Generation Maps for professional large scale genealogy printing.

"It is wonderful that MyHeritage users will now be able to simply and easily print genealogy charts straight from their family sites on the database," says Kim Hovorka, president of Generation Maps. "Again, a simple built in feature for printing means that the user won't have to find a large scale printer that understands the genealogist's needs, he can simply order what he wants for a chart and it will arrive on their doorstep."

Generation Maps quick printing turn around times, impeccable attention to detail, and high customer satisfaction rate makes this a win win situation for genealogy users. The various paper options and domestic and international shipping options round out a complete opportunity for the user to get exactly what they are looking for.

Portions of the My Heritage press release:
London, England & Tel Aviv, Israel - November 18, 2010 -, the largest and fastest growing family network on the web, unveiled today a host of new online family tree chart designs and features. Going one step further in enabling users to showcase their family history, launched today a professional poster printing service for any chart produced on the website.

More than 16 million families have created a site on; a private place for exploring family history, finding long-lost relatives and keeping in touch. Innovative tools, such as Smart Matching™ and photo sharing with facial recognition technology, provide a friendly and secure setting where millions of users have planted their family tree online.

Users can now create a family tree chart from their family site in a few clicks, by choosing from numerous different chart types, with a choice of 18 different predefined chart styles. As of today, adds a professional poster printing service for any chart produced on the website, starting as low as $20 per poster. With worldwide shipping, any user can now order a high quality printout of their chart packaged in a protective tube, either directly to their home or shipped as a gift to any other address. The print can be ordered on a variety of paper types (including standard paper, matt photo, glossy photo, vinyl and canvas), in almost any size and with optional lamination. For special occasions like family reunions, posters can be as large as an entire wall.

“Our beautiful family tree charts are a great reward for families who have spent many hours researching their roots”, said Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet. “Family history is much more fun when you can share what you’ve discovered with others, and family tree charts are perfect for that. Our attractive new family tree posters will be a source of pride in every home and are perfect as a gift for the upcoming holidays”.

Existing users of can create their own family tree charts by simply clicking on the 'family tree' tab on their family site and choosing 'charts and books'.

About is the most popular family network on the web. Millions of families around the world enjoy having a private place for their families to keep in touch.’s Smart-Matching technology empowers users with an exciting and innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. With all family information stored in a secure site, is the ideal place to share family photos, and celebrate and preserve special family moments. Offering 36 languages, 650 million profiles and 16 million family trees, is nurturing family relationships and uniting families worldwide. For more information please

About Generation Maps:
Generation Maps was established in 2004 to help families express their heritage in an attractive way for all to see. Generation Maps charts provide a visual reminder of your family’s history and help establish feelings of love and confidence that come from knowing who you are and that you are part of a family. Generation Maps charts can awaken individual potential embedded in one’s inherited traits and nurture emotional healing through understanding a family’s history. Family ChArtist will carry on the Generation Maps tradition by offering a new, simplified, personalized way to create decorative charts that promote family traditions and unity.

Generation Maps remains the premier printing service for any kind of genealogy chart you can imagine. In addition to the new Family ChArtist program, Generation Maps continues to offer a multitude of custom chart printing services, including both decorative and working genealogy charts. Custom decorative designs come with an online preview system that gives you personalized attention and feedback until the chart is exactly the way you envisioned it. Working charts are oversized, inexpensive, family reunion-type charts that display your entire file in one place. You can write on and add information to working charts. Generation Maps has printed working charts up to 800 feet long with information for over 30,000 people. In addition, Canvas Giclee Fine Art photos are available at Generation Maps for a very competitive, reasonable price. All charts can be printed on any of 8 paper choices, plus canvas. Free consultations are always available at

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inspire and Involve Your Family with their Family History this Holiday Season

A few of the comments we've enjoyed over the years.

