A few years ago, I created a video series that demonstrates how to make a family history wreath (watch below). I was reminded of that series this year when I received a nice email from Genealogy Gems Premium member Mary Ann. She sent in these photos of wreaths she made after finding my instructions through the Genealogy Gems podcast (episode 32).
Her female cousins have a tradition of exchanging gifts at Thanksgiving, she says. She made the red wreath for that exchange two years ago. “I made the silver one for my mom’s birthday,” she adds. “The photos on the wreaths are of my grandparents and great-grandparents.”
These are beautiful wreaths and I’m so pleased Mary Ann shared them with us! Below is the four-part video series I created with instructions on how to make these. Happy heritage crafting!
Find more beautiful family history displays and crafts on the Genealogy Gems Pinterest boards. We have boards for family history displays, crafts, quilts, heritage scrapbooking, ideas for family history activities with kids and more! Will you take a second and share this post (or one of our Pinterest pins) with someone who would just love it?
Looking for a quick and easy craft to do? My mom made these cute ornaments for volunteers who work in the genealogy room of the public library with her.
These little framed photos of the volunteers’ ancestors would make fantastic ornaments to hang on a holiday tree or–year-round as my mother-in-law does–on a decorative metal family tree.
All you need are copies of old ancestral photos and these basic supplies:
inexpensive wood or paper mache cutout frames, which you can purchase at craft stores;
tape or craft glue to adhere the picture to the back of the frame;
silver spray paint (or any other paint suitable for the frame surface, with a brush);
Mod-Podge or another acrylic sealer (optional) to protect and further adhere the front of the ornament;
decorative ribbon or string to use as ties.
This would be an easy family history craft to produce in bulk, and it’s inexpensive! Consider making them for your own family history display or for family gifts. This is a great project for kids to do, as it should turn out looking nice even with young or inexperienced crafters.
The last post in this year’s series of genealogy gift ideas is all about FUN. Laugh and cry with these great entertainment options.
Family Tree Series
Think of this as “Best in Show” meets genealogy.
Family Tree: The Complete First Season (DVD)
This series is brilliantly funny! I loved it! It pokes a bit of fun at genealogists (so get ready to smile at yourself) while capturing what’s in the family historian’s heart. Anyone who loves family history (or has a quirky family or just likes good comedy) will really enjoy this series.
This genealogy-themed TV show isn’t a research-the-celebrity format. In fact, the fiction of it makes it even more fun. Here’s a plot summary:”Written and created by Christopher Guest, Family Tree is a documentary-style comedy series conceived and produced in the manner of Guest’s feature films. The story revolves around the journey of the 30-year-old Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd), an Englishman in his 30s who has few roots, little family, and a somewhat unsure sense of his purpose in life. Having recently lost his job and girlfriend, Tom inherits a mysterious box of belongings from a great-aunt he never met, triggering a passion to investigate his family lineage. As Tom’s interest in genealogy grows, his life expands and evolves in unexpected directions, as he uncovers a world of unusual stories and characters in the U.K. and the U.S., as well a growing sense of who he is and who his real family are.”
Movie: Sweet Land
The director of this film can be heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast.
Here’s the plot summary: “Inge (Elizabeth Reaser) is a feisty German mail-order bride who has come to Minnesota to marry Olaf (Tim Guinee), a young Norwegian immigrant farmer of few words. But in a post-WWI, anti-German climate, the local minister (John Heard) openly forbids the marriage. Inge and Olaf fall in love despite the town’s disapproval. But when the town banker (Ned Beatty) attempts to foreclose on the farm of his friend Frandsen (Alan Cumming), Olaf takes a stand…and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own.”
DVD: Family Name
Family Name (DVD)
A listener tells me this is a must-watch, and I have ordered my copy. This Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary captures the worlds of genealogy, race relations in the Southern U.S. and a man’s search for his family identity.
Here’s the summary: “What does a name signify, exactly? Growing up in Durham, North Carolina, white filmmaker Macky Alston never questioned why all of the other Alstons at his elementary school were black. Twenty-five years later, Alston decides to unravel this perplexity in the award-winning documentary FAMILY NAME.
Alston’s quest to solve his genealogical mystery takes him from New York to Alabama and then back to North Carolina. He seeks clues at family reunions, graveyards, church services, and, eventually, the original Alston plantations. The people he meets vary markedly in race, age, class and perspective, but they all have two things in common: the family name and a compelling story to tell. The biggest question of this investigation, perhaps, is whether it will provide the Alstons with catharsis or create an even greater sense of division. As the revelations mount, FAMILY NAME unfolds an unforgettable emotional journey that transforms our conceptions of the past.”
