Archive for February, 2011
Looking for a more fun way to create a family tree? Purchase my Ebook Family Tree Projects for Kids at my store.
The Ebook is $3.99 and contains two hands-on projects. In the first project kids will create a poster board-sized family tree with pictures. The second project features a more standard family tree that kids can create. This version contains photos to guide kids through the process.
There is a great book called Hidden Sources Family History in Unlikely Places by Laura Szucs Pfeiffer. The point of the book is to briefly describe additional sources of records you might find around the house. Let’s look at a few sources that are not the usual vital records and census documents.
Artifacts are memorabilia passed down through the generations. These artifacts usually contain a story and some clues about the ancestor who first owned the artifact.
This artifact was just sent to me from a woman named Ginny. She married my cousin, Robert Brouk. Robert was a Flying Tiger in China 1941-1942. I just wrote a book about his brief life which included his war diary. Robert died three weeks after he and Ginny married. Ginny helped me fill in parts of Robert’s life and after I sent her a copy of his book, she sent me a few artifacts he brought home from China. This wooden box was one. It is an artifact I will treasure always.
Body Transit Records
Did your family have someone who served in World War I, World War II or beyond, and died during his service? My great-great-uncle Michael Kokoska served in World War I. He was killed in France. This letter is an example of a body transit record. It tells his father where his remains will be shipped.
This record came in a Burial File. The Burial File tells a lot about the soldier’s service, how he died, where he was buried, and even has letters from family members.
Dictionaries and other books
Last weekend I was sorting through some of my artifacts and came across the cover of a dictionary my mom passed to me. Most families write family information inside the cover of a family Bible and list the person’s name, birth date, who they married, and when they died. My grandmother listed these items on the inside cover of a dictionary! Always check the inside of old books before getting rid of them. You never know what you will discover!
If you are a kid, or you are a parent reading this blog, you may have heard of Fancy Nancy. Fancy Nancy is a series of children’s books written by Jane O’Connor. The books are Level 1 Readers, perfect for new readers.
I love Fancy Nancy because she is spectacular and uses big fancy words. After she uses a big fancy word, she will tell you what it means. For example, in the book Fancy Nancy My Family History, Nancy talks about her ancestors and says “All of mine are deceased. That’s fancy for dead.” I also love Fancy Nancy because I have all boys and she is such a girly girl with her cool colorful clothes, sparkly accessories, and fabulous attitude. She is so different from my boys. Sometimes I wish I was more like Fancy Nancy and was sparkly.
In this story, Fancy Nancy has to write a story about one of her ancestors (that’s fancy for family members who lived a long time ago) and then present it to her class. She talks to her grandpa over email about her family and he sends her a picture of his father, her great-grandfather. He tells her about him and Nancy decides to write her story about this man.
The book is short, sweet, and spectacular (that’s a fancy word for great). Check it out if you are looking for a younger kid-friendly book about explaining family history.
I asked my son to write a guest post for me and gave him a few questions to answer. Here is what he had to say.
Why is my family history important to me?
So I can learn how far my family goes back in history.
One interesting thing I learned about my family history is:
My cousin was a Flying Tiger.
If I were interviewing my parents, I would ask these five questions.
1. Did you get expelled?
2. Favorite food
3. Worst grade
4. Favorite teacher
5. Best subject
Other things I want to know about my family history:
1. How many family members served in a war?
2. How many cousins do I have?
3. What is my oldest living family member?
4. Was my family rich?
5. Was my family ever famous?
Yesterday we looked at Home Sources such as Bibles, photographs, military records, and newspaper articles. Today let’s look at other documents that might be around your home.
This is a marriage license for my great grandparents, Joseph Kokoska and Bessie Zajicek. It was issued in Chicago and has their marriage date and location on it. Marriage records are a good source of information. Sometimes they have variations of name spellings which can be helpful when searching for records.
Death certificates are another good source of information. Many list the names of the person’s parents, the person’s birth date and place, death date and place, sometimes an address, spouse’s name and other information. Always keep in mind that you may find a birth date listed on a death certificate that does not match the birth date you found in the family Bible or a birth certificate. In these cases, look for other documents that have the person’s birth date on it to try to figure out which is the correct date.
Mass cards or funeral cards are good sources of information. Some contain birth and death dates and burial location. Others may only contain the death date. Regardless, it is a good source of information.