  • The kind of family tree chart I wanted was more complicated than I could do myself with the software I bought. The chart was a gift and I wanted it to be perfect... and on time. The staff at Generation Maps was friendly, professional, creative, and, most important, patient with all of my revisions. I received a preview of my chart by e-mail and it blew me away. Just as wonderful is the fact that it will be shipped today so I can give it to my friend on time. I can't thank you enough! M.M. New York
  • Here are some photos that were taken when we presented LaRee with her descendant chart at the family Christmas party. She was quite overwhelmed. She was a little quiet at first and the more she looked at it, the more involved she became when she realized just what it was. She was really quite moved. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your wonderful work for us. The whole family was very impressed. R.G. Utah
  • I must say I have been amiss not writing you and thanking you for the wonderful job you did on the family trees back in December... the delight my children and sister showed when they received them. Excited does not begin to explain their reaction to them... I can't sing your praises enough. F.G., Texas
  • You were our Christmas... you have done something for our family that will outlive those of us that are trying to put the pieces of our puzzle in place. Already, my grandchildren are asking for some of the records. I thank you... I think it will make it possible for my sisters and I to continue at the same point. They are suddenly interested after years of telling me they did not want the information. J.M., Texas

We love being an outlet for all the research that you have collected, and an easy, beautiful way for you to share your research with your family. Christmas is a great time to do it. Go to, give us a call at (801)87CHART or drop us a line at if we can help you share and inspire your family this year. We really delight in helping you show off your family history.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two New UGA Initiatives

If you've been reading this blog you know I've been serving as Vice President at the Utah Genealogical Association this year. They have been working on some great new projects that I wanted to share with you if you haven't seen them on the UGA blog. Since I wrote it over there, I'm going to cut and paste the announcement here. I'm not plagarism if it's my own writing right? We've been working hard on this projects and we'd love to have your feedback.

The Utah Genealogical Association is pleased to announce the launch of two education initiatives for genealogists of all kinds--the UGA Genealogy Training and Tutorial Library (UGaTT) and the UGA Virtual Chapter. An introductory overview of both virtual projects covers the designs and plans for each project as well as the dates and stages of roll-out. The introductory video is a great way to understand the sweep of the plans and get excited about the progress that is coming as we take UGA into its 40th anniversary year.

First, we are pleased to present the first tutorials of the UGA Genealogy Training and Tutorial Library (UGaTT). The topics covered so far are Top U.S. Research Records, Organization for Genealogists, and The Five-step Genealogy Research Process. These first tutorials are the first three pieces of the "Bronze Level" of the program. As the program continues to roll-out there will be over 100 topics covered with a bronze, silver and gold level self-evaluation program in place to to test your comprehension and track your improvement. Participants earn pins and certificates for program completion. Parts of the Bronze level will always be free to the general public, with the more advanced Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels available to UGA members as they are completed. Please fill out the survey to give us your feedback on this initial release.

Second, the first beta version of our Virtual Chapter has been released as well. The meeting is one hour long and includes an introduction and a presentation by Barry Ewell entitled "How to Effectively Conduct Genealogy Research on the Internet." Again, please give us your comments and feedback in a short 6 question survey. A second beta will be released on November 23rd with Janet Hovorka presenting "Archiving Your Genealogy Work Using the Library of Alexandria Rule" These two beta videos will be released to the general public and regular live sessions of the virtual chapter will commence in January with access to all UGA members.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Safety Rule #2 for the Genealogy Internet Playground

Safety rule #2 for the internet genealogy playground: Share your pail and shovel.

Ok. So you know not to pick up half-licked suckers on the playground and not to go home with anyone you don’t know. But to play fair on the internet genealogy playground, you need to make sure that you are a good playmate yourself. In order to do that, you’ll need to provide the sources for what you have researched.

You might say, “Why bother?”
• “It’s just a hobby. It doesn’t matter where I got it.”
• “I’m never going to publish a book or anything.”
• “The fun is in the searching”
• “I’m too busy. As long as I know it’s right that’s enough.”

To which one might answer:
• “As you work your way up, are you ever going to find a cousin genealogist?”
• “Do you want them to share what they have learned?”
• “Are you ever going to participate in a collaborative database?”
• “Do you want your children and grandchildren to be able to build on your work or do you want them to have to recheck it?”

Now I’m not naive. Typing in all the particulars about where you found some information is not the fun part. But, if we are going to play together on the internet genealogy playground, we are not going to get anywhere in a collaborative environment if we don’t cite our sources. If we submit data to any genealogy database without the source information, we are only contributing to conjecture—not building anything for future generations to work with. Our children will have to start all over to verify what we have done.

