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

I really intended it to be out… oh, at least last month (preferably Monday), but the week got away from me. 

Notes Snapshot MGC 2013This past Saturday I attended the Michigan Genealogical Council’s annual Fall Seminar featuring Lou Szucs from Ancestry.com. I enjoyed the day and (as I have said many times) I always get something out of the presentations no matter how often I’ve heard a subject discussed or a particular speaker—it’s  always worthwhile. Szucs offered informative programs on “Hidden Treasures in Ancstery.com” and Midwestern Collections researchers should be aware of. In each I came away with collections ether I hadn’t been aware of or hadn’t, at the time, known a relative they might shed light on. For example to my Holden family… Did you know there was a Directory of Deceased American Physicians in Ancestry.com? It’s not something I’d happened upon yet. (Mind you, I did’t find Horatio or Charles in it, but still…).

For my breakout sessions I attended a presentation on The Clarke Historical Library on Central Michigan’s campus—I’m particularly interested in looking into their collections on the Timber industry given our Shea family’s involvement in in. I went to Richard Hill’s presentation on DNA research which was fascinating and now I really want to read his book—Finding Family. And I finished up the day in Don Hinkle’s presentation on FamilySearch.org. Other talks included researching in archives, New York research, Border Crossings, and Civil War Resources among others.

The short of it… Take time out to go and continually educate yourself—it will eventually help you over your brick walls.

And mark your calendars! The Abram’s Foundation Annual Seminar will be July 18th and 19th and feature Michael LeClerc, Chief Genealogist at Mocavo.com.

Happy hunting!

Jess

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