The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleishman and illustrator Bagram IbatoullineSo, one of my genealogy related projects this month was a preschool storytime for work which meant I had to track down great books to interest kids in talking about their families and their stories. My fabulous find for the year was The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleishman and illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline. It’s wonderful!

This picture book begins with a great-grandfather asking his great-granddaughter to pick anything in a memory filled room and he would tell her a story. She picks an old cigar box and so begins the diary he started as a child in Italy before he could read or write and continued as his family immigrated to the United States. The story is hard and beautiful, the art work amazing and detailed. It’s a perfect book to share to talk about the immigrant experience and family stories. It is a bit long for a storytime but my fabulous children’s librarian reminded me that you can skip around with this age group, so a few properly placed paperclips made it just right.

For my craft portion of the day I gave them all  plain boxes to decorate and keep their memories in. They decorated with markers, puffy letters, and assorted bits o’stuff we keep in the closet—in other words glue stick fun!

Other great picture book picks:

  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan—a wordless fantastic masterpiece about the immigrant experience.
  • Grandpa Green by Lane Smith—a great-grandfather’s life story in topiary.
  • All Kinds of Family by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marc Boutavant—on the broad concept of family.

Do you know of other good family history related reads for kids? Please pass them on!

Happy hunting,

Jess

PackerAlbum12A colleague and I took a road trip over to Howell Carnegie Library last week to attend their program “A Healing Place” – Memories of the Michigan State Sanatorium, Howell State Hospital, and Hillcrest Center. The turnout was tremendous (as in we were standing in a hall way for the duration and many were turned away) emphasizing the importance of the “Hill” or the “San” to the history of both Livingston County and the state. I was interested because of my great-grandparents experiences in between 1916 and 1920 while my colleague had more recent ties. It was a fascinating night that included a short dvd created for the program on the history of the site and ample time for stories and reminiscing. I really hope that they manage to offer an encore of the program because I think they only scratched the surface and could easily fill a large venue.

Thanks for a fabulous program!

Happy hunting,

Jess

Photo: I don’t know who these ladies are but the picture is likely taken by my Great Grandmother, Cora Packer, during her stay in at the “San” in 1916.

This is one of my favorite shots.
You’ll be missed “Grandma” Lorraine! (1932-2014)

Happy hunting,

Jess

image

Someone hit double digits this week!

Checking out frogs with his Bailey cousins many years ago.

Trotter-Bailey-Frog

Happy hunting,

Jess

MissFiestySomeone’s celebrating this week! Happy birthday to a girl who’s always had her own style! And it’s really only gotten stranger as the years have passed. I love it!

Happy hunting,

Jess

 

Packer & Jones GirlsI’ve been hanging out over in this side of the family with my research for the last few weeks.

This is my 2nd Great Aunt Grace Packer and, I believe, her two oldest nieces Alexia and Edith Jones. There’s only a five or six year  gap in age between Grace and Lexie. This was probably taken around 1914 just before or after her next niece, Doris Jones,was born. The Jones girls were the daughters of Pearl (Packer) and Raymond Jones.

Everyone looks thrilled in this shot!

Happy hunting,

Jess

Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of the Lake at Orchard LakeIt’s been a bit over a week since I finished my stay at St. Mary’s Preparatory at Orchard Lake, Michigan. And while I discovered that I don’t really miss dormitory life (to the left of the Shrine  Chapel in the picture), I also learned a bit more about what kind of genealogist I want to be. It’s one thing to be collecting names and dates (and that’s fine in as far as it goes), but I want to make an informed and documented argument about the relationships I find and I want solid research to pass on to whoever might take up this hunt after me. So a week spent in the Determining Kinship track under Thomas W. Jones was enlightening and very challenging—but exactly what I needed.

I’m pretty sure I’ve gushed about Jones before (both here and here) but may I add that he is a total gentleman and great instructor even when his students are totally wandering off in the wrong direction—which we did a few times. The presentations were great. The in-class assignments were very helpful.  And each day I came out with a better understanding of the Genealogical Proof Standard and its importance.  We worked mainly out of his Mastering Genealogical Proof, but this is a case where it made much more sense to me when we could ask questions of the author.

And I had a great time with my co-students both in and out of my cohort—which included researchers from all over the country. It was fun to trade research stories, infamous ancestors, and great resources. GRIP’s format was perfect for me with time for study and socializing, including informative optional evening programs, and in this case a hilarious group viewing of WDYTYA.

It’s an experience I would encourage people to try.

Cheers,

Jess

P.S. Beware of Maia’s Books! Martha is a fabulous and attentive bookseller. You may leave GRIP with considerably more than you planned on (plus a wishlist).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 356 other followers