Thank you to Barbara from NY who wrote in to say, “Lisa, I know you are very crafty so I wanted to let you know about a new fabric line that is coming in the fall. Andover Fabrics is putting out the Little House on the Prairie fabric line. In their ad it gives a quote from the book, “The attic and the cellar were full of good things once more and Laura and Mary had started to make patchwork quilts. Everything was beginning to be snug and cosy again.” I thought this went well with the book club book for this month.” Thank you, Barbara! We’ll have to look for some heritage projects that will theme well with these fabrics!
Writing and Editing the Little House Series: A Mother-Daughter Effort
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series didn’t come to press until decades after her childhood. By that time, her daughter Rose Wilder Lane was a freelance writer who knew the market. She saw the value in her mother’s memoirs and wanted to help her shape them into marketable books. This article talks about how stormy their collaboration could be, as they haggled over how best to memorialize Laura’s memories for modern children.
We heard from Chris on the subject of Rose’s editorship. “I also read Pioneer Girl and frankly enjoyed it a lot,” Chris says. But Chris has always wished Rose got more credit for the extensive editing and rewriting she did for her mother’s work, which apparently remained largely unknown. “As genealogists, we want to give all credit where it is due.” She recommends that Little House fans read A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert, which tells Rose’s story. Knowing Rose’s role doesn’t diminish Chris’ love for the Little House books, just gives her added perspective on the story-telling behind the stories.
Anyone who has ever tried to write a life story (their own or someone else’s) in a format for others to read will be fascinated by the letter shown in that article. Rose is trying to convince her mother of the need to whittle down her stories to the strongest story lines. “It is beyond all human power to tell all the facts. Your whole lifetime spent at nothing else would not tell all the facts of one morning in your life, just any ordinary morning when you get up, dress, get breakfast and wash the dishes.”
The Genealogy Gems Book Club brings you great titles like Pioneer Girl, along with exclusive conversations with the authors. We’ve featured best-selling novels and memoirs, nonfiction books like this one and less-discovered titles we love. Click here to see other books we’ve featured and listen to the author interviews.
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In this free video, you’ll discover three important steps you can take right now to capture and preserve your family traditions for generations to come from my wonderful friend and colleague Gena Philibert-Ortega. Happy Thanksgiving!
Show Notes: Three steps to preserve your Thanksgiving traditions
Thanksgiving, in my opinion, is a family history holiday. It’s one where families gather, where we bring out family heirlooms, and where we talk where we share memories. So, it’s a good time to think about your Thanksgiving traditions, write them down, preserve them, and share them. So, let’s talk a little bit about how to do that.
I have my memories of Thanksgiving from when I was a kid, when I was a young adult, and then later when I was married, and had small children versus older children. However, my kids have their own memories, and grandparents have their memories too. So, now’s the time to ask about those and write them down. Those memories might have to do with food, material culture, which I’ll define in just a second, or they may have to do with events.
What are the recipes that you use at Thanksgiving?
How does Thanksgiving food change as you grow older? Or as the roles switch?
Who cooks, and how has that changed over time?
Who’s there with you enjoying the meal and the holiday?
These are things that you can interview family members or yourself and write down.
Material Culture and Thanksgiving:
Material culture simply means stuff. So what stuff is used to put on Thanksgiving? At my house, that means the special tablecloth and the China both mine and my grandmother’s.
What do you bring out to serve Thanksgiving? It might be special dinnerware, or special serving pieces. It might be aprons to wear, or special linens.
What kinds of things are on the little kids table?
What is brought out and talked about and how has that changed over the years?
What do you use for special occasions like Thanksgiving? Do you go out to eat?
What events are associated with Thanksgiving for your family? Some families like to play a little flag football, some families watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
Whatever it is for your family, write that down, talk about it, explain what it is. Remember, we’re preserving memories that our children and grandchildren will read in the future. They may not understand what that event is. So, make sure you describe it.
What are some of the ways you can document your traditions? Well, you can do it with photographs. You can share photos from the past Thanksgiving. Have everybody bring the photos they have. You can even create a Thanksgiving album for your family. You can gather photos, photos from recent Thanksgivings, and even take photos of this Thanksgiving. You can ask family members to write their memories. You could also interview family members and create a video.
