Can I Turn My Love of Genealogy into a Career?

Dear friends and regular readers of The Armchair Genealogist website!
Today I am addressing you with an important and perhaps unexpected message. As you know, over the years we have been immersed together in the fascinating world of genealogy, exploring family history, tracing family trees, and uncovering the secrets of the past. It has been an incredibly interesting and rewarding journey, and I am immensely grateful for your support, enthusiasm, and active participation in our community.

However, as is often the case in life, it was time for a change. After much thought and careful consideration, I have decided to change the theme of The Armchair Genealogist website. From now on we will be exploring a whole new and exciting area - the world of online gambling.

However, as is often the case in life, it was time for a change. After much thought and careful consideration, I have decided to change the theme of The Armchair Genealogist website. From now on we will be exploring a whole new and exciting area - the world of online gambling.

How Stories Can Save Your Genealogy Research

We all know most of our family are not interested in our genealogy stuff. They roll their eyes at our family history facts. They certainly don’t want our boxes and binders? If they do count yourself lucky.

What our families want are stories.

Everyone loves a story. Why do you think Netflix's is so popular. They want to read stories about their ancestors. They want to connect emotionally with these people. They want to get to know them and understand how they affect their own lives. They want a collection of stories or a book that they can read, enjoy, and share with family and pass on to their descendants.

They want us, the family historian, to bring our research together into stories. Writing ancestor stories is the best way to shape our research into a format our family will engage with and save for future generations.

What if I told you that your family will read, be entertained, and pass on the stories of their ancestors for generations to come. Stories written from your hard work.

Would it not be worth the effort to learn a little bit about how to write a story.

I’ve turned my own research into shareable ancestor stories. I’ve written stories that I’ve combined into a beautiful coffee table style book. I’ve shaped an ancestor story into a children’s book. I’ve also turned an ancestor story into a real murder mystery. Over the last five years, I’ve taught thousands of genealogists how to shape their research into shareable and entertaining ancestor stories.

Today, it is so much easier to write and print stories into a shareable format than ever before.  A family history book does not have to be some large book, too big to write or too expensive to print. Nor does a family history book need to take a lifetime to accomplish.

I get it there are obstacles. You have objections.

  • ·         You don’t have time.
  • ·         You’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.
  • ·         You don’t want to stop researching. I understand. We got into genealogy because we love the research. (Psst… You don’t have to stop the research to write…And you’re going to love the writing as well.)
  • ·         You don’t know how to write. Guess what, neither did I when I started. It’s all entirely learnable.

These are all significant problems. But all easily solved.

What good is all your hard work, all that research if no one today or in the future benefits from it?
Let’s make today, the day you plan to leave your genealogy for the next generation. The day you decide to write your ancestors’ stories that will be shared for generations to come.

No more excuses, okay?

So how do you get started? The Family History Writing Challenge is the perfect place to begin. It is a free 28-day class. You commit to writing your ancestors’ stories for a few minutes every day, and I will support you with our Daily Dose Newsletter, that will offer education, motivation, and inspiration. We will also give you an opportunity to share and exchange writing and ideas in our private Facebook Group. (completely optional to share but you might want to stalk us if you're so inclined.

Inside the Family History Writing Challenge, learn to create a daily writing habit, learn creative writing skills that will make your stories more engaging and entertaining for your readers. You’ll also have to learn how to create a collection of ancestor stories that can be shared with future generations.
When you sign up, we send you a few welcome emails that will help you get started before Feb 1 arrives. (I did say we were going to help you. We will be there every step of the way.)

It’s all free when you sign up to The Family History Writing Challenge.

See you in the Challenge.
Your Coach 

Best of the Best Posts for 2018, According to You!

Wow, this year went fast. I hope you've all had a terrific year and are ready to take on some new genealogy challenges or revisit some old ones in 2019.

Here are our top 5 posts for 2018. 

Hope they can help you get reset for the New Year. 

7 Timelines to Relieve Your Research Overwhelm

6 Tips to Building a Family History Book

Develop a Genealogy Research Plan in 7 Simple Steps

Refocus Your Genealogy in 2018: 10 Steps with Templates

A Gift Guide for the Family History Traveller

Is the family historian in your life a road warrior?

Do they love to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors?

This year inspire their wanderlust with these gifts.

(Contains affiliate links.)

1. Scratch Map - I love these maps. Great for scratching off where you've been or even use to map out family history immigration and migration.

2. Ollioclip Lens Set for iPhone - These days it's all about sharing while on your trip. But you don't have to sacrifice picture quality because you want to post on Instagram. Add this premium multi-element coated glass optics lens for a superior image quality. Fisheye, Super-Wide and Macro 15x lens options included in a single clip to provide diverse creative options.

3. Go Pro – Going for walks through about the village of your ancestors capture it all on your Go Pro. Relive your experience, strap on a GoPro, stay present at the moment while capturing memories.

4. Memory card holders  - I love this. I'm forever losing track of my sd cards. Consider storing your family photos on them. This case is water and shock resistant.

5. Pacsafe - Anything from Pacsafe is a great purchase for the family history traveller keeping valuables safe with their anti-theft system. The crossbody shoulder bag is on my list. But there are plenty of other styles and options to choose from.

6. Wrinkle wiz garment spray - No one wants to iron on a holiday. Pack the wrinkle wiz garment spray. Makes a great stocking stuffer. You want to make a good impression when you meet your new cousins.

