Thursday, April 24, 2014

Orange County Family History Fair

I had a great time speaking at the Orange County Family History Conference last weekend. I had heard about this conference many times and knew the Family History Center had a great program there in Orange County.  So when they asked if I would come and give the keynote address Saturday morning it was an offer I couldn't refuse.  I was excited to head down and check it out for myself. 

Richard and Kathy McFarlane took such good care of me on the quick trip down there and back.  It was such a joy to get to know them and have time to chat with them over dinner.  They have a beautiful family and such a love for family history.  They have combined their love for their family's history and Kathy's background in Art history to create a beautiful home.  The centerpiece of their home are two magnificent reproductions of two ancestors that are particularly inspirational to them.  They were beautiful paintings that really set the tone in their home and I'm sure inspire their children and grandchildren.  What a great example they are of creating a strong family by sharing that family narrative that strengthens the current relationships.

Of course, when we arrived at the center, I was immediately drawn to the "Family Trees" display at the entrance to the center.  They had some nice representations of families but they had one item that particularly interested me.  I had never seen anything like it before.  It was the cross section of a tree that had been planted when a couple were married.  When the tree was cut down, someone when through and showed in the rings of the tree the family's progression, the marriages, the births and so on.  It was awesome.  It made me wish we had planted a tree when we had gotten married.  What a fantastic representation of the growth of a family.   

Another display showed a tree created by a beautiful 8 year old girl. No wonder they were so proud of her and displayed it in the family history center.  I knew when I saw it that in this center were people who shared my passion for involving youth with their family history.  You could tell this girl had caught the bug.  So going in, I knew that my sessions about how to involve your family would be well used in this conference. 

I gave my "Grandma's Bullet Proof Vest" lecture for the keynote as well as three others.  I think it went really well and Dick said the reviews were good.  I had reworked it quite a bit and added several points at the end about the principles I've learned over these past years in working with my children and writing my Zap The Grandma Gap books.  I think it got them thinking about making family history more of a family activity.  I hope they will.  That lecture clearly explains the benefits family history brings into your modern relationships and the strength it gives youth to know about their family's past.  Hopefully I was able to contribute more of that stability to the families in Orange County.  I sure had fun doing it. 

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