Paper or computer programs:
For example, maybe you could put together recipe cards and hand them out at Thanksgiving. Have everybody write their favorite recipes and then duplicate them and pass them out.
There are certainly many different programs online that you can use to create one yourself or that you can send to a specialized cookbook publisher.
Get a white tablecloth and bring out waterproof markers and ask family members to write their name. Write the date write events that have happened in the year. Write down memories if they want for little kids have them trace their hands, have them sign their name the best they can write their ages down. You can use that year after year, or you can preserve it for one specific year.
A lot of us have the habit of gathering information and then not really sharing it. But sharing it is what makes sure that things are preserved and ensures that it’s preserved that it goes down the generations. And it’s a good idea to have copies in case some are lost. Sharing is important. So how do we do that?
We can do that by creating physical items like:
flash drives (create duplicate flash drives and hand them out to the family.)
post things on social media, like a family Facebook page, or maybe a Pinterest board, or even your online family tree on Ancestry or FamilySearch
the cloud – where family members can download what they need when they need it. And you can continue to add family members over the years. And that might be done in a cloud program like Dropbox or Google Drive.
Preserve Your Thanksgiving Traditions Today
There are all kinds of ways that you can share Thanksgiving traditions and memories with other family members. Do what’s best for you what’s easiest for you, and what gets the information out there sooner rather than later. Thanksgiving is a special time and it’s something that we may all look forward to maybe because of the food or the family. I hope that you take some time this Thanksgiving to preserve your family memories. Happy Thanksgiving!
About My Special Guest Presenter: Gena Philibert-Ortega
Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, researcher, and instructor whose focus is genealogy, social and women’s history. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) & a Master’s degree in Religion. Her published works include 3 books, numerous articles published in magazines and online, & Tracing Female Ancestors (Moorshead Publishing). She is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s magazine, Crossroads. Her writings can also be found on the GenealogyBank blog. She has presented to diverse groups including the National Genealogical Society Conference, Alberta Genealogical Society Conference, Geo-Literary Society, & the Legacy Family Tree Webinar series. Her research projects include Sowerby’s British Mineralogy: Its Influence on Martha Proby and Others in the Scientific Community during the 19th Century for the Gemological Institute of America, as well as genealogical research for the first season of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow & the Travel Channel’s Follow Your Past. Her current research includes women’s repatriation and citizenship in the 20th century, foodways and community in fundraising cookbooks, & women’s material culture.
AI Time Machine™ utilizes text-to-image technology licensed from a company called Astria. Using a variety of photos of one person that you upload to the website, it builds a model showing that person in a variety of poses and lighting conditions that are different from those in the original photos. Then, using a series of predefined themes, it synthesizes the model with motifs from a large variety of historical themes to create the photorealistic images.
Cost: As of this writing, Complete subscribers will be able to create 3 complimentary models per year and receive all available themes for each model (Subject to change.) Keep an eye out for free promotions throughout the year.
Photos you’ll need for the best results
Do one person at a time.
Crop group photos down to one individual.
The more photos you use, the better the results. Take extra photos if you don’t have enough already on your phone.
Don’t use an assortment of photos at different ages.
Use an assortment of poses: 3 full body shots, 5 medium (waist up) shots, and 10 close-ups.
Use photos with an assortment of poses and expressions, with your eyes looking different directions.
Use photos taken on different days and with different backgrounds.
Avoiding makeup is recommended.
Log into your free MyHeritage account. (Don’t have one? Use our link to go to the site and sign up for a free account.)
In the menu go to Photos > AI Time Machine
Click the Try it Now button
Click the Select Photos button or drag and drop your assortment of photos from your computer onto the box on the screen. You can select all of them by clicking the first image, holding down your Shift key (Win) and clicking the last image in the collection.
Drag and Drop Photos
Uploading can take several seconds or even a few minutes. Leave your browser tab open until you see the screen telling you they will email you when your photos are ready.
When you receive the notification email, click it to go to your photos on MyHeritage.
There will be many boxes of photos, each representing a theme. You can scroll through them to quickly find ones that look good. It’s normal to see many that didn’t work out. This is due to the particular photos that you uploaded not suiting the image very well. However, if you follow the guidelines above, you should have many excellent photos to choose from.
Click the desired photos and download them to your computer.
