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July 18, 2007

Creating Ancestor Cards for Children

A lot of people wrote to ask me what program I used to make the Ancestor Cards for my grandchildren. I tried a few different ones before settling on Excel. Each card that I created is 6x9 cm. (about 2.5x3.5 inches). I wanted to make sure the cards were not bigger than a baseball or hockey card so that I could buy a binder with plastic inserts and slots to hold the cards when complete.

I created 6 rectangle cells in Excel to the size I wanted, and saved 2 copies - one for the front (photos) and one for the back (text). Then I inserted the photos I wanted, cropped them if needed, and formatted them to the size I needed. I could have sized them first in something like Irfanview (a free graphic program) and then inserted them into Excel. Play with it, have fun, see what you can come up with!

I tried Picassa (a free download from Google) and Word, both printed beautifully but I had trouble lining up my back text with the photos on the front. Picassa prints beautifully, and you can automatically shrink the photos you use to fit the size card you want to make. It much easier and faster than Excel.

If you are more familiar with Word or Picassa than I am, perhaps you can make it work for you. You could also make each card slightly smaller so you get 9 cards on each sheet instead of 6. If you come up with a better method than I used, please let me know!

July 16, 2007

Ancestor Cards for Children

Recently I've been mulling over how to present the genealogy I've done on our family so that it would grab my 9 year old grandson's attention. My good friend Illya of Genealogy Today suggested I use a baseball or hockey card format with one ancestor per card.

I loved the idea and created cards 6 cm x 9 cm. Each card features one ancestor's picture or a picture representing that ancestor. The back of each card has ancestor stats - their relationship to my grandchildren, date and place of birth, date and place of death, spouse's name, parents' names and a tiny blurb about that person (hopefully something unique or of interest to an 9 year old!)

After laminating the cards, I presented them to my grandson and granddaughter (who is 7) when they came for their annual summer week long holiday with us. They loved them and not only read every bit of information about each ancestor, they began figuring out who was the oldest ancestor.... who died at the oldest age... who died at the youngest age... which parents went with which ancestor.. and so on.

Then they decided to play a game, which we called simply "Ancestor Game". They each chose an ancestor card and played it, with whoever had the furthest back ancestor winning both cards. The next day they begged me to make more cards!! I now have 48 cards made for them with many more to go. To add even more interest I also created cards that were not direct ancestors, but had some small claim to fame or something historical or interesting to a child. Thank goodness for my Family Tree Maker Genealogy Program which tells me if a person is a 3rd cousin 5x removed or something else!

We decided I should also make double cards wherever possible, that is, two cards for one ancestor but with different photos or representative pictures on each one. Then they can play "Go Fish for Ancestors".

It was a genealogist's dream come true - for 5 days they asked for "more ancestor stories please Grandma!" and "Can you make us more Ancestor Cards?" When their mom called to see how they were doing, the first words out of my grandson's mouth were "Mom, you won't believe about one of our ancestors!" and he proceeded to quote from the Ancestor Cards.

I thought I'd like to share this in case you are looking for something to capture your little one's interest, because it was fabulous and my grandchildren loved it!

July 9, 2007

Ancestor Birth Record Finder

Can't find your ancestor in Birth records?

Most genealogists search Birth records such as Church records and Vital Stats (Birth Registrations or Certificates). If we don't find our ancestor in one of those birth records, we're stuck! Where to search next? My ABF (Ancestor Birth Finder) can help. I am pleased to announce that the complete book Ancestor Birth Record Finder: Tips on Finding a Birth Record When You've Hit a Brick Wall is available on Amazon as  an E-Book for only $1.15

What happens when a child is born? When a woman becomes pregnant? What events take place around the birth of a child? What kind of birth record paper trail is created on the birth of an individual? The answers to these questions will lead you to other sources of birth records and hopefully end that brick-wall.

When an ancestor is born, many records leading up to and surrounding that birth might be created. Let's talk about records kept before an ancestor birth and those created after a birth.

July 7, 2007

1901 & 1911 Census of Ireland Coming Soon

The National Archives of Ireland has arranged for the digitisation, indexing and contextualisation of its most popular records, the census records for 1901 and 1911.

The resulting website will contain images of the forms for each household and institution, which will be indexed by name (all names), townland/street, age and sex.

The first phase of the project, Dublin City and County 1911, is to be launched in Autumn 2007.

For more census records for America, Canada and United Kingdom see

July 1, 2007

Dating Ancestor Photographs

A new Genealogy Section is now online on Olive Tree Genealogy. It is devoted to helping researchers identify Ancestor Photos.

It is a companion project to Lost Faces - Photo Albums, which is the rescue of old albums from the mid to late 1800s

You can read and see graphic examples online of

* Types of Early Photographs

* Hints for Dating Old Photographs

* Dating Old Photographs through Clothing & Hairstyle

* How Revenue Stamps Can Date Ancestor Photos

Feel free to pass this news on to anyone you think might be interested. Enjoy!