Our top tips for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2017

It’s the Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC this week and we’re looking forward to what promises to be the biggest and best one yet!

At the show you’ll find over 120 genealogy experts on hand to help with your research and provide FREE access to their billions of records. You can find us on the Findmypast stand – look for our signature red t-shirts!

Whether you’re a seasoned family historian or taking your first steps to uncovering your family’s history, you’re sure to find all the expert advice, tips and guidance you need at the show. There can be a lot to take in though, so here are a few tips:

  • Plan ahead: If you have booked to attend some of the workshops, make sure you know where you need to be and when. Take a look at the Society of Genealogists Workshop Programme here.
  • Wear comfortable shoes! It is a big hall, accommodating a lot of exhibitors! You are going to do a lot of walking.
  • Think about what you want to discover: Our friend Tami at Conference Keeper gave this good advice last year in her guest blog. “Chances are good that you’ve got a genealogy question you’re looking to answer. Or maybe two. Or maybe twenty. Write them down. Be specific. When asking questions in a class, networking with others, or just meeting new people, be considerate of their time by being as succinct and direct as possible. Consider the bare minimum of information needed when asking a question – your family history is absolutely fascinating… to your family. Genealogists do appreciate others’ stories and are generally always eager to help answer questions, but most anyone starts to nod off when your question about locating your grandmother’s birth certificate starts five generations back”.
  • Take advantage of the show offers: There will be plenty!
  • Visit the local family history societies: They cover a lot of the exhibition area and many have travelled a long way to be there. They may just be able to help you break down a brick wall and in our experience we have found them to be amongst the most helpful people in the hall. Their passion is your passion… they love talking about genealogy, so make the most of them.

We’re looking forward to:

 

Celebrity Talk – Behind the Scenes of Danny Dyer’s Episode – Thursday, 10.15am

Making the Most of The British Newspaper Archive, with Aoife O’Connor, Findmypast – Thursday, 3.15pm

How to get your kids interested in Genealogy, with Erin Tilley – Friday 4.15pm

Celebrity Guest Sunetra Sarker – Saturday 10.15

Using Social Media in your Genealogical Research, with Kirsty Gray  – Saturday 12.15pm

If you’re at the event over the next few days, do come and say hello! If you’ve not already created one, we will show you how to turn your family tree into a fun infographic to share with the rest of your family and we can answer any questions that you have about Twile. See you there!

Related links:

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

Photo credit: Who Do You Think You Are? Live

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

 

 

 

Some of our favourite inspirational genealogy mothers

This weekend, we celebrate Mother’s Day in the UK. We have met and come to know many inspirational genealogy mothers over the past few years who have a real passion for preserving memories and sharing their family stories with their children.

At Twile, our mission is to make family history more engaging and interesting for younger generations, so we love reading these mums’ articles and often use their advice with our own children.

Here are a few of our favourite family history mummy bloggers and some of their recent articles that stood out to us:

  • Hilarie Robison at Legacy Tale:Why you should hold an intentional family planning retreat“. As fellow entrepreneurs whose children have an awareness of the family ‘business’, this was such an interesting read. An interesting way to explore things that the whole family wish to accomplish together in the long term. We are delighted to be supporting Legacy Tale’s storytelling retreat in April.
  • Amie Bowser Tennant at The Genealogy Reporter: “Trying to Stump Big Grandma and other Family History Fun with Kids“. A great article about using every opportunity to tell children their family history in short little conversations. I remember fondly little snippets of the conversations I had with grandparents and often try to pass these memories on to my kids.
  • Melissa Finlay at The Finlay Family Blog: May I introduce to You…Melissa Finlay“. I loved this Geneabloggers interview with Melissa. She really is an inspirational lady and makes me feel positively lazy! As well as developing genealogy apps and maintaining her blog, she is also home-schooling her children – a real Wonder Woman.
  • Nicole Dyer at Family Locket: Nicole hosted the very first Family History for Children Blog Link Up this week. What a brilliant idea! We are looking forward to joining the link up in April – “Family History Research for Busy Parents”.
  • Jana Greenhalgh at The Genealogy Kids: “Little ones love stories and pictures“. Definitely true! Our daughter especially enjoys looking at the wedding pictures of her grandparents and great-grandparents on our Twile timeline.
  • Jana Last at Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog: “Favourite Family Recipes – Grandpa C’s Peanut Clusters.” Definitely worth trying as they are so simple, although the core ingredients are not so easy to find in the UK and we had to improvise! I have a hand-written cook book that belonged to my grandmother – it was collated by children in the neighbourhood and each of the mothers who had provided recipes were referred to with a title (e.g. Mrs Johnson’s Lemon Cake). Engaging in family food traditions is really a way to pass on little slices of the family story.
  • Allison Kimball at AllisonKimball.com: Remembering“. I love the idea of children within a family picking up a photogaph of someone – an ancestor – that they want to know better.

To all the inspirational mothers, whether you’re in the UK or not: Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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 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.

Your family in numbers – a free personalised infographic

We are delighted to share our new feature with you – a personalised digital family history infographic which you can create easily for free, to share with your family and friends.

Last week we posted an article about perspective in family history and the benefits of looking at things in a different way. Our new infographic takes this a step further and what’s more, we think it will appeal to everyone, whether genealogists or not!

What is an infographic?

Family History InfographicAn infographic is a colourful graphic made up of statistics, in this case numbers pulled from your family tree.

Whether you have imported your tree or manually created one in Twile, you can simply click a button to see it converted to an infographic. It displays information such as the average age of marriage, popular surnames and average family size. Fun right?

And we’ve designed it to be very easy to share with your family – you can quickly share your graphic on Facebook or Twitter, or download it to print or email it.

To celebrate the launch of this exciting feature, we are giving away a $200 Amazon gift card. Simply create your infographic at www.twile.com/numbers, share it and tag Twile on Facebook (@TwileTimeline) or Twitter (@TwileTweets) to enter the prize draw.

How to get your free infographic

  • Existing Twile customer? Simply click the ‘View infographic’ button at the top of your family tree in Twile.
  • New to Twile? Visit www.twile.com/numbers and we’ll send your infographic to you by email.

 

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