Citing your sources doesn’t have to be a perfect science. Record enough information so that another researcher can follow your path and not have to redo your research. And, by the way, anything can be a source—even if it is your mother’s memory or a silver tea set with a wedding date engraved on the back. However, only cite sources you have personally seen. If your cousin tells you about a census record, your cousin is the source, not the census record. If Great-Grandmother said something that was written in your aunt’s journal which was then copied into your cousin’s book which your dad emailed you about, your dad’s email is the only source you can cite. Remember, though, that a good researcher will go back to their cousin’s book, their aunt’s journal and will talk to Great-Grandmother, if possible, to get as close as they can to the original source.

It is also important to record any analysis surrounding the source. Record why you think this is a good or bad source and why you came to that conclusion. Perhaps you know that the family bible passed through the hands of an aunt who didn’t want any illegitimate births in the family recorded as such. Or maybe Grandfather lied about his age to get into the military. Elizabeth Shown Mills writes, “Once we refer researchers to a specific source, we are obligated to alert or caution them, as they may be less experienced with the materials“ (Mills, Elizabeth Shown, “Citing Your Sources,” OnBoard 1 (September 1995): 24). Even recording other researcher’s false information, and noting why, will be helpful to future researchers. Usually this kind of analysis is recorded in the notes section.

Originally published in the Generation Maps Newsletter

Friday, November 12, 2010

Safety Rule #1 for the Genealogy Internet Playground

Safety Rule #1 for the Genealogy Internet Playground
Don't pick up half-eaten suckers.

Many people who would never break the sucker rule in regular life, don't think twice about breaking a similar rule in genealogy. Some people who would never think of picking up a half-eaten sucker on a playground will take half-researched genealogy information from the internet-not knowing where it has been-and save it as gospel truth in their family history.

It used to be that when you wrote a letter to a cousin to ask about your family's history, your cousin would send you actual sources-a copy of the birth certificate, a page from the family bible, or whatever they had that would satisfy your quest. Now, when you contact a cousin about their genealogy, you often receive a computer file (such as a GEDCOM) which contains information about your family, but the file has no footnotes or citations about the sources that were used to compile the data.

Quite often, on the internet genealogy playground, the situation can be even stickier. In collaboration databases such as Ancestry's One World Tree, or, information comes from many
different people-some who cite their sources and some who don't. If you are lucky, you may be able to contact the person who submitted the information, but sometimes it is impossible to figure out where it
came from.

A researcher can get stuck when they find information on the internet that conflicts with information from sources they already have. When you come to a conflict, the only way to resolve it is by comparing sources. Comparing where both sets of information came from will allow you to resolve any differences. If there are no source citations, or the information came "from the internet somewhere," the researcher cannot determine which information is correct.

For example, if I have an immigration certificate and a church baptism record stating that my great- grandmother's birthday was June 14, 1897, and my second cousin has put information in FamilySearch stating that the birthday was July 18th 1897, there is only one way we can figure out which date is right. We will need to compare my immigration certificate and church baptism record to his sources-perhaps a copy of Grandmother's obituary. We will probably decide that the children who wrote the obituary were not as reliable a source concerning their mother's birth date as the priest who baptized her as a baby.

Likewise, I might have a great-grandfather who did lots of family history work in the early 1900s (which I do). What if now I have a cousin who thinks grandfather chose the wrong ancestor and then
continued to trace the wrong family line (which I do)? The only way we can figure out which ancestor is right is by comparing the sources my grandfather obtained to the source my cousin is looking at. My grandfather may have had access to documents that no longer exist. Or my cousin may have found records my grandfather never saw. Likewise, my great grandchildren will need to know what sources I build my research on-unless I want them to just start over as if I never did any research. If we want these collaborative databases to be of any use in the future, we have to make sure we are entering the sources we have used.

So, what do you do when you come across information about your family on the internet playground? Look at the notes and sources included with the information. Notes and sources tell you the quality of research that you are dealing with. When there are good source citations you can often just spot check the information and make sure that you can ascertain where the data came from. When there are poor source citations, you can use the data as a pointer to future research. (Like thinking "Hey there are suckers around this playground-I wonder where I can get one?") Well documented sources establish the credibility of the researcher, and well documented sources help in analyzing the research of another

Coming soon, rules 2 and 3. If you subscribed to our newsletter, you would already know what rule 2 is
. Subscribe now to find out what rule 3 is in a couple of weeks.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Giclée--Final sale for the Month of October

Starting today, October 25th through the 31st. Canvas Giclee will be 50% off the last week of October. Submit your picture of your favorite trick-or-treaters, or any other family or family history picture. We'll print you a beautiful art piece to enjoy for many years to come. Just enter the code 3CG103150 at check out.

