Peek-A-Boo, I See You: hobbies that live on

connie ward girl with a past blog family history genealogy keepsakes crochet hobby baby blanket supplies yarn

My maternal grandmother died when I was 11.  My sisters were only 5 and 3.  We lived next door to Nana, so I saw her almost every day of those 11 years.  I know that a lot of what I remember about her is because of pictures.

Elna Katherine Anderson Hunsaker, 1901-1957

Elna Katherine Anderson Hunsaker, 1901-1957

My mom knew it would be hard for us to remember Nan, so she kept some very important reminders so we would never forget her.

connie ward girl with a past blog family history genealogy keepsakes antique hats recipe box

My mom kept lots of Nan’s things – dresses, hats, purses, household items, sewing basket, recipe file, button box, etc.

Nan could crochet like none other.  My sisters and I treasure the items she made and left behind for us – hankies, hot pads, pillowcase lace, doilies, purses, pin cushions.

My baby sweater and bib, hankies, hot pads, purse

My baby sweater and bib, hankies, hot pads, purse

My sister, Rita, inherited Nan’s talent for crochet, and although I do not crochet nearly as meticulously and beautifully as either of them, I have found my niche in making baby blankets.  I have a hard time sitting idle, so I crochet these blankets in the winter evenings while watching television.

My crochet basket usually has 2-3 ongoing items in it.

My crochet basket usually has 2-3 ongoing items in it.

I won’t divulge how many I have made over the years, but let’s just say that my great-grandchildren will be able to pass some crocheted baby blankets down to their kids too!

connie ward girl with a past blog family history genealogy keepsakes crochet baby blankets

So, pick something you like to do and use that talent to store up some hand-me-downs for the grandkids, etc.  It will be a piece of you they will treasure and pass down to their children.  You can live on through your hobbies!

connie ward girl with a past blog family history genealogy keepsakes crochet hooks

Peek-A-Boo, I See You: look inside my life

Several years ago, my good friend and neighbor, Gary Petersen, told me that his journal contains everything, not just his words.  After he explained his concept to me, I took it to heart and have made my journal a combination scrapbook, memory book, keepsake album, and journal.  In fact, the only things that don’t go in my journal are pictures.  I knew long ago that there was not enough time in this life for me to keep cute little scrapbooks of all the memorabilia, so my yearly journals take care of it all!

A small sampling of my journal pages

I keep my journal in – OF COURSE, a binder!!!  I can usually squeeze the whole year into one binder, but there was one traumatic year in my life when I needed two!  I use sheet protectors so odd-sized items can just be slipped right in and so I can see both sides of the cards I save.  I start the year with an empty binder, fill it with sheet protectors, keep the binder right by my desk, then put things inside as they happen.  When the year is over, my life is in the binder chronologically – and it is so easy!

I began this new way of journal keeping in about 2000.

I began this new way of journal keeping in about 2000.

So I picked a random journal from my shelf (2004) and besides my written journal, here is a sampling of what was in it:

The printed monthly calendar from my computer with appointments, etc.

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal card memories scrapbook calendar

My goals for the year – interesting to read, as they are always variations on the same theme

A heartfelt note from my California daughter thanking me for Christmas

A weekly update of events when individual days were a little too boring to write about

Closeup of a scarf my daughter made for meconnie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal keepsake memories scrapbook

An email from a friend about growing old

A certificate of achievement for completing a Power Point class

Thank you note for a genealogy presentation I gave to a group

Artwork the grandkids left in the playroomconnie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal keepsake memories scrapbook artwork

A newsletter announcing our family reunion

The schedule from BYU Women’s Conference

Mother’s Day cards from my girls

A bridal shower invitation for a special young friend

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal keepsake memories scrapbook invitation

A map of Sun Valley, Idaho from a getaway weekend with my husband

Confirmation itinerary for a flight to California with a daughter and granddaughter

The lab results from my blood test confirming low thyroid

 

A list of 12 items my oldest granddaughter requested for her birthday dinner

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal card memories scrapbook note

The “to do” list for an especially hectic week

Notes for my husband’s talk at the funeral for our friend, Mavis

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal notes memories scrapbook

 

A thank you note and picture of the VISA card a coworker gave me for Christmas

 

The playbill and ticket for Wonderful Town seen in New York City with my cousin and my daughters

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal keepsake memories scrapbook playbill

A “sorry” note from 3 grandkids after they accidentally pulled a curtain rod off the wall

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal note memories scrapbook

 

 

 

 

A note entitled “Grandma’s Apron” that accompanied a Christmas gift from a friend

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal keepsake memories scrapbook gift

The top news stories of the year in Utah and another list for the nation

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history journal keepsake memories scrapbook news

 

 

 

 

Just looking through that one binder brought back a flood of memories, some good laughs, some tears, and several “ahhhs.”  But I still think the most important thing to put in a journal is your own word – your thoughts, feelings, joys, sorrows, what makes you YOU!  Your journal won’t be anything like mine because our personalities are not the same — and lucky for you!  But at least this gives you a hint of what’s possible.  Leave a record of your life so you won’t be forgotten in 50 years (or less)!

