Friday, December 18, 2015

Gift Certificate Flash Sale

Announcing our Gift Certificate Flash Sale.


on all Family ChartMasters Gift Certificates

Buy Now at

The gift certificates are a .pdf that comes immediately to your email that you can then send to your friends electronically or print to give.  They come in $25 and $50 denominations.

Our gift certificates are the perfect Christmas gift to help a friend show off their family's history. A Personal Designer will help your friend create a beautiful chart from the family history information they send in.  Or if you are planning to create a chart for yourself in the next year, now is the time to save money on it.  We have 2 different services that the gift certificates are good for:

First, we have our Decorative Chart option where we can design any size or style of chart your gift recipient wants.  We can do a pedigree, bowtie, hourglass, etc., we can also include both ancestors and descendants, in-laws and outlaws on a chart. We will add a title, border, background, pictures, or other decorative elements. When they send in their genealogy information, we'll create a mock up based on their suggestions and then we'll work back and forth with their suggestions and new mock ups to make sure everything is perfect  before we print.  We're sure we can come up with something they will love--otherwise we keep working with them on it until we do.  We generally keep these charts to typical frame sizes so that they are easy to find frames for.  The pricing for these charts depends on the size of the chart and the paper choice.  All of our papers and ink for decorative charts are high quality and archival safe. You can view sample charts, pricing here:
Our gallery of charts and other decorative elements we can incorporate is at:   Other charts we've designed can be seen on our blog at  Basically anything you can dream up and describe to us, we can create for you.

Second, we have our Working Chart option where we can print a simple ancestor pedigree, or a descendant chart.  We print the chart as it comes out of the data with no editing, no title, no border, no decorative features.  These charts are on 20 lb. standard bond paper, non-archival ink and paper.  This type of chart is priced by the foot, so pricing depends on how big the family plots out.  Recipients can see options and sample pricing at but if they don't see what you are looking for there, just let us know.  We have lots of options for working charts.

Pricing for all of our charts can be found at  Generally around $100-$150 will cover the cost of a decorative chart.  Working charts are $30 and up depending on the size of the chart.  
Both of these options start by sending the family history information for a free consultation at  We're happy to look at the information and send back some ideas for sizes and prices. With all of the charts we design, additional copies of the exact chart are 1/2 off. We ship USPS Priority Mail and Shipping for 1-3 charts in the USA is an additional $11.95.

We'll take good care of your loved ones with our great customer service.  We're looking forward to making you look good.

 Purchase at

Sale valid through December 25, 2015.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Santa Baby Meme

Friday to Friday Flash Sale on Gift Certificates Coming Soon

Rather than giving more stuff, the gift of an experience has become all the rage.  And what better experience can you give than working together as a family with the personal designers at Family ChartMasters to create a beautiful family history chart that will instantly become an heirloom. 

You can give that experience to your family, and we're going to make it even easier and more affordable.  From December 18th to the 25th we will be offering our gift certificates on a buy four get the fifth free sale.  They come in $25 and $50 values and are an instant download that you just print and give.  The recipient can expect to be treated like royalty and we'll help them create any kind of chart they can dream up. 

Watch our newsletter, our blog, our facebook page, twitter feed or google plus feed Friday for a special link to take advantage of this great offer.  And if you are planning a chart in the near future, you may want to grab a few of these for yourself too. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Heirlooms Can Help Connect Your Family To Their History

When I was about 8 years old, and my little sister was about 6, my Mom helped us create a little salt dough nativity set for my Matriarchal Grandparents Darrel and Eila Dana.  We carefully crafted the pieces and painted them and sealed them with shellac.  We even made a card with our Shrinky Dinks and signed our names.  I was surprised how much Grandma loved that nativity.  It was always displayed in a place of honor at Christmas time.  When she passed, my Mother saved them for me.  They are a sweet reminder of my Grandmother and the love she had for me.  
Another holiday heirloom in our home is a beautiful Christmas ornament that was smocked by my Patriarchal Grandmother Hortense Carpenter.  She was always the consummate homemaker with lavish parties and great food and a whole room of fabric she used to create beautiful things.  She had taken a smocking class in the late 1970s and that Christmas she invited each of her grandchildren to take home an ornament from her tree.  She was surprised when I chose this ornament she had made because she didn't think it was her best work.  But even at that young age, I knew and heirloom when I saw one.  I think she was pleased that I took it and she knew I would treasure it and pass it down in my own family.

