3 Reasons Why Using a Family Tree Can Help Children in School

We have undertaken various school projects, to see how we can make family history more interesting for younger generations. Our projects have been embraced by children, who have enjoyed learning about the characters behind the names on their family tree.

Suzie Colver of obituarieshelp.org, is a keen advocate on encouraging children to learn about their family heritage and how it can benefit them, even if they aren’t interested in family history yet.

According to Suzie, aligning family history research with a child’s studies can benefit them in three different ways:

1. It Makes History Come to Life

If  your children are learning about World War I or the Vietnam War in school, it will be much easier to learn the facts if they can associate it with a real person. A great-grandparent or uncle may have served in one of those wars, which will make the information they are learning in school a lot more real.

Find out what era they are studying, and make an effort to find out how your family is connected. The further back you have to go, the more difficult, but it is possible to find family members from a century ago. Even if all you have is vague information such as your family originated in Ireland, it will make that country more memorable in world history.

2. It Teaches Children How to Research

Research is one task your kids will have throughout their school years. Many times, it will be on subjects they consider boring and irrelevant. Make research more interesting by having them help you find out about your ancestors. Teach them how to use the internet and other resources such as the microfiche film at the public library. Show them how to find information from the country records.

As they use these unique resources, it will make research more interesting. Instead of being a required project, it will be more like solving a mystery. As you add names to your family tree, they will feel a sense of pride in accomplishing a complicated task.

3. It Teaches Children How to Organise Information

It can be overwhelming to do a research project and then try to put it all together in a way that makes sense. It may be even more challenging if your child is a visual learner. A family tree is a great way to teach a child how to organise information in a way that makes sense and allows the facts to be relevant.

As your child fills in names and other information on the various people in your ancestry, they will learn how to develop associations. They will also understand how to format information so that it makes sense. Since there are so many different kinds of family trees, they can put as much or as little information as they want. With some, it may simply be a name on a tree. For others, they may include birth and death dates, marriage dates and a lot more.

A family tree project can provide an exciting way to help your child learn in school. It teaches them skills they will use throughout their lives, and it does it in a fun way.

Suzie Kolber created obituarieshelp.org to be the complete online resource for Suzie_Kolber_Obit“do it yourself” genealogy projects. The site offers the largest offering of family tree templates online. A not for profit website, it is dedicated to offering free resources for those that are trying to trace their family history.

Relevant articles

Taking Family History back to school

‘Name That Baby’ competition to teach children about family history

Add notes and words to your timeline

Sometimes you just want to add some words to your Twile timeline, to help tell the story or to describe an event that you don’t have any photos for.  Our latest addition to Twile allows you to do just that.

Adding a text event to a Twile timelineNow when you click the ‘Add’ button at the top of your timeline, you’ll see a new option: “Add an Event”.

Choose that option to open up a new, empty event – ready for you to add a title, description and anything else you like.

Any “words” you add to the story will be displayed on the timeline, so it’s a great way of adding a narrative to your family’s story.

Timeline of French Presidents

As Emmanuel Macron prepares to assume the French Presidency on the 14th May, we have launched our new timeline of French Presidents.

If your family has French heritage, find out more about what was happening in the world of politics around them. What influenced their life choices and the direction that your ancestors took?

From Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, who was the first Head of State of France to LouisNapoleonBonapartehold the title of President,  to Albert Lebrun who was the last President of the Third Republic and Charles de Gaulle who was a dominant figure during the war years, our timeline gives an insight into the volatile nature of politics in France and will give some context to your family story.

Take a look at our timeline of French Presidents at:

twile.com/timeline/frenchpresidents

To add French presidents to your family timeline…

  • Click the ‘In View’ button at the top of your timeline
  • Move the ‘French Presidents’ slider on the right hand side to choose ‘Key’ or ‘All’ events
  • Click ‘Done’

Why not explore some of our other timelines including a timeline of British Prime Ministers and a timeline of American Presidents.

We are going to be adding more streams soon. If you have a suggestion, please contact us at help@twile.com 

 

Cover photo licensed by the French Government under Creative Commons

Share your family history infographic and win a £100 Amazon gift card

We’re going to be at Who Do You Think You Are? Live at the NEC in Birmingham, UK again this week – to celebrate we’re offering you the chance to win a £100 Amazon gift card.

The exhibition runs from 6th-8th April and we will be joining Findmypast on their booth, where we will show you how to turn your family tree into one of our family history infographics!

Family History InfographicOur infographic gives you a visual snapshot of your research, with statistics like the average age of marriage, number of children per family and most common surnames – fun stuff which will appeal to non-genealogists! We hope this infographic will help you to share a little of your research with other people on your tree.

If you can’t wait until Who Do You Think You Are? Live, you can create your infographic here at  www.twile.com/numbers. It’s quick, easy and free!

