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Family History

Tips, tricks, and ideas about recording the past so future generations can understand their family history. Learn about great preservation methods, web links, and how to have fun creating your family’s history.

Family History: Public Records Search

Family History By September 6, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Doing genealogy can be an exciting mystery to solve. However, knowing how to start and where to look for leads is sometimes overwhelming. There’s a lot of information and databases available. Some are free. Some cost money. Of course, there is always Google. But Google’s expansive database requires you to know exactly what you’re searching for to get the desired results. Naturally we highly encourage using family history websites such as Beyond genealogy websites, there are some other fantastic sources to search through. Public Records, specifically, hold tons of information.

We’ve compiled a list of some great public records worth examining.

wooden family tree

Why Make a Family History Poster

Family History, MyCanvas Products By May 29, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Family history is on the rise with technology simplifying the process for hunting down lost relatives. It has also made it that much easier to put together family trees—whether digitally, in a book, or a poster. Each way to store your genealogy has its own perks. We are specifically covering the benefits of a physically printed family history poster. But no matter what your preference is having access to your family history is amazing!

Bring on the benefits.


Making Mother’s Day Special: A Gift Guide For Mom

Family Fun, Family History, MyCanvas Products By April 30, 2019 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. With it comes the struggle of finding the perfect gift for the woman who has given us everything. It’s a challenge to find the perfect present for mom, but we compiled a list of thoughtful gift ideas that she will love.


Tell Your Story: Missionary/College Book

Family History, MyCanvas Products By February 1, 2019 Tags: , , , , No Comments

After high school, young adults have many options that open up before them. Their lives and stories are full of potential as they move into their adult lives. Life changes fast during this time; be sure to capture these exciting and life-changing years in a photo book!


Tell Your Story: Life History Books

Family History, MyCanvas Products By January 15, 2019 Tags: , No Comments

The basic family history book may not be as in-depth as some people want. For those families and storytellers, the templates from MyCanvas can create and shape one person or one family’s unique life. Consider creating a custom life history book like this one using MyCanvas! Use custom design and layout to turn the templates into a deeply personal, in-depth recollection of one family member’s life.

Find Your Narrative

It seems most intuitive to start at the very beginning: the day your ancestor was born. But it doesn’t always have to start there! Find a hook in your ancestor’s story, like the moment they married or the moment they emigrated to a new town or country.

Tip: Are you telling your own story? Finding that hook can be extra important! A completely chronological story can have a slow start, and may not be as engaging if the story is very long.

Wherever you start, it helps to find a theme for your book. Are you focusing on an individual? One family? Or a particular theme among many family members (such as immigration or military service)? Themes help you pair photos and stories.

Related: Writing Better Family Histories

Use Historical Context

Turn your book into an educational experience! There is a lot that modern readers might have forgotten or simply don’t know about. Take the chance to share teaching experiences! If there’s a little detail that offers historical background, share some tidbits about it. If your ancestor (or you!) lived through certain historical events, you can add in details about those as well.

Yes, putting context into your family history means doing a little bit of extra research. But there’s a fix for that! If you have your records and pedigree on, the site provides historical insights on your ancestor’s timeline. This helps you find starting places for your research!

If you’re going this route, or using other historical data, add pages that use Ancestry data. These can provide interesting trivia about your family member. They also can provide quick layouts you can edit to suit your needs.

  • Right-click on one of the layouts at the bottom of the Project Editor window.
  • Choose Add Pages at the top of the menu.
  • In the sidebar on the left under Themes, find Family History.
  • Each style (Classic, Elegant, Family History) will have page options, from record pages, timelines, and descendant trees to photo layouts and recipe pages.

Design Tips

  • Divide up long stories. It can be hard to read one giant wall of text. Pair information near relevant photos, and don’t be afraid to spread out those stories over multiple pages.
    • However, if your story crosses only two pages, make sure those pages are in the same spread [page layout]! It generally looks better and reduces confusion over turning pages to keep up with a memory.
    • If you don’t want to spread your story over many pages, try using columns to cut up that wall of text. Use the Grid feature at the top of the Project Editor to make sure lines of text align properly between columns.
  • Group stories and photos by themes as well as points in your subject’s life. You might try organizing sections by a family member’s early life, raising a family, and later years, as a start.

How will you make your family history book more unique to your family? We want to hear from you!