A giclée(zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclée are produced from digital images or scans of existing artwork. Also, since many artists now produce only digital art, there is no "original" that can be hung on a wall. Giclée solve that problem, while creating a whole new vibrant medium for art.

Generation Maps produces your favorite photograph on high-grade artist canvas to create the texture and feel of an oil painting. Giclée are perfect for family history photos because the texture fools the eye and softens a grainy antique picture. They are a truly personalized work of art.

Generation Maps offers three options for ordering and displaying your canvas giclée.

First, you can order the canvas alone, sent to you rolled up in a tube. This option is great if you are planning to do special framing yourself or if you have another option in mind for display. Sizes range from 8x8 inches to 36x48 inches, and come in popular contemporary looking squares or traditional rectangles. If you want a size that isn't listed, you can call us for special sizing options.

Second, you can order the canvas mounted on to 5mm (3/16 inch)thick foamcore. This is a great option for framing if you already have a frame you know you want to use.

Or Third, you can order the canvas stretched on stretcher bars like a piece of art. This most archival option is great for high quality framing or even for hanging without a frame. The stretcher bars are 1/2 inch thick on the sides, so be sure to tell us whether you want to the image to wrap around the sides (leave an extra 1/2 inch on each side) or whether you want white or black sides.

Give us a call (801)836-6748 or drop us a line at if we can help you place your order. We love helping you show off your family history. Hopefully you have taken advantage of our sales this month to save money off our already fabulous prices while you do it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Holiday Deadlines

What do you get the person who has everything? A beautiful Generation Maps Genealogy Chart of course.

The Holiday deadlines for this year are:
  • Chanukah international November 8th
  • Chanukah regular November 17th
  • Chanukah rush November 24th
  • Christmas international December 1st
  • Christmas regular December 13th
  • Christmas rush December 20th
There is no better way to tell Mom and Dad thank you, and tell your siblings and children you are glad they are part of the family. Let us help you make this holiday special. With 1/2 off any extra copy, you can have everyone on the chart and it won't cost you too much either.

And with all the sales we have going on this month, now is a great time to get those holiday gifts all taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the season. Let us know what we can do to help you make it easy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guest Blogger--Happy Customer

Another happy customer.

"I spent several days looking for the right genealogy printing company, and I couldn't be happier that my search ended with Generation Maps. I asked Generation Maps to do a fairly large and complex chart showing all 209 of my known ancestors and they came through with flying colors. They helped my put together my 13 generation chart and showed extreme patience along the way making sure that the details of my 15 years of work were displayed accurately and attractively."

Gary B.
Mill Valley, California

Thanks for the feedback Gary. We are so pleased to be able to help you display all your hard work. And thanks for letting us show off your chart.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our third week of sales

October 18th through the 24th. Our best sale yet on our online tool Family ChArtist. With new graphics to help you make the perfect genealogy chart. Go in and create your own masterpiece and take 50% off your whole order. Just enter 2FC101750 in the promotional code field at check out. This screaming deal is only good for this week. October 18th through the 25th.

A great way to share your family history with your non-genealogist family for the holiday season. Their family history might benefit them because:

  • Family History bonds families together.
    • It will strengthen their relationship with you.
  • Family History can give a sense of belonging.
    • They will have a stronger sense of who they are.
  • Family History can create a loving, safe environment.
    • They will know that there are people who love them and worked so that they could have a nice life.
  • Family History can give them something to live up to.
    • Tell them about the good qualities in their family
  • Family History can inspire a sense of gratitude.
    • They will know how much easier life is now.
  • Family History can help them with their problems.
    • Somebody has probably been there before and survived it.
  • Family History can give them a broader, more unselfish perspective.
    • They will see the bigger picture of the span of life.
  • Family History encourages good skills.
    • Logic, detective skills, writing, communication, organization.
  • Family History gives a context for other knowledge.
    • History geography, languages, religion, culture—Margaret Mitchell, Alex Haley, inspired by their family history.
  • You could use some help.
    • They might break through your brick wall someday.
  • It will be moving for you to see the span of your family reaching out/down.
    • My perspective on my life, history, and the span of our family is amazing when I see my children involved.
  • You may find someone who will carry it on.
    • No one will care about your research work more than your own family can
Let us help you get them involved. And at 50% off, you can't beat it with a stick. :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The second week of our Month of Sales

It's October 11th and through the 17th is our next October sale. We want to give you a chance to experience (or experience again) our magnificent customer service with our decorative custom charts. Just submit a file with our free consultation or email to get started. We are offering a Second Copy Free for any chart started the second week of October, just give us the code 4FCDC3972 when you submit your order.

