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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Congratulations Winner of the Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt 3

    The "Easter Eggs" have all been found and Brenda Ciesla is the winner of the Heirloom Registry Hunt #3 Prize Package. She will receive a great bundle of prizes from Heirloom Registry and friends:

    Plan Your Way to Research Success Webinar, from Marian Pierre-Louis
    Antique Trader Collectibles 2013 Price Guide
    Heirloom Registry Heirloom Stickers
    How to Archive Family Keepsakes, ebookfrom Denise Levenick 

    Check the Heirloom Registry Blog later today for the announcement of the Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize winner.


    The Heirloom Hunt is On: Find the Clue in The Family Curator's Pirate Treasure Chest

    I'm a pushover for vintage collectables, and when we found this beat-up old pirate toy chest in my in-law's house, we knew right away it had a bright future in our home. The Heirloom Registry was the perfect place to record the history of this family keepsake so that its story didn't get lost.

    The Pirate Toy Chest

    I first wrote about rescuing the toy chest last October in Heirloom, Keepsake or Trash. I did more research to discover the toy company's long history in manufacturing wooden toys and children's furniture and wrote about it in Before the Pirate Toy Chest Became an Heirloom.

    It was fascinating to read about the growth and success of the Cass Toy Company in Athol, Hingham, and Somerville, Massachusetts, and in Brent, Alabama, with showrooms on Fifth Avenue in New York City. As the story unfolded, I was sad to learn that the company closed its doors in 1997, and that the factory building was completely demolished by fire in January 2012.

    Our pirate toy chest now features an Heirloom Registry metal plate with a unique identification code. Anyone who wants to know more about the toy chest and its original owners can read about it at The Heirloom Registry. I love knowing that its history is preserved and shared with family and friends. 

    You can read the toy chest's story at The Heirloom Registry by visiting the Registry website and entering the unique identification code shown in the photograph below. 

    Join the fun of The Heirloom Registry's Online Scavenger Hunt by finding the secret word hidden in the Heirloom Registry record for our pirate toy chest.

  • If you’d like to start the scavenger hunt now, I suggest you first go to The Houstory Hearth blog’s special Scavenger Hunt Page. There you’ll find information about the hunt, the prizes – and most importantly the list of the other three blogs you’ll need to visit today.
  • If you already know what you’re doing, here’s the Heirloom Registry ID Code you need to obtain my secret word: KBQG-781-977-4526-2012.
  • If this is your final stop for Hunt No. 3, be sure to submit your entry form with your secret words before Sunday, March 10, 2013 at midnight PST. Good luck – and happy hunting!
  • Wednesday

    The Genealogy Guys Have "Family Stuff" Too! 

    How to Archive Family Keepsakes Book Review


    George Morgan and Drew Smith, otherwise known as The Genealogy Guys, have published the The Genealogy Guys Podcast #248 which features a detailed review of How to Archive Family Keepsakes.  From George's comments, it sounds like he's dealing with inherited photographs, documents, and memorabilia like so many family historians.

    I think of the Genealogy Guys Podcast as a kind of World Genealogy News Round-Up, and I'm honored to hear the book featured on their show. The review starts about 15 minutes into the podcast, but you'll want to listen to the entire program to hear George and Drew highlight new record releases, more book reviews, and answers to reader email.

    I'm delighted that you found my new book helpful with your photo digitization project, George. As you say, sometimes we end up as "Accidental Archivists" and although we may not be trained in archival methods, we can learn how to be good caretakers of our ancestor's treasures.

    Thanks, Guys!


    WDYTYA LIVE Report 3: Remember Me!

    Who Will Tell Your Story When You're Gone?


    Of course, genealogy and family history is all about ancestry, but I noticed a definite product trend at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE for new products and services to promote preserving personal history. 

    Speaking Lives

    Speaking Lives is a service that makes an audio recording of your family history as a CD or MP3. The company offers one to three hour interviews, or customized projects. Interesting service.

    The Album People

    If you are looking for a professional digitizing service for your photographs and videos, The Album People offer a unique and very personalized service. They will come to your home with their equipment and scan your family photos on site. This eliminates the worry of shipping and possible loss. Or, they will pick up your photos and do the work at their office. The final images are delivered to you on a flash drive organized into meaningful folders with logical, accessible structure. I spoke with the creator Elad Ben Elul  for some time about the program and was impressed by his enthusiasm and service.

    He emphasized that he designed the project to meet people's needs -- accessible photos and digital files. The service only starts with digitizing; they will add metadata tags and keywords, organize files in a folder structure, correct and enhance as necessary, and create beautiful digital slideshows of your images. Talk about full-service!

