Five Minute Family History

Save the stories! Become a story-catcher during your coffee break!

Welcome!  I'm glad you found me. I hope we can have fun here and do something really important, too. Doing family history isn’t only about visiting graveyards and documenting all the begats of dead ancestors, it’s also capturing living memory and creating a story your descendants will be eager to read.   So set aside a few short minutes–with morning coffee, at lunchtime or before bed–and write, type or speak fast!

 Click HERE and let's get started

Politics as Usual

Spend a couple of moments quietly thinking and identify the person in your nuclear family (or in one of your family lines) that you would describe as the most politically active.  Write a little about that person, their political views and how those views were manifested in his/her life.

If time permits make a list of other family members and their political leanings and place it in your work folder to write about later.


My latest Family History Mystery (#4 in the Series), DEAD IN A FLASH, has my genealogist sleuths, Sophreena and Esme examining a murky family tragedy in the background of a retired senator.  To celebrate the release of the book on August 30, I’m sponsoring a GIVEAWAY of the first two books in the series along with a 30X magnifier necklace (my #1 ESSENTIAL tool for examining old photos and documents).  To throw your hat in the ring for a chance to win, leave me a comment below about your favorite tricks or tools in doing family history, the most interesting fact you’ve uncovered about your family, or just say hello.

Leave a comment below to enter to win.  Contest ends Monday, August 22, 2016.

Leave a comment below to enter to win.  Contest ends Monday, August 22, 2016.

Sunday Best

I've been away for a while finishing up the fourth installment in my Family History Mystery series, DEAD IN A FLASH, which will be released in August, 2016.  Now back to actual family history!

If your parents, grandparents, great-grands were religious people what was their religious affiliation?  Take a few minutes to write down all you know about each individual in terms of their religious practice, including any worship communities they may have joined or any houses of worship they may have attended. Were they married in a church?  Buried in a churchyard cemetery? Church records may be valuable sources of information.

Labor Day

To celebrate this Labor Day spend a few moments documenting the types of work your ancestors did.  Choose one and find out what you can  in a quick online search about what the job would have entailed and what the conditions would have been like during that time period. 

Do you know any job-related stories passed down from any of your ancestors?  If so jot it down NOW.  You can edit it later but for now just get it down.  So much family history is lost because we're waiting for a time when we can write it all down properly and polish our prose and we simply never get around to it.  Even if all you leave behind are sketchy first drafts subsequent generations will appreciate your efforts.

Who's Who and Where IS that?

There's a post today on THE FAMILY CURATOR on organizing and Identifying family photos with a system she calls "The Parking Lot" method.  Check it out!

A Sense of Place(s)

In the new book in my Family History Mystery series, titled PICTURE THEM DEAD, there's some discussion about how the places we're attached to can influence, inspire or affect our lives.  Today's prompt involves making a list of all the places, be they geographical locations, homes, relative's homes, regular vacation spots or even favorite restaurants that are a part of your life.  Once you have the list choose one place and free write about what it means to you and give a detailed description of how you remember it.

Organization, Baahahahaha

There was a Facebook posting today that included a nice PDF about organizing your family history materials and artifacts.  The photo below made me laugh, then sigh, then laugh again.  It's all so neat and tidy and there's so LITTLE of it.  

MY family history ROOM is stuffed to overflowing and looks like this:

And that's just one corner of the room–the neatest corner.  Photos of the other side would have been too embarrassing.  

But the free download did have some good hints for organizing all the stuff you collect when you start to do family history.  So here's the link: