Posts Tagged ‘family tree’
Today I have an activity for you. Let’s break down your life, family, and interests. Write a story that includes the following information:
Date of birth
Place of birth
How big were you at birth – both in length and weight?
What color are your eyes? Your hair?
Where did you live when you were born? Who lived with you?
What is your father’s full name? What is his date of birth?
What is your mother’s full name? What is her date of birth?
Name all your siblings and write down their dates of birth.
Do you go to church? Were you baptized? Who are your godparents?
Where have you gone to school? Who were your teachers? What were your favorite subjects?
Have you achieved anything? Won a contest? Received an award for something? Earned an A in a subject you did not like very much?
What hobbies do you have?
Do you play any sports? Are you on any teams?
Do you have pets? If you do not, what pet would you have?
Who are your best friends? What do you like to do together? Where do you hang out?
Make a timeline of important events in your life.
Add important historical events to that timeline. For example: My oldest son was born January 2001. I would put that in. I would mark his birthdays each year. I would mark the date he started school. I would mark the date he did something important. Then I could go add history – 11 September 2001 was an important day in history. He was only 8 months old but it happened during his lifetime.
Write down how much things cost that you use all the time. This could be gas for your car, how much a loaf of bread is or a gallon of milk. How much did you pay for your computer? What kind of computer did you buy? Those sorts of things.
Where have you gone on vacation? What trips did you like best?
Save your responses in your notebook. Check back next week for a guide to write about your parents and grandparents.
If you visited the blog last week you learned about many great PDF resources provided by PBS through their Ancestors series. Today I would like you to download and print a Timeline.
This timeline is great for kids because it outlines every age from birth to age 18 on a sheet about one specific ancestor. At the bottom of the sheet it has a space for listing source documents where you gathered the information. Use this along with the Research Checklist from last week to uncover your ancestral information.
Something to Remember Me By A Story about Love & Legacies by Susan V. Bosak with Laurie McGaw is a book about a grandmother going through the early stages of Alzheimers.
The story begins with a little girl baking cookies with her grandmother. As the story progresses, the girl grows up and her grandmother ages. The grandmother promised the little girl her cedar chest when she grew up. The day came when the girl was grown up and married and heard from her grandmother that it was time to come get the chest. Her grandmother was going to move out of her house and into a nursing home.
The girl visits her grandmother and together they sort through the cedar chest. Together they finish cleaning out her house and prepare to move her to the nursing home. The grandmother says she is worried she will forget her granddaughter. The granddaughter gives her a photograph of the two of them together and writes on the back “Something to remember me by.”
The girl visits her grandmother at the end of her life and instead of seeing the woman she remembers, she sees a woman with a blank look on her face. After sitting with her grandmother and telling her how wonderful she is, the grandmother smiles and turns toward her nightstand. Inside is the photograph of the two of them.
Read the book to find out the ending.
This is Luke. He’s a Chicago Blackhawks hockey lover and this is how he is usually dressed when he’s at home. Sometimes he wears more gear and plays goalie. He is a great ice skater and is amazing at roller blading.
Luke is interested in his family history, especially his cousin Robert Brouk, who was a Flying Tiger in China 1941-1942. Luke is sitting here with me ready for an interview. Let’s see what he has to say.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do at home?
A: Play hockey.
Q: Why do you like Bob Brouk? Why do you think he’s cool?
A: I like the Army and his airplane. I made his airplane out of paper and colored the teeth on the front and colored the wings.
Q: What else do you like about your family history?
A: I like the military guys in our family like Frankie.
Q: What other things do you like?
A: Helicopters, airplaines, firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in kindergarten?
A: Making new friends.
Q: What is something your mom makes you do at home that you don’t like to do?
A: Cleaning my bedroom! But I kind of like cleaning the bathroom sometimes.
Q: How old are you now?
A: 5 years old.
Q: Have you lost any teeth yet?
A: I have a loose tooth.
Q: What are your favorite things to do in the summer?
A: Swimming. Play outside. Make pictures of outside and me in the pool.
Q: What is something fun you do with your dad?
A: Play hockey and play grizzly bear.
Q: What are two things you have that you love more than anything in the whole world?