Let me show you a few custom charts we've done to get your creative juices flowing.We'd love to help you create one for your family to show them what you have researched. We always love to help you share your family history with your family.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family History Expo CA with my Dad.

Heading home through the Sierras singing to the Carpenters with my Dad. "The best love songs are written with a broken *arm*" and my favorite, "It's a new day for those good old dreams."

We just had the best time in the Bay Area. Holly's Family History Expo was outstanding as usual. Pleasanton had the best crowd I think we've ever had. I so appreciated the nods of agreement while I was teaching and the excitement for the topics. It was so easy to lecture there because the people were so personable and eager to hear what we had to say. I so appreciated that. And it was great to tell people about Generation Maps and have them get all excited. After explaining to one woman what we could do for her, she exclaimed, "I'm so excited, I just have to give you a hug." :-)

And of course I always love to hang out with my blogger friends. I actually got to spend a little time in the blogger's lounge this time. A little anyway. It is a good thing I get to talk to these people online and read what is going on with them, because otherwise I'd hardly ever get to talk to them :-) L to R Kathryn Doyle, Elizabeth O'Neal, Denise Levenick, Amy Coffin, Your's Truly, Thomas MacEntee, Lisa Alzo, Holly Hansen, A.C. Ivory. These are such fantastic assets to the genealogy community. I don't know how they all do it, but I always learn so much about genealogy--and about life--from them. A special thanks to Amy Coffin, who helped me straighten out my Twitter account so that I can talk to everybody better.

And a very special thanks to Lisa Louise Cooke for the wonderful geneabloggers party Saturday night. I've found the person I aspire to be. What a sweet wonderful lady she is. And what a wonderful hostess. I'm so glad she let her hostess abilities shine for us. Look at the cake! And her beautiful home was a veritable museum of her family's history. We had a wonderful time. My Dad got to spend some time talking to her daughter and her husband and was so impressed with the whole family. Thank you so much Lisa.

My Mom and my daughter were supposed to come with me but after the wedding Mom decided she needed some rest and Dad needed a break. He grew up in the bay area, so it was really, really fun to bring him to this expo. He was a great help at the booth (My Mom and Dad have always been my best assets), but the best part was visiting where he grew up in El Cerrito. Here he is in front of 7708 Ricardo Court, where he lived when he was going to high school and when he married my Mom. My Grandfather, Alvin G Carpenter taught at UC Berkeley and they lived there for most of that time. It was nice to see the home was kept up and looked nice (even though the people who lived there had forgotten to close their garage. LOL)
Grandma and Grandpa also bought the house next door, later after my parents got married. The summer after I was born, they actually came home for the summer and I spent the summer living in this house next door. I wish I'd been old enough to enjoy the view. Both homes had an incredible view of the bay area, with views of both the bay bridge and the golden gate bridge. They were beautiful homes. I don't remember either house at all though because my grandparents followed my parents to Utah about the time I was 3 years old.
Dad had to go up and knock on the door, but even though the garage door was open and there were two cars there, no one came to the door. Dad was disappointed not to be able to meet the people who lived there now. It would have been nice to be able to thank them for taking good care of the house. Its funny how attached you can be to a house. It's sentimental to see it, and even though Dad doesn't have an attachment to it now, I kind of do. It's part of our history. I feel the same about the house I grew up in.

Then we went past Dad's high school. Dad was an El Cerrito Gaucho. In fact, he was student body president 50 years ago next year. The high school was actually rebuilt about 5 years ago. Dad was glad to see such a beautiful new building. We were there about the time that school let out and it was good to see so many nice, responsible looking kids. Dad ran in to the office, and bought a sweatshirt and blanket they had. "I was student body president here 50 years ago, do you have a sweatshirt I can buy? :-)" He's going to send one to his best friend from high school. It was good to see him having so much fun and to have so much with him. Dad reminisced alot about friends he had, and where everybody lived, and I got to listen to all sorts of stories. It is amazing to me how much different Dad's life, and thus my life could have been had small choices been different. Really makes you wonder about the grand scheme of things.

