Twile at RootsTech 2017!

The largest global genealogy conference in the world – RootsTech – is finally here and we are delighted to be in Salt Lake City to be a part of it again.

The Innovator Summit kicked off the event today, reminding us of our experience in the Innovator Showdown in 2016, where we came away with two awards, including the coveted People’s Choice (read our previous article here).

Are you visiting RootsTech this week?Here are 10 reasons you should come and see us on booth #332 & 334.

10 reasons to visit the Twile booth

  1. It’s now completely FREE for everyone!
  2. You can create a FREE personalized infographic of your family history
  3. We can show you how to get the rest of your family interested in your research
  4. You could win a $200 Amazon gift card
  5. We’ll show you how to import your FamilySearch Tree
  6. We have free balloons for your kids!
  7. We’re on the way to the restrooms
  8. We’re from England…we might be related!
  9. We have cute British accents
  10. Our flights have cost a fortune (we’re from the UK)

Twile demonstrations

We are also doing several demostrations of Twile, so come along and find out more:

Thursday 9th February 

  • 2.30pm. Not just about records –  Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth
  • 4.40pm. How to create your family infographic – Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile – in the Demo Theatre

Friday 10th February 

  • 2.30pm. Not just about records – Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth

Saturday 11th February

  • 12.40pm. Turn your FamilySearch Tree in to a Twile Timeline – Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile – in the Demo Theatre
  • 2.30pm. Not just about records – Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth

We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

“Name That Baby” competition to teach children about family history

Here’s an update on the project we’re running at a local school, to help introduce children to their family history.

In this week’s lesson we held a ‘name that baby’ competition. The children brought in old photos of themselves as babies so their classmates could guess who was who.

Children playing name that babyParticular focus was given to their nose, eyes and ears as they made their decisions and they were reminded that personal facial features are often similar to parents and grandparents – I asked them all to think about who they looked like most in their family and some interesting discussions began.

I had set homework in the previous lesson for the children to write a story about a family member. As our discussions moved on, they added this information to the Twile timeline – again, they all had wonderful stories to tell.  One story in particular was very moving so we asked the child to tell the rest of the class what she had learnt:

‘My 2 x great grandparents from Belfast, Ireland met during the sectarian troubles. My 2 x great grandad was Protestant and my grandma was Catholic. They were in love but were unable to be together because it wasn’t allowed and they would have been in a lot of trouble if they were found out. During the civil conflict they decided to move away to England where they could be married. They did get married and raised their children in England, which is why I live here today.’

The time flies by when I am in the school and it is so great to see how much fun the children are having. Over the next few weeks I am looking forward to discovering more family stories and some of the children are even making videos.

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!

How to import your FamilySearch tree into Twile

If you have your family tree and memories in FamilySearch, you can import them into Twile to automatically build a rich, visual timeline of your family history.  Why enter all of that information again when you can import it with the click of a button?

If you aren’t already registered for Twile, you can sign up to Twile for free at www.twile.com

Here’s how to import your FamilySearch tree into your Twile timeline:

  1. Log into Twile
  2. Open your Twile family tree by clicking on the ‘Family Tree’ tab at the top of the page
  3. Click the ‘Import family tree’ button at the top
  4. Click the ‘Import from FamilySearch’ option
  5. Login securely with your FamilySearch credentials and then follow the prompts

Within moments your FamilySearch family tree, including memories and photos, will be imported and your timeline will immediately come to life, filled with photos and milestones – such as births and marriages. If you have a large tree, we will show you a small part of the timeline as soon as possible and then continue bringing in the rest of it while you browse.

Once you have imported your FamilySearch content, you can share it privately with the rest of your family.  Simply invite them to join for free and they’ll be able to explore what you’ve added and contribute their own stories, comments and photos.

How to Twile your Thanksgiving memories

For our friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we’ve just added a new Thanksgiving milestone to help you Twile your holiday memories.

Families all around the US will be coming together to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner, take lots of photos and make new memories.  Twile is a great place to put all of those memories together for the whole family to share and to look back on in years to come.  Wouldn’t you love to explore a timeline of your childhood Thanksgiving memories?