8. Speak easy hidden pocket scarves  - Sometimes it just nice to have hands free. This scarf offers a hidden pocket for your cash and passport. And there are a number of styles to suit your wardrobe.

9. Collapsible water bottle - Brillant, I love a water bottle but hate carrying it. This solves the problem.

10. Trtl neck pillow - Tired of those blow-up or bulky pillows. Trtl pillows fold and pack away niclely still offering support and comfort.

11. Travel journal - The writer in me believes everyone needs a travel journal to capture those moments to reflect on later. This journal is especially grand because you can refill it. But it also has pockets for carrying, cards, tickets, passport and cash. Comes in three sizes.

12. Packing cubes - These are all the rage. Keep your suitcase organized and orderly with packing cubes.

13. Luggage weigh scale - No traveller should be without this handy luggage weigh scale. Easy to carry with you and at only $9.99 makes a great stocking stuffer. Could save you a lot of money when it comes to checking that luggage. 

Need help with planning your ancestral travel vacation. 

What do you want to know about preserving your family tree and stories?

What do you want to know about turning your research into entertaining and shareable family history stories? 

What do you want to know about preserving your family tree for future generations?

Every week I get emails from a whole bunch of you about writing your family history stories and preserving your family heritage and stories for future generations. 


How do I structure my story?

How do I write an entertaining story but I want to stay true to the facts?

What’s the best way to publish my stories?

How do I get started, I’m so overwhelmed?

Life keeps getting in the way, I don’t think I’ll ever get done, any advice?

And the list goes on and on.  I love your questions because I am ridiculously passionate about turning genealogy research into family history stories that can be shared and enjoyed today and for generations to come. I want to help everyone find a way to save and preserve their family tree, their ancestor's stories and their own stories for future generations. 

So here is what I’m going to do.  I working on some new courses and expanding some of our current courses for 2019.

2019 is going be a big year as The Armchair Genealogist is celebrating 10 YEARS!

Now, to make 2019 as awesome as possible, I would love to hear what YOUR burning questions are via the form below so I can make sure they are answered.

If you want to be the FIRST to hear about our 2019 courses, you can sign up below, and you will be notified even before my mom (well maybe right after I tell my mom.)

The easy to use Wufoo form builder helps you make forms easy, fast, and fun.

Sign Up to Be the First to Learn of our New Courses

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7 Timelines to Relieve Your Research Overwhelm

 We've all suffered from it - research overwhelm. 

Regardless of whether we are a beginner, or you've been researching for some time, no one is immune from it.
It can sneak up on you, and before you know it, you are suffering. Your symptoms may include not knowing where to go next. You might feel like you are utterly drowning in your research. Maybe your suffering from research exhaustion, a lot searching with no results. The magic pill is a research timeline. 

Research timelines can quickly relieve your pain.  They are just too important not to be a part of your genealogy toolbox. When you make them an integral part of your research process they can advance your research in several ways. Let’s take a look.

1. Organize an Ancestor’s Life– Use a timeline to plot out the history of an ancestor. Gather the events of an ancestor’s life that you have discovered in your research.  Then create a timeline plotting them in chronological order. This helps you to organize your research on the life of a single ancestor.

2. Organize a Family – If you’re currently working on a family unit, timeline again can help put a family life into perspective. For instance, when did the couple meet, marry, the dates of children being born, any emigration or migration, jobs, land, deaths, etc. It’s an excellent opportunity to see a broad view of a family’s life.

3. Organize Several Generations – If you’re tracing several generations of a surname line, it can become quite confusing. Just as you created a timeline for an individual, this time your outline will represent the history of one surname, Each plot point on your timeline represents a generation in chronological order.  Consider adding timeframes, locations to this timeline.

4. Gaps – When we map a timeline either of an individual ancestor, family or several generations we can begin to identify gaps in our research. Missing times, events, and pieces of information all of a sudden become very clear. It becomes an invaluable tool for developing a research list.  

5. Contradictions – One benefit of developing a timeline aside from identifying gaps is recognizing inconsistencies in your research. For instance, an ancestor who may show up in two places at once, a variation in birth dates, different spellings of names are just a few conflicts you'll find when you plot a research timeline. A timeline will shine a spotlight on these contradictions for further examination.  

6. Historical Context – When you plot your ancestor’s life on a timeline it’s essential to also create a parallel outline of significant events happening in the world. Consider not only world events but regional and local events. Identify what was going on in the world around your ancestors. You may begin to see a correlation between these events and your ancestor’s movements. War, political upheaval, change in laws, depression, famine, weather events may correlate with migrations, emigration, change of jobs, the sale or purchase of land, and the death of ancestors to name but a few.

7. Creating a Story – A timeline is an awesome tool for helping you flesh out the story of an ancestor. To restate the life of an ancestor in chronological order has dull written all over it. Plot an ancestor’s life on a timeline to help you identify the achievements in an ancestor’s life. What obstacles he or she overcome in their life to reach that goal. What motivated the journey and what was a stake.
Shape your story around these essential elements, and you’ll have a much more engaging and entertaining story.

Regardless of where you are in your research journey, a timeline can ease your overwhelm pain. 

If you’re a beginner, a timeline can help you put order to your initial information and help you develop a research list.

If you been researching for a while and drowning in research, a timeline can help give you perspective.

However, if you’re further along in your research and ready to write your family history stories, a timeline can help you get started with this stage of your journey as well.

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