Best of all, I have a great new family history story/picture for the kids. Grandpa had to walk up some really steep hills to get home from school. Up high on the hillside in El Cerrito with great views, makes for some strenuous walks. Too bad it was only up hill one way. Up hill both ways would have gone better with the family legends.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adding a member of the family

Happy 1 week Anniversary to my Little Sis!

My last sister to get married, Miss Emily, became Mrs. Emily Park last week on September 30th. It was the sweetest day I just have to blog about it. The two of them couldn't stop grinning, even when they were just standing around. My family of origin is now completely filled out. It still has me reeling to have our family change so much last year when my other two sisters got married. The family was the same for 16 years, and then all of the sudden over this last year there are three new members. But they've chosen well, and I really like these guys. Really, really like them.

The most beautiful thing is how happy Emily is. She was the most joyful looking bride I've ever seen. It is so good to see my little sis so blissful. Josh is a sweet compliment to her, and just as blissful. He is a great addition to our family. Emily kind of surprised us. She has dated lots and lots of guys over the years, some for a long time. With Josh, they only started dating a little while ago, and once they knew it was right they were only engaged for 8 weeks. It was fast, but I trust that she knew what she was looking for, and she knew when she had found it. And I can already see that Josh is a perfect match for her.
So there are now 5 amazing men who have been brave enough to marry the 5 sisters in my family. I have to show you the picture (above) that we took a couple of weeks ago when we were taking family pictures. They were all standing there looking at their phones, while we were putting the picture together, and it was such a perfect capture of their essence that we went ahead and staged the picture this way. (Apparently Colin (left) has AT&T :-) I think this is my all time favorite picture anywhere. It is amazing that we found 5 guys courageous enough to take us on. (And look how we've turned them all grey already :-)
The formidable women of my family.

Emily is so creative and the whole wedding had a beautiful, classy, inspired feel to it. When I heard she was organizing everything in purples and greys and yellow, I thought that sounded kind of different, but everything was so beautiful. Kristen and I stood around wishing we had had purple themed weddings too. Especially when my favorite color is purple anyway.

And when she decided that she wanted a roof of parasols over the whole garden, I think we all wondered how that was going to work. (Especially my Dad.) But it was the hit of the evening. Josh and his friends spent 2 days putting it together for her. It was such a sweet tribute to his love for her. And when the lights went on it was spectacular. A beautiful frame for such a lovely evening with so many family and friends. It was of course so fun to get to see everyone I love so much.

And of course we did a bunch of giclees for them, I didn't get alot of pictures of all the prints but of course they were gorgeous. Like Amy, (Emily's twin) they looked like they should have been in a Bridal Magazine.

A great time was had by all. I love weddings. I love being able to see everyone. I wish we could have one every day. But I suppose they wouldn't be so special then.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Blank Charts

A Gallery of Our New Blank Charts

You can order them, and all our other blank charts, for 1/2 off this week at

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Blank Charts and 4 Weeks of Sales

October is Sale Month at Generation Maps
We are launching new products and giving you a chance to stock up for the holidays. We know November is traditionally the time to be thankful, but we are so grateful for our wonderful clients that we've decided to jump the gun a little and declare October "Sale Month" for Generation Maps. Four of our biggest are coming this month. Thanks for your continued support.
  • For this week--October 4th through the 10th, we have wonderful new blank charts we want to show off. So the first week of October blank charts are going to be 50% off. Just enter the code 1BC101050 at checkout.
If you were signed up for our newsletter you would know all about the other sales coming for each of the other weeks in October. Or you can watch here. I'll keep you informed.

Give us a call (801)836-6748 or drop us a line at if we can help you place your order. We love helping you show off your family history. This month you'll also be able to save money off our already fabulous prices while you do it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What we did over summer vacation: Our own family get togethers

Besides printing lots and lots of family reunion charts for other families, we got to go to a couple of our own family reunions this summer.