Here’s how you can use Twile to record your Thanksgiving memories, creating something that will live on for your future generations to explore…

Create a Thanksgiving Milestone
We have created a new holiday milestone for Thanksgiving. To add it to your timeline:

  1. Click Add at the top of your timeline
  2. Click Add milestone
  3. Select Thanksgiving from the new Holidays section

Add your Thanksgiving photos
Once you have your Thanksgiving milestone, open it to add your photos, creating a visual Thanksgiving story on your timeline.  You’ll then have a mini photo album of these memories.

Tag family members
Add people to your new Thanksgiving story so you’ll always know who was there.  This also means that the story will show up on each person’s individual timeline of their life. You can tag anyone in your story, as long as they are on your family tree. For more information on how to do this, read our article on adding family members.

Add some comments
Photos are great to look through, but they don’t tell the full story.  Was there a culinary catastrophe or was the Pumpkin pie as amazing as it always was with Granny’s secret recipe?  What was special about the day, what memories would you like to pass forward?  Add words to your Thanksgiving story to fill in the details.

Add the location
Where were you this year?  Were you at the family home or enjoying Thanksgiving with friends?  Were you abroad?  Add the location to your story so you’ll always be able to look back and know where you were.

Invite family members
A timeline means so much more when its shared with your family, especially those you shared Thanksgiving with.  And because they can all add up to 10 photos every month for free, they can contribute to your Thanksgiving story with their own pictures and comments. Click here to watch our video on how to invite your family members and find out more about our free service here.

Twile your Thanksgiving holiday and preserve the memories forever.

 

At home in ‘Bronte’ Country

I was pleased to go along to Todmorden Library earlier this week, where members of the Todmorden Family History Group launched an exhibition sharing family history stories from the local area.

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Todmorden is a market town and civil parish in the Upper Calder Valley in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England. It is firmly nestled in ‘Bronte’ Country –   where the Bronte sisters lived and wrote their classic novels –  around 17 miles from Manchester. I live near here in the village of Hebden Bridge, so it was great to find out a bit more about family stories close to home.

Jan Bridget, pictured second from the right and founder of the Todmorden Family History Group had a great story to tell. She spoke about her link to Emily Bronte’s novel ‘Wuthering Heights’, through her fourth great grandfather, Richard Sutton.  Sutton was a possible role model for Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff.  Jan has just finished writing a book about Richard’s grandson, Willian John Sutton, whose father emigrated to Canada in 1850. Known as Will, he was a lumberman, geologist, assayer, pioneer and promoter of Vancouver Island and, with his brother James, robbed the graves of First Nation people to sell to Franz Boas, the ‘father’ of American Anthropology.

Everyone I saw yesterday had something interesting in their family history. Councillor Tony Greenwood, opened the exhibition and shared stories from his own family history including his three times great uncle, Abraham, who was the librarian of the Rochdale Chartist Library and later became first president of the co-operative wholesale society, which he ran from his terraced house in Rochdale.

Further to the remembrance day celebrations of last weekend, I was also interested to hear about the story of Joseph L. Milthorp, who having fought in the First World War,  tried to enlist for the Second World War but was too old! Instead he joined the Blackshaw Head Home Guard and a photograph on display at the exhibition shows him and fellow members of the Home Guard football team for 1943 including: Sgt Pickles, L/Cpl Simpson, Savage, Crowther, Pte Townend, Coupe, Nesbitt, Marshall, Barker and Hodge in goal.

For more fascinating stories, if you are in the area, I would recommend a visit to the exhibition which will run until November 21st at Todmorden Library.
Pictured: Councillor Tony Greenwood, Mayor of Todmorden, Kelly Marsden, Jan Bridget and members of the Todmorden Family History Group. 

Family history at Old Town School

With our collaboration with Old Town School in full swing, I wanted to share the experience so far with you – the response from the children has been brilliant. Their enthusiasm and interest is amazing and I’m grateful to Old Town School for the experiment. As half term approaches, we have discussed emotions and asked the children to ‘call out’ happy and sad emotions.

Each of the children was asked to think about a happy occasion and tell the class about it. Without fail, every child mentioned their ‘family’ in the happy occasion which lead to a discussion around the importance of family and an understanding that both happy and sad times could be shared with family. The children were then asked to create a comic strip and draw out their happy memory.

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The children have also learned about two important subjects.

