Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gift Certificate Sale

So, here we are, after the chart order deadlines for Christmas and Chanukah deliveries and you're in a panic. I've been telling you all month, I am here for you. I've got you covered in so many ways that you may just want to add me to your nice list. While we can't get a chart to you by Chanukah or Christmas at this point, we can get you some gift certificates right now. Right up until December 25th. On sale, too. I know, right?!

Gift Certificates are awesome because they are so easy and they ensure that your family or friends get exactly what they want.  Sometimes people are intimidated to create charts for others because they either don't have access to the files themselves or they aren't sure which lines to include/exclude, or they are worried that what designs their family and friends would like.  Have no fear. Gift certificates were invented for these very reasons.

So just for you, I am running a sale on gift certificates from now until December 22nd. Even if you are a wait-until-the-last-possible-second kind of shopper, you can get an instant gift that doesn't come with a killer price tag. From now until December 22nd, I am offering 25% off of all gift certificates. That means you can give a big ticket item, and still keep 25% of the cost in your pocket. It's so easy and you can print the gift certificate directly from your computer immediately after purchase. Not to mention your loved ones still get a meaningful gift, to their exact specifications, with only a few mouse clicks from you. You save money and get all of the praise without the hassle and sweat. This is absolutely the best way to go as Christmas and Chanukah approach.

Order anytime from December 18th through December 22nd to save 25% off of your entire gift certificate order and then instantly print your gift certificates from your home computer! You'll be the star of the show and you didn't even have to leave your house. In fact, you can order them right now, in your pajamas and slippers, and nobody will know the difference. Let me help you make it a great holiday season at your house. Or your mother's house. Or your Aunt Edna's house. Wherever the gift certificates are going, take comfort knowing that we will help your friends and family create the perfect chart that will last for generations. That's the best kind of gift around, if you ask me!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Oh, How I Love Webinars

I am very excited to announce that I have been accepted to present in two different webinar series in 2015.  I love webinars because they are convenient and can reach so many people across the world.  And, as audience members, you can even attend them in your pajamas and slippers.  There's no judgement here, folks.

The first series I am thrilled to be part of is sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society.  The series for 2015 is titled GROW What You KNOW.  My presentation will be held February 18, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., MST.  I'm joining with many leading experts within the genealogical field and I feel very honored to have been invited to be part of this series.  Be sure you take a look at the schedule and register for my webinar, along with any others you find interesting.

The second webinar series I will be part of is sponsored by the Illinois State Genealogical Society, in conjunction with FamilySearch.  My participation won't be until November but there are great webinars held each month that you can start registering for right now.  Be sure to take a look at the schedule and start marking your calendars.

I really am thrilled to start taking part in more webinar series and it's kind of a big deal for me, so I wanted to share this exciting news with each of you.  So as this year winds down and we all start looking forward to next year and the classes and conferences we each want to attend, be sure to sign up for a few (especially mine!) that you can attend without ever leaving your house.  It's just too good to pass up.  I hope you'll join me!

Friday, December 12, 2014

My Top Ten List for Why You Need a Chart

Today I thought I'd do a little reminder.  Although people understand what I and my company do, I am not sure people always understand the variety of uses for the products my company, Family ChartMasters, provides. So, as a result, I have come up with a "Top Ten List" of sorts on the many reasons and uses for the purchase of a custom Family ChartMasters chart (decorative or working-they both have endless possibilities). Some of these ideas are from a previous post.

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." And it makes sense, right?  We genealogists put in hours upon hours of work but rarely give ourselves the pay-off of seeing it all on display. A decorative chart is a fantastic pay-off!

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. If a chart can thaw that kind of deep freeze, there is some serious mojo behind it!

3) Join two families. A step family chart, or a wedding chart is a great way to celebrate the start of a new life. I can't imagine a better way to display the merging of two families.

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 once where the organizers didn't want anyone to write on the chart. Instead, 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. Working charts just cry out to be edited.

6) Inspire yourself. I'm betting most of the people reading this post have never been to one of my lectures. I often tell about a time, several years ago, when I was late for an appointment and trying to get ready to leave town the next day when 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 through the next two weeks as workers ripped out our kitchen and recarpeted everything al while my daughter was in the hospital (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 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. If not, maybe my kids will get it. (Yeah right.) So, the least I can do is pay it forward for future generations and create a chart so the visual is there, easy to read, and ready to build upon in further researching down the road.

8) Inspire your kids. I want my kids to know where they came from, and the decorating in our home reflects that. Once, not to long ago, when my son wouldn't finish a book report, I jokingly reminded him that he descended from the very prolific Pratt family and he had it in him to stick to the task and finish it. He knew he wasn't getting out of it. Poor kid. But at least I, as a parent, had a ready to prove display on hand to say, "See, I'm serious! You can do it."

9) Appreciate someone. This one kind of goes with #2. We do lots of charts for anniversary parties, retirements, 80th - 90th birthdays and etc. I can't tell you how special people feel when they see the time, care, and effort that goes into a chart honoring them and their family. It's one of my favorite parts of creating charts--hearing how touched someone was to receive it as a gift.

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 database. We at Family ChartMasters can print from any genealogy file. A working chart of a new database sent to you by a third cousin or a great aunt can help your productivity in further your research because you can see it and annotate and make notes as you go. It's a no-brainer.

