Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twilight to New Moon…How does your family fit in?

Twilight to New Moon? What does that have to do with family history? Well, take a mini-break from plowing through your family photos. Consider how you can encourage the next generation to understand family history.
First, you need to talk their language. And what better way than to use one of the icons of teen life, that is, the Twilight saga.

Everywhere you look this holiday season, you see the books, the commercials and the movies of the Twilight saga.

Whether you or your teen are Team Jacob or Team Edward, you can bring the Twilight experience closer to your own family without putting any lives at risk. Here’s how.

My favorite part of the saga is when Jacob tells the stories and legends of the Quileute tribe. Storytelling is not unique to Jacob’s family. Oral traditions are the basis of family history from the beginning of time. What is unique about his family’s tale is that it explains how Jacob became Jacob.

We can learn about our own family by using some of these same techniques. And, the holidays create the perfect atmosphere to uncover your own family’s legends. As relatives gather together, you can be the catalyst for igniting the conversation about your family’s history. Sit with some of the oldest family members, perhaps a grandparent or aunt or uncle. Make sure they are at ease and comfortable. Most will be delighted to talk with you and you can guide their stories with your questions. Just ask a few of these thought-starters below and you can learn more about your family than you ever realized.

*What is your very first memory?
*What was Christmas like when you were a child? How did your family celebrate?
*What was the best present you ever received at Christmas? Why?
*Tell me about your grandparents. Where did they live? What were their jobs?
*What was a typical day like for you as a child?
*What was my Mom/Dad like as a child?
*What do you remember about the day I was born?

There are many, many more questions you can use. Be sure to ask good follow-up questions to gain a better understanding. Don’t forget to say “Why?” to flesh out details which may have been forgotten.

Jacob understands the value of his family’s history and he keeps the history alive by sharing it. You can do the same thing. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where your family has been. And, most important of all, your family history tells the story of how you became you.

Now get back to plowing through your photos, email the best one to, and you might win two tickets to the Mesa Family History Expo. Perhaps you can take someone from the Twilight generation with you. Or, register now to be sure you attend at

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Win Free Tickets to the 2 Day Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona! Here's how...

I love contests almost as much as I love family history. So I am excited to announce the "Value Meals on the Volga" blog contest to win two free tickets for a full two-day registration to the 2010 Mesa, Arizona Family History Expo.

The expo is January 22 and 23 and is jam packed with excellent speakers and exhibitors who will take your family history experience to the next level.

How can you win? Submit your favorite historic family photograph in an electronic format. (See my example on the right). Tell us in a paragraph or two how you received the photo and why this photo is such a special part of your family. Email your entry to

Entries will be uploaded to this blog. Readers can vote on the best and in the event of a tie, my vote will be the tie breaker.

Hurry and enter as soon as possible! The deadline is January 15. The winner will be announced on this site.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tired of shopping? Sit back, relax, and consider a real gift for your family

If you are like me, you have a few more remaining items on your shopping list to buy before Thursday. Should you stop Monday after work, or wait til Christimas Eve? When should you visit the grocery store? Would they really like this gift? Should I give money instead? The questions and options are endless.

We can get so busy during Christmas week, sometimes need to sit back, relax and consider new options. And while the gifts I have are meant to please, there are times I wonder if I ever get the right match for all of those on my list. Have you seen the Peyton Manning commerical where he presents the woman with the mouth guard? I have actually seen the expression and heard the sigh of that woman as she holds the gift between her index finger and thumb from my own family.
Consider stepping back from the traditional way of shopping. Gifts under the tree sometimes only last as long as the wrapping paper.

Give yourself the gift you deserve. Give yourself the time to research your family history. This is the gift which can be passed down from generation to generation. Only if you get started now.

Don't know where to start? One of the Family History Expos can jumpstart your plan. There are expos throughout the country, but if you happen to be in Arizona, the Mesa convention is right around the corner. Join us! Where else can you rub elbow with Tim Sullivan the CEO of (pictured above) and Lisa Louise Cooke, host of the Genealogy Gems (pictured on the right). Plus, there will be so many opportunities to learn the latest in genealogical research including how to use social networking.

Register today at and give yourself the gift you really want.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Win Free Tickets to the Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona!

Details will be posted here soon on how you can win free tickets to this phenomenal event on January 22nd and 23rd at the Mesa Convention Center.

Save these dates and register today. You won't want to miss any of the valuable information during this jam packed two day event.

For more details on this event, check out

Friday, December 11, 2009

From Twilight to New Moon...

"From Twilight to New Moon, " my latest article on how to involve kids in family history, published this week in the Edukid Newspaper. If any of you or your family members have read the "Twilight" saga, you can easily relate the characters to your own genealogical search.

In Arizona, copies are available at Barnes & Noble (Dana Park) in Mesa. Will be available on the edukid web site by the weekend and I will add the link when it is online.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

From Arizona Family History Expo to St. Nick's Day

It has been a great week for family history. Earlier this week I was selected to become a blogger of honor for the Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona on January 22 and 23rd. It is a jam packed two day event for which I will offer previews and on the spot updates. This expo is the event of the year for Arizona family historians and genealogists. If you haven't already registered for the event, click this link and register today at With over 37 expert speakers and a multitude of exhibitor booths, this is an event you won't want to miss.

For updates on the expo, visit

Yesterday I spoke to over sixty people at the Arizona Sun Chapter meeting. My topic, What is facebook? and why do Germans from Russia need to know about it?, sparked excellent discussion with the attendees. Everyone learned and the potluck lunch was the best ever. The Babitzke Annual Raffle generated $226 in donations for AHSGR headquarters.

And as a close to the weekend, I continue to be impressed with St. Nick's ability to choose the perfect gifts to celebrate his feast day. I received a hard cover version of The Time Traveler's Wife, my oldest daughter received Our Noise, the story of Merge Records, and my youngest daughter received Twilight, a Parody. What a wonderful preview for the holidays yet to come. And, our celebration of St. Nicholas is one of our all time favorite family traditions.