Family Tree music by Venice
If you love the song, you’ll love the album Venice Spin Art.
Celebs discover dramas in their family histories in front of the camera, adding their own discovery process to the story. Their family stories trace larger themes in American history and culture and lead them to reflect on the events and people that made them who they are.
The Season One lineup features Lisa Kudrow (one of the show’s producers), Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee and Emmitt Smith.
In Season 2, you’ll meet Vanessa Williams, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Steve Buscemi, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd.
Be a Family Tree Detective
Who Do You Think You Are? book for kids
Who Do You Think You Are? Be a Family Tree Detective by Dan Waddell offers some genealogy sleuthing fun for kids. Inspired by the show, the book helps kids tools, tips, ideas and activities “to investigate, discover, and preserve family secrets and treasures.”
It’s got kid-friendly language and plenty of colorful illustrations make this a great companion for junior genealogists.
Sharing our family history in displays around the house inspires conversation, reinforces our family’s sense of identity and can also create beautiful surroundings! Here are some of my favorite picks for inspired heritage home decor that will help you “walk the talk”. Pick one up as a holiday gift or one for your own home–or both!
Family Tree Wall Decor
I love how this gorgeous black tree design anchors a heritage wall display. They use current pictures of kids and grandkids, but I think it would also look great with older pictures of ancestors. Sometimes when your heritage photos are all different sizes and styles (and you don’t have a dozen matching frames) it’s hard to figure out how to hang them together. But as you can see, the display looks great with different size images and frames!
Bronze Family Tree Picture Frame (6 photos) This compact, stylish and ornamental design fits easily on a coffee or end table or even a fireplace mantel. The tree comes with 6 little frames: order an extra set of 4 here. Again, think of this as a great way to show off pictures of your children or grandchildren, or use it to display treasured images of ancestors.
If you like to make your own heritage displays, this book is for you. It’s packed with inspired ideas and detailed instructions on how to make things like decoupaged plates, a memory wall and silhouettes on canvas. The projects shown are all really adaptable to fit your supplies and style. Meg thinks “out-of-the-box” about ways to preserve and show memories–way beyond the traditional framed pictures which are great but may not express the creative side of some of us.
Espy Photo Frames (styles vary). This link will take you to my own store, where I offer these one-of-a-kind frames, exclusive to Genealogy Gems. The images, though nice, don’t do these frames justice. The edges are encrusted with original vintage jewelry pieces, antique mini-artifacts, pearls and beads and other little surprises. The openings can hold a mirror but also make a fabulous home for heritage photos. The frames draw the eye and hold it: nobody will miss this display and whatever loved one’s image holds a place of honor in it. Check out all the styles on my site after you click on the link above.
Get inspired by these heritage home decor ideas! Sharing family history in displays around the house inspires conversation, reinforces your family’s identity, and creates beautiful surroundings. Genealogy gift ideas: give these as gifts for your loved ones’ homes (or get them as gifts for yourself).
4 Heritage Home Decor Ideas
Family Tree Wall Decor
I love how this gorgeous black tree design anchors a heritage wall display. This design would look great with current pictures of grandkids and other loved ones, or with older pictures of ancestors. Sometimes when your heritage photos are all different sizes and styles (and you don’t have a dozen matching frames) it’s hard to figure out how to hang them together. But as you can see, the display looks great with different size images and frames!
This compact, stylish, and ornamental design fits easily on a coffee or end table or even a fireplace mantel. The tree comes with six little frames (order an extra set of 4 here). Again, think of this as a great way to show off pictures of your children or grandchildren, or use it to display treasured images of ancestors.
If you like to make your own heritage displays, this book is for you. It’s packed with inspired ideas and detailed instructions on how to make things like decoupaged plates, a memory wall, and silhouettes on canvas. The projects shown are all really adaptable to fit your supplies and style. Meg thinks “out-of-the-box” about ways to preserve and display your memories–way beyond the traditional framed pictures, which are great but may not express the creative side of some of us!
DNA Ethnicity Charts from Family ChartMasters. These custom DNA ethnicity charts, based on your DNA test results, are gorgeous 21st-century conversation-starters to display in your home. Loved ones who may never glance at your painstakingly-researched family tree chart may make a beeline for these world maps and start asking questions!
You can choose from three different design options. The Basic theme is clean and fresh, and complements most decorating styles. The Antique theme’s sepia-tone finish brings together the styling of antique maps with your high-tech DNA profile. The Modern theme is graphic and bold, with neutral tones well-suited to contemporary décor. Which design would look best in your home–and on which wall?
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