 

 

Peek-A-Boo, I See You: get a life

I heard a quote that within 50 years after a person dies, there is no more record of them.  I have thought about that a lot.  What will my great-grandkids know about me, if anything?  What will my grandkids remember about me?  What do I wish I knew about my great-grandmothers?  If everyone had left a record of their life, I wouldn’t have so many unanswered questions, right?

So assuming most of you are commoners like me, I am going to do some posts related to things we can do so we will be remembered, starting with journals.

Modern journals can be purchased for as little as $3

Modern journals can be purchased for as little as $3

When he was called to be President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1973, Spencer W. Kimball had 33 black binders on a shelf that contained his journals.  He promised that if we kept journals and records, they would be “a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations.”

I took his advice to heart and in 1976 started writing in a journal.  My journals have contained different things at different times in my life.  Sometimes they are a way for me to work out problems.  At other times they are spiritual records.  And sometimes they are just normal or unusual events of my everyday life.

I write my journal on the computer, then put the pages in binders

I write my journal on the computer, then put the pages in binders

I have had occasion to refer back to them to give someone inspiration, to settle an argument, or to recall a tender moment.  President Kimball said your journal is your biography.  “What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?”

And what do you write in your journal?  According to President Kimball, you should record “your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies.”

I keep my journals in binders of course!

I keep my journals in binders of course!

Can you even imagine if you had the journals of your grandfather who was born in 1757 in England, came here to fight in the Revolutionary War, and lived until 1839?  Or what if you could read the journal of your grandmother who lost her husband in 1883 and raised her eight children alone in the western wilderness?  Yes, some of those amazing stories do remain, but most are long lost, or have been retold so often that most of the facts are twisted.

Some old journals that I have inherited.

Some old journals that I have inherited.

So, genealogists especially should know better than to leave this earth without leaving a record.  And if you haven’t done it yet, it is never too late to start!  Now that you have had your pep talk, the next post will give you some ideas of what might go inside a journal.

Diggin’ Up Roots: grandkids can dig too

I am always looking for ways to get my grandkids excited about my genealogy hobby.  I shove it down their throats whenever possible!  My granddaughter, Phebe, wrote a book about a grandmother named Phebe for a school project.  She did a great job and I was proud of her effort to be involved in the family history.

My granddaughter, Phebe, standing by the headstone of the grandma Phebe Zundel Ward

My granddaughter, Phebe, standing by the headstone of the grandma Phebe Zundel Ward

I did hear of a few new ways to involve the grandkids at RootsTech.

  • One of the ideas was said jokingly, but I actually thought it was a good idea:  make placemats of the family tree!  It would certainly start a great conversation at Sunday dinner, don’t you think?  I even found some examples at preservingheritage.blogspot.com.
  • Another idea came from a talk that referenced a study at Emory University involving the “Do You Know” test.  I googled it and am going to use it in the near future, again a Sunday dinner gem.
  • Someone mentioned having the family do a life map activity.  Each person would write down on a piece of paper as many “I remember” statements as possible within about 2-3 minutes.  Then they could draw a life map using those statements.  I want to do this and record the whole activity.
  • Also check out this cute Time Machine book at zap the grandmagap.com.

There are lots of ideas for involving those grandkids.  I will post more as I find them.  Am I alone in fearing that when I die no one will be interesting in furthering our family history?

Knick Knack Paddy Whack: give the girl a room

THIRD INSTALLMENT

STEP THREE:  I really wanted to display photos and saw a great idea for doing this in the archive room.  My husband made some wood frames for sheet metal so I could attach photos with magnets.  We distressed the frames and painted them a flat brown.  I was able to change out the photos frequently and give all the ancestors their moment on the wall of fame

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog photos sheet metal frames magnets

The finishing touch was the family tree I designed.  It not only displayed my ancestors, but also my husband’s.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog family tree apples basket swing leaves

The three baskets were for each of our three daughters and their families.  The swings indicated which side was for my ancestors and which side was my husband’s. I asked my daughter, Brenda, to paint the tree on the wall, but she had a better idea – torn paper!

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog family tree apples leaves basket swing

I eventually transferred the tree to a piece of heavy, clear vinyl and held it on the wall with thumb tacks.