So there is my top ten suggestions for why you need a Family ChartMasters custom made chart in your home or to give as a gift.  The holiday season is upon us and charts make the perfect gifts for family, friends, and for yourself. Be sure to contact us today for a free consultation and we can still get a chart out to you in time for Christmas.  We look forward to creating the perfect gift or keepsake for you soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Introducing My New E-Books

At long last, for the first time ever, I am pleased to announce that all of my Zap the Grandma Gap books and workbooks are now available in e-book form! It was a bit of a curve ball for this traditional librarian to decide to go digital, but with great thanks to my employee, Christine, I am ready to offer you all portable versions of each of my books, including my three brand new workbooks.

With hundreds of live links to all of the best genealogy sites all over the web and instant delivery, these e-books are sure to be a hit with your family members.  We hope this new delivery system will make it even easier to share your family history with your family members. 

And to celebrate this exciting milestone, I am offering an introductory sale on all of the e-books. If you missed out on the 20% off pre-order sale, have no fear, I've got you covered in a couple of directions with this new sale. We currently have two offers to help you spread the family history bug this holiday season:
  1. Purchase a hard copy of any of my books or workbooks and receive the e-book of that same book for only $1.  This is a great option for giving a book and keeping a book. You can't beat a little personal reward for just a dollar, can you? Just place the order for a hard copy book and then order the same book in the e-book format.  Click on over to your cart when you are ready to check out and the e-book will automatically be adjusted in your cart to only $1. 
  2. Purchase 5 or more e-books and receive 50% off your entire e-book order. Say you've banished paper books from your house and only live by your iPad? No problem, I've got you covered! The more you buy of my e-book editions, the more you'll save.  Buy multiple copies of the same e-book to share with your children or grandchildren, or purchase one of each just for yourself, it won't matter because you'll receive 50% off and you'll be saving tons! On this offer, you'll need to enter the promotional code "Zap5HalfPrice" and the sale will automatically appear in your shopping cart. Kind of like magic but more like computer programming.
I'm doing my best to lessen your trips to the store this December and e-books just can't get any simpler. They are great for gift-giving or for personal reading when you have a few spare minutes (on the bus or train, while you wait for your car's oil change, in the doctor's office, in line at the store...). Take a moment to review all of my Zap the Grandma Gap e-books and add some to your digital reader today. Order extra copies to send to friends or family. The more you give, the more you save! Win-Win for everyone, if you ask me.
The digital e-books will automatically arrive with a downloadable link directly to your email address (all books are .pdf files). The link is not sharable, unless you purchase multiple copies of the book (this is where our multiple copy sale comes in). The copyright on these e-books are for personal, home use only. However with our hard copy/digital copy sale, you can easily keep the print version and send on the e-book copy on without any concerns over copyright issues (or vice versa). Hopefully both sales will give you plenty of flexibility in all of your gift-giving needs. Grandma's love to send the digital copies to their children to use in their own homes and then keep hard copies for when the grandkids come to visit. One sibling can purchase multiple digital copies of the books or workbooks, for all of his or her brothers and sisters, so everyone can share in the joy of researching their family heritage. Or keep all of the copies for yourself as a secret hat trick for when family comes to visit you! The possibilities are pretty much endless. And yet the results are ultimately the same: helping you and your family connect to your past ancestors in order to build stronger bonds right now.

Let us know how it goes with your family members.  We love to hear about your successes in sharing your family's history with the next generations.  Thanks for helping us share this important topic and strengthening families.  We hope it strengthens your relationships--especially at this time of year.  Happy holidays from all of us!

Monday, December 8, 2014

We Make Grandmas Happy and In-Laws Proud

A Chart for Shelley Bishop and her family.
It's official, we're in full-swing holiday season preparations at my house and here at Family ChartMasters. Everyone is, though, right? Decorations are up, greetings are coming and going, and you are looking at your gift list wondering what to give your grandma or your persnickety (maybe, maybe not) in-laws. Let me help you with that last one!

I have been saying it for years (years!) that we are your best, one-stop, make 'em all happy, gift-giving helpers. Decorative charts are the way to even the biggest Grinch's heart. Guaranteed to grow someone's heart at least three times! In fact, a few years ago, I heard back from a customer who told me that her father-in-law hadn't spoken to her in almost 30 years (Um... !!!) and then she gave him a decorative chart for Christmas one year and it all changed. She suddenly became The Golden One. Dramatic, but true story. It never fails, too, that each year I have a newlywed or two that want to make a good impression, and I am usually on speed dial. I love helping in situations like these. Because my business is all about tying family generations together. And what better way to secure present bonds than to remember past bonds. It's family history magic of the most powerful kind.

And don't get me started on grandmas. We love, love, LOVE grandmas! Smiles abound, and maybe even a few tears, when you present grandma or grandpa with a multi-generational chart of their family's history. They see where they came from, and then they see where their family is going. To have a solid footprint in the midst of all of it, on display, belays so many fears and concerns of being forgotten or unappreciated. In fact, in some of the research I am doing, I found a study that shows how family history research helps the elderly to feel more secure in themselves because it eases their fears of being forgotten. So a chart for grandma isn't just a chart, it's absolutely, scientifically proven happiness too!

Take a look at some of our past happy customers. I think their faces say it all, but you can decide for yourself:

The Bishop Family "before"...

...and AFTER! Smiles everywhere!

These are some pictures Shelley Bishop sent us from a chart we did for her a few years ago. It was so neat to see how excited everyone was over this gift. So not only were the recipients happy, so were the givers!

And here are some more happy folks, thrilled with their gifts too. I really love being part of so many smiles! As you can see, decorative charts are home runs with everyone, but especially in-laws, grandparents, and friends. Let us help you spread the family history cheer for someone in your life. Contact us today for a free estimate. Let us help you make some happy memories this year!