The first one was a family reunion for my Great Grandfather's family, Joseph Hatten Carpenter.
J. Hatten was my patriarchal great-grandfather, my father's father's father. He immigrated from England in 1886 via Australia and settled in Utah. He married my great-grandmother Matilda S. Alder June 12, 1889. He was a banker who spoke French, German, Spanish and Greek and kept a journal that he wrote in most every day of his life--a collection of 34 volumes until he died at the age of 103. It is probably from him that I have the family history gene. He wrote back and forth to England and Switzerland (his wife's lines) and collected records for 40,177 people who he pieced together without the aid of computers or even copy machines. We have 18 books of his genealogy work that as a family we are working together to digitize. He was a member of the National Genealogical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of American Genealogy, a member of the Society of Genealogists of London, and the Genealogical Society of Utah. I hope he would be proud to see me as Vice President of UGA now.

My cousin Mark Carpenter put together a wonderful family reunion. The great thing about this reunion was that it was in the small town where he settled and the place my Grandfather was born--Manti, Utah. I got to take my children to visit the places they lived and worked, and being a small town, things don't seem to have changed much. We went to the church my grandparents attended and had a nice picnic in the park. It was fun to watch the kids launch rockets with Mark's air compressor. Good to be able to get together with these cousins.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago, we got together with my mother's side of the family. Descendants of Viola Schwendiman and Douglas Romney. Not as much family history going on there but more making family history. We got my Mom out on the tube behind the boat, and I've never seen her having such a great time. She was laughing and kept yelling "I'm having the time of my life." She was so cute.

I did have one fabulous family history find at this get together though. My mother showed us a video of her great-grandparents at a family reunion in Idaho in 1938. I had no idea she had it. Unbelieveable. It is so amazing to have video of your family this old. My great-grandmother's brother was in his 20s at the time and has always been interested in movies and videos--ended up selling for JVC as a career. So he recorded this movie, and then later transferred it to video with an audio he had of the brothers singing. Now we are digitizing it to distribute it further. (A good lesson in how important migration is. I don't know where I'd get an 8mm film projector now.) Here is a part of the video. I love how they are playing lawn hockey with suits on at the park. My great great grandfather is one of the men in suits. And the Swiss songs on the audio are so sweet. A little later in the video he has still pictures of them with audio of each of the brother's talking and telling stories from their lives. It is so amazing to hear your great great grandfather laughing. I'll let you know when we get all the pieces posted to youtube.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What we did over summer vacation: Getting back into the groove.

We've done some fun races again this summer. Laurie and Kristy Buzbee and I have had some great fun practicing and participating in some biking and triathlon events.

We did one, two triathlons a couple of years ago. But last year I injured my knee and got to cheer Laurie and Kristy on instead of getting involved. Having participated, watching triathlons are really fun, but it makes you anxious to get going again.

So this year I injured my shoulder and was really frustrated at the first of the year. (Yes I'm getting old and falling apart.) I'm a horrible swimmer to start with and when you add a bad shoulder, it's impossible. With other health issues compounding the problems, it was a struggle this year but I persevered. No records were set but we had a great time. And I'm ready to keep moving into a better year next year.

I like the low-key easy going races. In July we did the Tour de Donut. In this fun race you do three laps, and in between each lap you get to eat donuts. 3 minutes are deducted from your time for each donut eaten so the winners actually end up with negative times. I didn't have any donuts--didn't sound good to me with the biking but it makes for a really fun atmosphere.

We did another biathlon in Laurie's neighborhood which went well. She lives in a beautiful area. I made the mistake of stopping to check my bike and telling Laurie I'd catch up. Won't do that again.
And last weekend we did the Share a Smile triathlon. I didn't actually do the swim, so it was a biathlon for me, but that was great because then we could do the bike and run (read: walk) together. I don't know if I'll ever try to do a triathlon in the morning and give 2 lectures at a genealogy conference in the afternoon again (Sandy Family History Expo)--my brain was pretty fried. But it felt good. And it was the best reaction ever was when Christy Fillerup asked how it had gone that morning and I moved my sweater to show her the number they had written on my arm. I said "Went well. Have the body art to prove it." And next to her, A.C. Ivory got this funny look on his face and said, "What *DID* you do this morning?" Priceless.

I so love biking, and Kim and I have enjoyed lots of walks together this summer. We live in a great place with lots of trails around and it gives us a good break from the computers where we can talk about plans for the company. And all summer I've been working on "Killer Hill" by my house for bike practices. I took some pictures for you this morning. "Killer hill" is just before the mouth of the canyon going up to the right in this first picture. I've seen people go up that hill and always thought that would be the ultimate if I could do that. I'm happy to report that Killer Hill has now been conquered by Janet Hovorka. Oh yeah.