    Lisa Louise Cooke (left) and Janet Hovorka book signing.

    Lisa Louise Cooke and Janet Hovorka were right in step with the theme of preserving personal history. The steady flow of visitors at their stand showed a high interest in Janet's new book Zap the Grandma Gap: Connect With Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History and Lisa's books and dvds on using Google Earth to personalize family connections.

    Autograph Books for Grown Ups

    Genealogists love finding a diary or journal that belonged to our ancestor; but, are we doing our part to pass on our own life story? If facing a blank journal seems overwhelming, two new memory book series might be your cup of tea. 

    All About Everybody and From You to Me are two new companies creating personal journals designed to record personal history and life events. 

    Creators of the From You to Me memory book series.

    From You to Me offers all kinds of individual and parent and child journals plus small card journals. The full-color illustrations decorate each page with journal prompts and questions. I looked at the book "Our Story: for my son" which has room for eighteen years of memories (six pages per year). The emphasis is on the relationship between parent and child, which seems different than some books more about recording events.

    Journals come in two design series: one features a flowering tree with photos and the other whimsical hand drawings. The books are currently available in the UK, but are being edited for an American edition that will change "Mum" to "Mom" and exchange American English for British English.

    All About Everybody creators.

    A completely different kind of personal journal has been designed by Red Cherry Trading Publishing. The All About Everybody series is a kind of "autograph book for grownups."


    About the size of the large Moleskin journal, this series offers four books printed on high quality paper. Each features beautiful illustrations and is designed to be used a bit differently from a traditional journal or memory book. Val and Amanda Carpenter explained to me that they were inspired to make the book after finding a similar book owned by an aunt in the 1930s. Evidently, she passed her book amongst her friends and asked them to answer short questions about themselves. The result was a book that showed relationships between many people, not just the memories of the owner.

    The idea behind the journals captured by imagination and I purchased two books: In My Family and On My Special Birthday. I love the way the type is large enough to read comfortably without my reading glasses!!! The books include questions pages for 40 people: two pages of short questions followed by two blank pages for photos, drawings, whatever. The birthday book would be a great gift for one of those zero years.

    This post is part of a series about Who Do You Think You Are LIVE in London. You might also enjoy:

    Meeting the Metropolitan Police at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE

    WDYTYA Report 1: This Genealogy Event is BIG!

    WDYTYA Report 2: Exhibitors and Experts



    WDYTYA LIVE Report 2: Exhibitors and Experts

    Who Do You Think You Are LIVE: Bigger Than A Football Field

    Photo Detective Maureen Taylor examined hundreds of photos at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE

    Imagine a genealogy exhibit hall just a bit larger than a football field and you have some idea of main floor at Olympia National for Who Do You Think You Are LIVE. Add two-thirds again and you have the gallery space used for more show exhibits and activity. 

    View from the gallery looking down on the main hall

    The main entrance dropped me into the center of the hall -- right? left? or straight ahead? I decided to start and one end and work my way around the room. One time around for an overview, and back again for serious investigation. Right away I noticed the many book and magazine stalls -- I counted five family history magazines and at least three major book publishers. I also noticed many many stands offering "expert" consultations for all kinds of research.

    Ancestors Magazine, taking orders for new digital magazine

    Helen Osborn, co-founder of Pharos Tutors and author of new book Genealogy:Essential Research Methods

    Oxford genealogy help from local experts

    Wiltshire Genealogy

    As I wandered the hall, I tried to snap representative photos of the kinds of products and services on offer. I couldn't help but notice the large seating areas throughout the hall where vendors and speakers maintained a steady schedule of presentations on everything from software training to research techniques. 

    Look just below the large photographs at the FindMyPast stand and
    you'll see people seated for the ongoing talks at this booth.
    It was usually standing-room-only for these lively presentations.

    The upstairs gallery was actually a wide exhibit area, and was used for lectures and photograph exhibits along with consultation areas for the photo and heirloom experts.

    Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, at the photo expert tables.

    Eric Knowles, Heirloom Detective

    The gallery also held large conference rooms where some of the presentations were scheduled. I didn't manage to get a reserved ticket for the Richard III talk by Dr. Turi King, but I was able to stand at the back of the room for the entire talk. It's clear why this recent discovery has captured worldwide attention -- it's a fascinating story. Stay tuned for my full report and photos.

    This report is part of a series of posts about Who Do You Think You Are LIVE in London. You might also enjoy:

    Meeting the Metropolitan Police at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE

    WDYTYA Report 1: This Genealogy Event is BIG!

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