I loved this little archive room and my grandchildren spent lots of time there.  But some items were missing — the trunk, my mother-in-law’s table, some vintage lamps, the tools, and other larger items.  And I kept finding more heirlooms that I had forgotten about.  What to do?  My family knows I love change, in fact I thrive on it, so watch for my next post, the final (maybe) installment of Knick Knack Paddy Whack.

 

Knick Knack Paddy Whack: give the girl a room

SECOND INSTALLMENT

STEP TWO:  So much stuff and so little space!  Luckily the small room I had earmarked for the “archive room” already had a bookcase covering one wall, so I started there.

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy heirloom vintage memorabilia knick knack

 

I began with a whole shelf dedicated to each person, but quickly ran out of room and had to double up.  But I liked the effect.  Now each ancestor’s memorabilia was on display, much of which had previously been in storage.

It seemed right for the scrapbooks and the genealogy to be in this room too, so the scrapbooks went on the bottom shelves under the heirlooms.  The grandkids immediately began spending time in the room looking at scrapbooks on the floor, so my handy-dandy carpenter husband installed a long shelf on the adjoining wall and I covered it in white padded vinyl.  The grandkids could put the large scrapbooks on the shelf and have plenty of room to maneuver them.  We already had a wooden bench that fit perfectly under the shelf.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog scrapbooks organization

 

My 1966 Magnavox stereo console, which still worked like a charm, had been in my mom’s living room since the 70’s, so I reclaimed it and put it in the “archive room” with some vinyls from the 60’s.  The grandkids promptly asked, “What are these???”  It was fun showing them how a phonograph worked!  There was also room for my mom’s 1940’s rocking chair and the rocking chair I received for Christmas when I was two.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog 1940 vintage rocking chair heirloom

 

My husband had made a bookcase for another room, but it was perfect for the genealogy binders (you will recognize them from a previous post).  An unfinished lace tablecloth started by my great-grandmother topped the bookcase with a wooden candle box and a lamp inherited from my mother-in-law’s fireplace mantel.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog genealogy research binders organization heirloom

 

Watch for the THIRD INSTALLMENT of Knick Knack Paddy Whack to see my favorite finishing touches in the “archive room.”

 

 

Knick Knack Paddy Whack: give the girl a room

Every time I was asked to give a presentation on genealogy, I would go through my house and box up tons of items for display.  I realized I really did have a lot of heirlooms and memorabilia and knick knacks from ancestors.  But none of it was readily available or displayed for the family to see.  I decided to do something about that. Although my home is quite small by today’s standards, I managed to turn the smallest room into an “archive room” or as my granddaughters called it, “the museum.” In order to do that, I had to kick the grandkids out of their cute playroom.  I know, cruel Grandma, but it was time for them to move downstairs anyway where they would have more room for cartwheels and “Just Dance.”

"Go away, Grandma.  You can't have our playroom."

“Go away, Grandma. You can’t have our playroom.”

STEP ONE:  Gather up everything that belonged to an ancestor.  By my definition, this was anyone older than my generation, dead or alive! connie ward girlwithapast blog genealogy heirloom memorabilia knick knack vintage collectibles My collection ended up being everything from books to knick-knacks to collectibles to linens to tools to furniture.  These were not things of great monetary value, but were items of irreplaceable family value.  Each knick knack told a story.  And I was amazed at how much stuff I had!  I wasn’t sure that little room would hold it all, but I was determined.

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy heirloom 1940 vintage memorabilia

My mom’s first typewriter, eggbeater from the 40’s, patterns she used to make my clothes in the 40’s, the set of books she kept for my grandfather’s business, plaques that hung on our kitchen wall in the 50’s, Belgian lace she made later in her life.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog heirloom memorabilia trophy

My grandfather’s glasses, hat, rodeo shirt, Shetland pony trophies, buggy whip, business documents.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog 1940 vintage lamp heirloom crochet recipe

Precious items from my two grandmothers – crocheted pot holders, hats, bags, lemon juicer, recipe file, kerosene lamp, button box, bottle opener,  bank book, ledger, book of fairy tales.

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog 1940 vintage rocking chair trunk heirloom

Mom’s first rocking chair and end table, great-grandfather’s trunk, my little red rocking chair (I’m not my own ancestor, but I couldn’t resist having it recovered for display).

connie ward girl with a past genealogy blog cootie bingo vintage heirloom memorabilia toy sewing machine iron

Original Bingo and Cootie games, child’s sewing machine and iron, vintage electric line insulators.

Everything from soup to nuts!  I think you would be surprised at what you could find in your house that was handed down from grandparents. The next step was organizing all of the memorabilia and displaying it in my teeny tiny room.  Watch for Installment 2 to see if I was able to do it!!!