Share your infographic and win a £100 Amazon gift card

Create your infographic at www.twile.com/numbers, share it and tag Twile during April to enter the prize draw.  You can tag Twile on Facebook (#Twile or @TwileTimeline) or Twitter (@TwileTweets).

We will be picking a winner on 30th April, so good luck!

If you are going to Who Do You Think You Are? Live, we look forward to seeing you there! Here are a few useful articles to help with the planning…

16 Things You Need to Know Before Attending Who Do You Think You Are? Live

Making the most of a genealogy conference

 

 

 

Two new features for St Patrick’s Day

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we are pleased to announce two new features.

Our infographic, designed to help you share your research in a fun and exciting way with your family, can now be created in the national colours of Ireland.

So if Irish Infographicyou have a bit of Irish blood and want a fun way of showing your family members their Irish heritage, click here to create yours. It’s free to create and shows you statistics such as the average number of children per family, the most common surnames, the ratio of men to women and the average age of marriage.

We are also delighted to have launched a timeline of Irish History. The timeline shows the story of Ireland through it’s legal, political and religious events and we are grateful to the Irish Family History Centre in Dublin for their help in pulling the content together.

The Irish Family History Centre are an award-winning history and heritage company, who as part of the EPIC Ireland experience, showcase the unique global journey of the Irish people. Their experts help people research their Irish ancestry and they provide an interesting way for visitors to discover their family story and Irish heritage.

As a Twile user you can overlay this new Irish History timeline onto your own family history timeline, to see the lives of your Irish ancestors in the context of what was happening in the country around them. Your ancestors milestones will be alongside events such as the Confederate Wars and the Great Famine.

We hope that you enjoy these new features…happy St Patrick’s Day!

Related articles

Have you got a little bit of Irish in you? Take the Findmypast Quiz 

10 things you need to know when starting Irish Genealogy Research (Fiona Fitzsimons of the Irish Family History Centre explains everything you need to know)

 

 

Twile is now FREE for everyone

We are really happy to announce that – as of today – we have removed the subscription fee for using Twile and our family timeline is now free for everyone!

When we started Twile, our vision was for it to be used by all family members, who would share and collaborate on their family story. We feel that our subscription fee was getting in the way.

This is why it is now free to do everything on Twile:

  • Build your family tree
  • Share and collaborate with family
  • Add unlimited milestones and photos
  • Import from FamilySearch
  • Import and merge multiple GEDCOM files

Whilst we will no longer be charging customers to use our core product, we clearly do need to make some money. We are planning to introduce some optional add-ons in the future, which will enhance the Twile experience.

We realise there are many concerns within the industry about privacy and we want to take this opportunity to assure our customers that we will never sell their personal data.

So Twile is now free for you and all of your family – go ahead and build an awesome timeline of your family story, together!

How to add perspective to your family history

Putting your family stories into perspective and giving them context is the key to understanding what life was like for your ancestors and for telling those stories in an interesting way.

We read an article this week by The  Family History Guy, which summed it all up perfectly:

“The character John Keating, in the award winning film, “Dead Poet’s Society” was asked why he stood on his desk. His poignant reply: “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” So too must we, as genealogists ‘constantly look at things in a different way’. Another way of saying this is we need perspective. Just as the world looks far different at the cruising altitude of a commercial jetliner than it does standing in the midst of a wheat field. Our family history looks much different when examined at “cruising altitude”. The most valuable thing Twile gives me as a genealogist is perspective.”

The Family History Guy goes on to explain how Twile made him – a genealogist of 25 years and public speaker on family history – step back and see his family in a whole new way.

“When I first used Twile and loaded just my parents and grandparents in, just three generations and I noticed something. My mom’s dad died before my parents were married. Not a super alarming fact. But until that moment … those two facts were complete and total strangers. Both living happy, but separate, lives in my brain until that glorious moment that Twile put them next to each other and introduced them … None of the documents I have would give me that information, and I had never thought to ask.”

Take a look at the full article here and if you have had a ‘Eureka’ moment with Twile, we would love you to share it with us!

The Family History Guy will be speaking at RootsTech on Saturday 11th February. If you are at the event, go along to hear his presentation ‘Timelines: Back to the Future of Your Research”.

 

Introducing children to Family History at Riverside School

As part of our ongoing mission to make family history more engaging for the younger generations, we’re working with another Yorkshire school to introduce family history into the curriculum.

Last year I was delighted to go into a local school and speak to the children about family history. We had such a lot of fun and it was great to see the children so enthusiastic, enjoying conversations with their family about their ancestors and starting to record their own lives on Twile.

I recently accepted an invitation to go in to another school, working with the history teacher at Riverside School in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK. A group of excited 9 and 10 year old students greeted me and I have the pleasure of going along each week for six weeks .

In the first week, in order to introduce the children to family history, their teacher Mrs Patrick and I had a discussion with the class to get their thoughts on ‘What is family’, ‘Why is it important’, ‘What is an ancestor’.  She then asked the children to recall happy family stories relating to the Christmas holidays, where they were likely to have family gatherings.  Many mentioned seeing grandparents, aunts and uncles and discussed who was related to who and on which side of the family (maternal/paternal).