Death: When shown various items such as: leaves, flowers and fruit which were dead and alive, they had to describe the differences in colour and texture. They were asked to ‘call out’ alternative meanings of the word ‘died’ to help them understand why we use different words to sympathise and empathise with one another in the event of someone dying that you know.   The children watched a short movie about a badger that had ‘passed away’ to affirm their understanding.

cropped-school-image-2Family tree: We discussed how families were connected and I drew an example family tree up on the board. The children were asked to have a go at drawing their family tree and indicate how far back could they go. They were told that their family tree should include all living and dead family members and as homework, they were encouraged to ask  their parents to help add more family members to the drawing and collect dates of birth where possible.

Our first introduction of Twile to the class was in week three where, having brought in their updated family trees, we were amazed to see that one child had a tree that dated back to the 1300’s! They clearly have a genealogist in the family who will be delighted that their younger generation is taking an early interest!

After a short demonstration of how to build a tree in Twile, the students got to work. With one computer between three, they watched one another take turns to grow their trees. They were so excited to see the branches connect in Twile and enthusiastically continued to add further relatives until their time was up! The children found the technology easy and fun to use and couldn’t wait to get home and do more with their parents. I received a wonderful note from one of the students!

Slack for iOS UploadSlack for iOS Upload (1)

So far, this project is going brilliantly and I really am having so much fun with the children. I’ll keep you posted on how we progress. If the response so far is anything to go by, we have generated family discussions and made family history a bit more interesting. Young genealogists in training!

Kelly

Taking Family History back to school

We have recently started an interesting trial in a local school, which helps with our core mission of getting younger generations interested in their family history.

Besides being co-founder of Twile, I am a mum of three girls aged 4, 7 andphoto-of-me-and-girls 11 who have unwittingly been exposed to our ‘family history’ on Twile now for several years. When asked, my children would say family history is not something that would interest them. However, they sit for some time scrolling through our Twile timeline asking questions about stories from the past such as my wedding day and their christening celebrations. They ask about our family in both Ireland and South America and are puzzled by how Grandma and Grandad met when they were born so far apart! They love looking at photos of their grandparents as children and laugh hysterically at their fashion sense!  I would say that they have a good sense of belonging and an appreciation of the wider world after seeing how our family came to be.

I struck up a conversation with one of their teachers, who was hugely supportive and loved the idea of teaching children a bit about their family in school. As well as providing a sense of belonging and some emotional support for the children, the opportunity to learn more about their family story and build a family tree in something new and innovative appealed. Together with the teacher, we began to put together a 7 week  project for Key Stage 2 children at Old Town School, in my home town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

It turns out that Twile fits in to the UK curriculum in many ways, covering PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Emotional), History and ICT. I was delighted to be invited to help with the project that will take place once a week for the rest of term. My 7 year old daughter Arabella, is loving having mummy in class too!

It’s wonderful to see my local community supporting and welcoming innovation. It will also be a great opportunity for me to see how the children interact with Twile…and i’m sure that they will give me some (very honest) feedback!

I will be posting regular updates on my time at the school and I am really excited to see the reaction from the children.

Related article:

Meet the founders 

Twile Integrates with FamilySearch

OK, so this is exciting! Today we have launched our FamilySearch integration, which lets you import your FamilySearch tree into Twile to automatically create a rich, visual timeline of your family history.

Twile now connects securely to FamilySearch to import your tree and generate a timeline, made up of key milestones such as births and marriages – onto which you can add photos and more recent events to bring it to life.

The integration means that – for the first time – FamilySearch customers can now share their research privately with other family members. The family’s non-genealogists can then explore their ancestry through milestones, stories and pictures – and add content of their own, such as their own life events and recent photos. Families can start to collaboratively record not just the past, but the present and future too.

We have been working on the integration since our success at RootsTech earlier this year. It’s taken some time to build, but we have a passionate community of FamilySearch users who have waited patiently while we built it. Some of our users have helped to test it over the last few weeks, so a huge thank-you to them. We’re delighted that it is now here and ready for you to use!

In a press release issued today, Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO said “FamilySearch is always looking for fun, engaging experiences that help our patrons make new personal discoveries and family connections. Twile’s rich, custom timeline of key family history events does exactly that!”

We are delighted to be working with FamilySearch and we will soon be adding support for FamilySearch’s memories and photos, plus an automatic synchronisation that will keep the Twile timeline up to date as FamilySearch records change.

If you are a new FamilySearch user, simply register for Twile at www.twile.com to start your free trial – plus, our new Twile Free package allows you to add up to 10 events and 10 photos every month with no subscription fee.