The Results are Amazing
Here I am as an Egyptian Queen
And here I am ready to head off into the 1950 skies as a stewardess:
And I could be the third sister my Grandmother’s family in the 1930s:
A new AncestryDNA opt-out option allows DNA test takers to not participate in DNA match lists: they do not receive matches or show up in others’ match lists. Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard weighs on in the implications for genealogy researchers who may worry about cousin matches they may miss.
New AncestryDNA Opt-Out Policy
When you take a DNA test, you receive two different kinds of results from the DNA sample that you submit to your testing company:
information about your ancestral origins and
a list of your DNA cousins.
Opting out of matching essentially cuts the value of this product in half. You only get the ancestral origin information, and you forfeit access to your list of genetic matches. Opting out doesn’t just mean you can’t see them: it means that they can’t see you either.
AncestryDNA joins 23andMe in providing this option to their clients. You can look at this move as Ancestry’s response to an ever-expanding global audience, many of whom are not genealogists or are reluctant to have their DNA compared to others for a variety of reasons. It is important for them as a company to provide options for their clients to experience their product in a way that works best for them.
What the AncestryDNA Opt-Out Policy May Mean for You
What does this new opt-out option mean for genealogists? Hopefully, not much will change. Ancestry reports that overwhelmingly, people are opting in.
There has been quite a bit of push-back to this announcement, especially from the adoption community. DNA testing has been a tremendous source of information for those seeking out their biological relatives, and many fear that this change will limit access to quality DNA matches. But we will all still be able to do good genetic genealogy work, even as we are each allowed to choose whether to participate in the matching feature. To understand this better, it is important to see this issue from the other side, from the side of a person who might want to opt out. Here are two possible scenarios:
Scenario #1: Susan would really like to explore her heritage. She hasn’t tested before because she didn’t want to see cousin matches for a variety of personal reasons. But now she does test and opts-out. The community hasn’t lost anything because Susan would never have tested in the first place. But after exploring her ethnicity results and noticing membership in a couple of Genetic Communities, she begins to wonder more about her ancestors and decides to opt-in to matching, after all. In this scenario, the Opt-Out policy offers users a way to comfortably give DNA testing a try.
Scenario #2: Ryan heard about AncestryDNA while watching TV last year and ordered a kit. But then last week he heard about the ability to opt out, and went in and changed his account settings. So one day you could see Ryan on your match list, and the next you didn’t. We as a community would certainly see that as a loss. However, consider the circumstances that might have caused Ryan to hit that opt-out button. Perhaps Ryan had no idea how to use the match list, no interest in using it, and found it a bother to get correspondence from people. Perhaps Ryan found something unexpected, like that he wasn’t his father’s child, and he needed some time to deal with it. Maybe Ryan is under pressure from his sister, who didn’t want him to test in the first place (perhaps she knows something he doesn’t about their family tree, or she’s afraid of how any results and revelations might impact her). The short of it is: It doesn’t matter why Ryan opted out, it is his personal right to do so. Just as an adoptee has the right to seek out their heritage, others have the right to keep their family secrets to themselves. This scenario does support the idea that you should review your DNA matches frequently and record information about them in your own master match list, which I talk about in my quick reference guides, Organizing Your DNA Matches and Breaking Down Brick Walls with DNA. By promptly recording matching results, you will have them to work with even if the tester decides later on down the road to opt out.
As a genealogy community, we can educate others about the value of the match list, while at the same time cautioning them that unexpected connections may appear. So in everyday conversations, share your own experiences—whatever these may be. Maybe it was affirming for you to see that the dad you grew up knowing is indeed your biological father. Perhaps you can share a story about the power of using a list of fourth cousins to discover information about your third-great-grandfather. Maybe you’ve discovered a new connection—and maybe that connection isn’t yet comfortable or fully explained, but you’re glad to know about it.
Learn More about AncestryDNA Testing
Get the most out of your AncestryDNA testing experience with my quick reference guides! I recommend:
A Guide to AncestryDNAHow to find your best DNA matches, interpret ethnicity results, link your tree, understand relationship ranges and DNA Circles, and work with Shaky Leaf hints.
Breaking Down Brick Walls with DNA.What to do next to maximize the power of DNA testing in genealogy. Take your DNA testing experience to the next level and make new discoveries about your ancestors and heritage!
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