We then introduced the concept of the family tree, showing them the Twile version and asked the children to think about how their family was connected and draw their own trees.

As the children began this work, questions began to be asked such as ‘I don’t know my grandparents real names – they are just granny and grandpa’, ‘I don’t know if my uncle is my mum or dad’s brother’, ‘I don’t know my mum’s date of birth’ – We asked the children to write these questions down and take them home to find out more from their parents.

In the second week, the children came along to the class with more information about their family, ready to put it into Twile.

After showing the children how to log in, they set to work adding their family tree findings online.  The children got to work enthusiastically and found Twile easy to use.  By the end of the first part of the session the children had added their immediate family members and began adding aunts/uncles and their cousins.

The children took photos of themselves using the iPads and imported their photos onto the ‘profile’ on their trees.

We watched two videos: the first to illustrate how the family tree is pieced together. The second was the first part of Who Do You Think You Are – JK Rowling:

At the end of the 15 minutes, the children were asking to watch more – they were completely enthralled in the journey that JK Rowling was being taken on. They couldn’t believe it when she learnt that the grandfather she thought she knew about was the wrong person!

We had a class discussion following the videos – the children were keen to tell me their own stories learnt from the last session about their history – stories were told about soldiers in the war and an ancestor that had sailed on the ‘Mayflower’ from the UK to America in the 1600s!! I was quite taken by the enthusiasm the children displayed and clearly the parents’ involvement in helping the children learn – children had also found out the names of their grandparents and now knew the dates of birth of their parents. One child in particular discovered they had a well-known ancestor – Edward Jenner – who discovered the vaccine for small pox!

After the second session, the children were asked to choose a family member and write a story about them – find out their name, date of birth, what relation they are, what their occupation is/was and something interesting about them. They will bring a photo if possible, ready to ‘create a story’ about that person in next week’s lesson.

Their excitement was contagious and I can’t wait to go back next week!

Now everyone can view Twile timelines of World History

To help in our mission of engaging the wider family in family history, we’ve just opened up our streams of world events to everyone, whether they use Twile or not.  This means that anyone can view a Twile timeline of World War 1 or a timeline of big inventions, for example, even if they don’t yet use Twile to record their family story.

There’s a quote attributed to author James Patterson that will explain how we think these public streams can help:

“There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books.”

Family historians often struggle to engage their family members in their research.  Are they really not interested in where they came from and how their ancestors lived their lives?  Or are they simply reading the wrong book?

We hope that by encouraging people to explore world history events on a timeline we’ll be able to help them take the next step and start recording their own lives and those of their parents, grandparents and children.  Every memory and photo they add to their family timeline will be something preserved that could otherwise be lost forever.

Right now we have the following streams that you can explore:

And we are working on many, many more.

Can you help?
We’re looking for people who can help us put together streams on specific topics that would make good timelines.  Are you an expert on the American War of Independence or the history of London or the life of Ghandi?  Please get in touch by sending us an email to help@twile.com – you could have your own stream on a Twile timeline!

We’re also looking for suggestions on what streams we should add next – please let us have your ideas.

Add streams to your family timeline
If you already have a Twile timeline, you can add any of our streams of world history to help give context to your family story:

  1. Log into Twile: www.twile.com/timeline
  2. Click the ‘In View’ button at the top of the timeline
  3. Move the sliders on the right hand side of the page to activate any of our streams
  4. Click ‘Done’
  5. You should now see your chosen content on the same timeline as your family history

Privacy

By the way – although we’re opening up access to our streams of world history, everything you add to your own Twile timeline is still totally private and secure – nothing you share on Twile will ever be made available to anyone outside of your family.  If you’d like to know more about our approach to privacy at Twile, I’d suggest this article we wrote a while back: Twile Privacy

New timeline of the American Revolutionary War: Boston Tea Party

Today is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which seems a fitting time to launch our timeline of the American Revolutionary War.  You can now overlay the events of the war onto your own family history timeline.

On this day in 1773, Samuel Adams and the “Sons of Liberty” boarded three ships in Boston Harbour and threw 342 chests of tea overboard. It was a reaction to the Tea Act, passed by the British Parliament earlier in the year, which colonists believe violated their rights.   This event and the British reaction to it were significant in the escalation of the American Revolution (The War of Independence).

The financial cost of the “Tea Party” was significant, with more than £9,000 (present day value around £1 million) of tea dumped into Boston Harbour.

You can see the Boston Tea Party and all other events from the American Revolutionary War on our timeline at: https://twile.com/timeline/americanrevolutionarywar

Add the American Revolutionary War to your Twile timeline: 

  • Click the ‘In View’ button at the top of your Twile timeline
  • Move the slider on the right hand side of the window
  • Click ‘Done’