A: My Auntie Patti Blanket and my Chicago Wolves Hockey t-shirt.
Q: Tell me something you are very good at.
A: Drawing. (Luke can draw very well and is always trying to draw new things like “Bob Brouk Stuff” as he says.)
Thanks Luke for the interview. Mom will keep this for your scrapbook.
Parents, if you want to interview your kids, write down what they say, how they say it. You may look back on it some day and laugh at how they worded certain things.
Did you start writing a diary? Have you added any pictures to it? Nothing is off limits for how you design and write in your diary. Make it yours and let your personality shine.
Let’s talk about a few more Hidden Sources.
Are there any medical records lying around the house? What about baby books with your parents immunization records and illness records? Do you have a baby book with that information? My kids have baby scrapbooks and I recorded their immunizations in there. Thankfully they have not had any major illnesses. One of my kids had heart surgery when he was four months old. I have pictures of him in the hospital and a story about his surgery and stay.
Did your parents save their report cards? What do they look like compared to yours? What kinds of grades did your parents get? What were their favorite subjects?
Ask your parents if they saved any newspapers or news articles from important events in their lives. Events such as the astronauts landing on the moon, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, major events in their city or state, and articles about themselves.
This article is from the Chicago Daily Tribune and shows men who died during World War I from Chicago. The man in the left column, second down, is my great-grand uncle Michael Kokoska. I do not have the physical newspaper but was able to download the page from an online newspaper database through my library.
Be sure to check your library for online databases. You never know what you will find there. Most libraries offer access to a few major newspapers free to patrons.
Related to newspapers are obituaries. Obituaries are death notices in the newspaper. They usually contain the name of the person who died, the names of their living (and sometimes deceased) family members, where the funeral will be held and when, and where they will be buried. Obituaries can tell you a lot about your family.
We talked about Hidden Sources and one of those was a diary. Do you have a diary? If not, why not?
Your activity today is to get a notebook or nice journal and pen or pencil and start a diary. Make sure you put your name inside the cover and date each entry you write. This is not something you need to share with the world. Just something for you to write in and go back to and read as you grow up.
Need some ideas about what to write?
- Things you did today
- Your best friends
- Things you are good at
- Your goals
- Where you want to go on vacation
- What your house looks like
- Talk about your parents and siblings
- Special memories of time spent with grandparents
- Your favorite subjects in school
- Books you love
- Your dreams
Draw in your diary. Cut out pictures and tape or glue them in. I’m an adult and one of my diaries has lists of places I want to visit with my kids. I put pictures of those places in my book on the page where I list the destination. I also have pictures of things I love, like Starbucks Iced Mochas, stacks of books and the beach. To some people, these may seem like silly things, but they paint a picture of who I am.
What will you put in your diary?
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!
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.
Last week we started our family history research. This week we will explore our home for sources that will add information to our tree.
What is a Home Source? Anything that will provide facts on people in our family. This could be a birth or death certificate, funeral card, family Bible, old photographs, a diary, military records, and other documents.
Let’s start with family photographs. Do you have any really old photographs? Do your grandparents or aunts and uncles? Old photographs are a great place to start looking for information. Many times the names of the people are written on the back of the photograph or underneath if the photographs are in a scrapbook or album.
This photograph is of my grandfather – the tall boy standing. His name was Joseph Holik. His parents, John and Marie are seated. The boy on the far left is my great uncle John, the little boy is my great uncle Frank, the little girl is my great aunt Ella, and the tall girl on the right is my great aunt Mae. The photograph was taken in Chicago before 1920.
Next, look for old newspaper articles. Sometimes these can be found in family Bibles or scrapbooks. What information can you gather from a newspaper clipping? This example is a death notice of a great uncle, Emil Ratay(Rataj). From this article I learned a little about his military career and his death.
Do you have a family Bible? Does it contain the names and birth dates, marriage dates and death dates of any of your family? Who wrote in the Bible? Is it something that has been passed down for several generations?
What about military records? Did anyone in your family serve in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II or other wars? Are there medals or patches from uniforms in your house? What about certificates or official discharge papers? All of these items can provide more clues about your relatives.
So what are you waiting for? Start looking for some Home Sources today. Check back tomorrow for more on Home Sources.