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Feb 15, 2013

In this episode we wrap up my 50 Fabulous Family History Favorites List

On Friday I babysat my two grandsons Davy and Joey, and I put together a little game that was prompted by a listener email.

You met long time listener and Premium Member Dot in Australia during our virtual Christmas Party in episode 147, and after the show aired, Dot wrote me to say how much she enjoyed it and to tell me about a little concentration game she put together for her granddaughter. 

When my kids were growing up we called in the Memory Game and I know some folks call it the Match Game. But no matter what you call it, it’s the game where you have a set of cards that are all pairs, and you lay them upside down in rows on the table and two at a time turn them over trying to find matches. The person with the most matches wins. Dot made up cards with photos of her family members.

She writes: “She opened the little box I was holding and went through the photos one by one. We put a few pairs down at a time, and as she turned them over she matched them. I included our pets as well.”

I wrote Dot back to let her know that had something similar. You have to sign in to your free account. In the menu you will find the MyHeritage Family Game under the Apps tab

When Davy, who is three years old, arrived on Friday I got to thinking about all this, and I quickly whipped together a set of cards using photos of family members and ancestors.

How to Make a Quick Memory Game:

  1. Software:  Microsoft Publisher
  2. Create one rectangle outline shape the desired size of the cards
  3. Copy and paste the shape to fill up the page. (I fit 6 cards per page)
  4. Duplicate the page enough times to have enough cards for a game. (I just started with 9 pairs)
  5. Using the Insert Picture feature, fill each rectangle with a digital photo from your computer
  6. (adjust the size of the image to fit the rectangle so all the cards would be uniform.)
  7. Print them out on Glossy Photo paper
  8. Cut out the cards

It was a lot of fun and a great way to incorporate family history in to daily activities. I think when we do that it makes family history more of a natural part of our kid’s lives.

Dot also mentioned to me that she found an app for her iPad called Match. (Update: this app appears to be discontinued. Try Match the Memory at ) 

And the other fun things I did this weekend was watch a movie called Play the Game. My daughter Hannah told me about it and set it up in my Netflix Instant Queue when she was here over the holidays, and we finally got a chance to sit down and watch it. If you’re looking for a Valentine’s movie to watch with your sweetie, this is it.

It is a little independent film from 2008 starring one of my all-time favorites – Andy Griffith. It’s about the relationship between a young man and his grandfather, and how they coach each other through their love lives. It’s funny, and sweet, and that’s very refreshing. You can check it out at the movie’s website called



GEM: 50 Fabulous Family History Favorites

Free Charts
Genealogy charts in one form or another have been around since people started keeping track of their family history. And even with all the technology we have today, sometimes there is just no substitute for a paper chart to help you work through the complicated relationships in your family tree. My first favorite gems are in the chart category, free charts that you can use online and offline to help you keep things organized, as well as help you share your family tree with others.


26. About Genealogy

View, download, save and print free family tree charts and forms including U.S. Census Extraction forms. In this collection you will find traditional family tree suitable for printing, as well as interactive charts that allow you to type in the fields online (using the free Adobe Reader program) before saving them to your computer. 



Deep in the Ancestry website are a diverse collection of free downloadable forms and charts. Select from Ancestry Ancestral Form, Research Calendar, Research Extract, Correspondence Record, Family Group Sheet, Source Summary, US, UK and Canadian Census forms.


28. Family Tree Magazine 

Offers a wide selection of free downloadable charts including a Five-Generation Ancestor Chart, Family Group Sheet, Research Calendar, and Repository Checklist. You’ll also find forms for Cemetery Transcription, Immigration, Records, Oral History, Heirlooms, and census extraction forms for every US enumeration.



At they offer an online decorative Family Tree Fan Chart template suitable for framing.  In the search box on the site’s home page search for “Family Tree Charts” and you’ll find several lovely charts in the results list that include instructions and downloadable templates. You’ll also find other “good things” including free videos and family tree display ideas.



The Family ChartMasters chart creation tool--Family ChArtist-- is a great way to make a decorative 8.5x11 chart suitable for scrapbooking, framing or other craft projects.  Enter your information manually or via gedcom and choose one of the simple pedigree chart designs.  You can edit your information and then choose from hundreds of borders, background and embellishments or even use your own pictures in your chart. 


You can tell by the way I opened this show that I love a good movie, and I particularly love movies with family history themes and stories of immigration. This next group of favorites is what I consider to be some of the best:


31. Full of Life

“Writer Nick and his wife Emily are expecting their first child. When a necessary home repair proves too costly to afford, Nick must swallow his pride and visit his father, a proud immigrant stonemason with whom he has a difficult relationship, and ask him to do the work. Confronting the issues of religious and family tradition which have separated father and son causes Nick and Emily to reevaluate their lives and the things they value most.” Starring the incredible Judy Holliday who you’ll remember from the original version of the movie Born Yesterday, and Richard Conte


32. Sweet Land

Episode 30

The Movie website:

When Lars Torvik’s grandmother Inge dies in 2004, he is faced with a decision – sell the family farm on which she lived since 1920, or cling to the legacy of the land. Seeking advice, he turns to the memory of Inge and the stories that she had passed on to him.

The movie is based on Will Weaver’s short story A Gravestone Made of Wheat and shot on location in Southern Minnesota.

33. The Emigrants

Starring Max Von Sydow. In episode 24 I mentioned the book which was made into a movie.  Episode 24

(Swedish: Utvandrarna) “The Emigrants” is a 1971 Swedish film directed by Jan Troell. It tells the story of a Swedish group who emigrate from Småland, Sweden to Minnesota in the 19th century. The film follows the hardship of the group in Sweden and on the trip. The film is based on the first two novels of The Emigrants suite by Vilhelm Moberg: The Emigrants and Unto a Good Land.”


34. America, America

(British title The Anatolian Smile) A 1963 American dramatic film directed, produced and written by Elia Kazan, from his own book. In this tale, loosely based upon the life of Kazan's uncle. Turner Classic Movies has started showing it occasionally, so check their schedule.


Conferences and Events
One question I get asked a lot is about conferences. Most folks don’t have the time or money to attend them all, and I often get asked, if I could go to just one which would it be? Well, first and foremost it’s the one that has the kind of classes you are looking for  for your particular research, but I do have some overall opinions on conferences that I think you really can’t go wrong with.

35. SCGS Jamboree 

36. FamilySearch’s RootsTech

37. Mesa Family History Expo 

38. WDYTYA Live in London (Update: This conference has been discontinued)

39. Alberta Genealogical Society Conference


Stuff for Kids

Every day that we invest in genealogy research it becomes even more important that we capture the interest of the next generation in family history. If we don’t, it could all be lost and for nothing. This next group of faves are tools you can use to accomplish this important task.

40. Disney’s The Tigger Movie

41. Family Tree Magazine Kids

42. Zap the Grandma Gap

43. My Boards on Pinterest


My Favorite Episodes

44. The Forensic Linguist Dr. Robert Leonard

Episode 89

Episode 90


45. My interview with Venice

Episode 38


46. Interview with Lisa Kudrow

Episode 81


47. Chris Haley sings

Episode 91


48. Steve Luxenberg

Episode 120 and Episode 121


49. Interview with Gena Ortega

Episode 137  and Episode 138


50. Heritage Quilts

Episode 39