Each year when we get out the Christmas decorations, I love to tell my kids about the wonderful ladies that my Grandmothers were and how much they loved me.  I love to think about them as I see these things in my home and honoring them has become part of my holiday season.  Do you have any holiday heirlooms that you use during this time of the year?  Maybe a Menorah that has been passed down, or some beautiful dishes?  Be sure you are telling the stories of these people and helping the next generation of your family feel the appreciation you have for those who have made your family what it is today.

We wish you the happiest of holidays with you and yours.  Thank you for being part of our conversation this year.  We really appreciate you and look forward to spending many more years celebrating our family histories together. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Big Zap The Grandma Gap Cyber Monday Sale

From the Zap The Grandma Gap Blog

Our biggest sale ever will happen on Cyber Monday this year.

All e-books will be 50% off.  No coupon necessary.  

Just check out the website on Monday for great ideas to help you connect with your family.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Family History Table Decorations

Recently, a good friend asked us to create placemats for his wedding luncheon.  We put together a chart that showed how all of his family members were related to the new couple and designed it to match the wedding decorations and invitations.  They turned out beautifully and I'm sure they were helpful to make sure that everyone new who was who at the party.  It was a brilliant idea, and we were happy to be part of it.

It reminded me of the table runner I created last thanksgiving.  Copying an idea I had seen on pinterest, I put together many of my family's pictures and we printed the piece on vinyl so that it would hold up to lots of use. It brought a new level of meaning to our Thanksgiving table to sit and look at the faces of the people who brought us to where we are now. 

Any of our charts can be adjusted to create placemats or table decorations.  We can print on vinyl, or laminate regular paper.  You could even use our game cards to make a game out of it and see what your family knows about their family history.  Really any kind of genealogy chart could work, such as examples from our gallery like this one, or this one or this one. 

I hope your family has a wonderful holiday season together.  We'd be happy to create a table runner or some chart placemats or runners for you as well.  And remember with any of our charts, after the first copy, any extra copies are 1/2 price.  Just send your pictures and/or your genealogy information via our free consultation.  We REALLY CAN create any kind of family history art presentation for you. We love bringing your family memories front and center in your modern family to enrich and strengthen those around you now. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

10 Cool Things You Can Do With a Family ChartMasters Chart

Over the years, we have created hundreds of charts that our clients have used for a multitude of occasions. Let us tell you what you can do with a chart designed by Family ChartMasters...

1. Show It Off

Display a chart in your home as a focal point to honor your family's heritage and remind them who they came from.

2. Decorate Your Wedding

Use a Family ChartMasters chart to show the family lines of the bride and groom through information and photos.

3. Celebrate A Milestone

Decorate a loved one's birthday, anniversary or graduation party with an heirloom chart.

4. Honor Loved Ones

Remember a loved one's life with a memorial chart on display at funeral service.

5. Give As A Holiday Gift

A custom decorative chart makes an unforgettable gift for your family and multiple copies of the same chart are always 1/2 price.

6.  Connect Your Generations

 Show multiple generations through photos in a simple and beautiful chart.

7.  Gather Information

 Order an inexpensive working chart and ask family members to update their information at a family reunion.

8.  Journal Your Ancestors

Included additional information on the chart to memorialize your ancestors' unique lives and experiences.

9.  Honor Cultural Heritage

Customize a family legacy chart with maps and flags representing your ancestors.

10.  Celebrate A New Baby

Decorate your baby's nursery with a custom family chart filled with photos.

Please give us a call here at Family ChartMasters and we'd be happy to discuss other options or ideas you may have.  Or visit our free consultation page, send us your file, and we'll get started on it right away.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Holiday Deadlines

Holiday deadlines are fast approaching and we want to give you plenty of notice so we can help you get your gifts ready on time.

Here are Family ChartMasters' deadlines for sending us your family history information and starting a genealogy chart if you want to avoid extra rush fees or expedited shipping charges:

  • Nov 16th Hanukkah Gifts
  • Nov 23rd Charts that need International Shipping
  • Dec 7th Decorative charts shipped in the United States
  • Dec 14th Working charts (no preview) shipped in the United States
  • We're happy to work on charts for you after these dates and we'll do our best to get them to you in time, but there may be rush fees or expedited shipping charges.  
If you can't decide what you are looking for, check out our new Gallery.  You may also find inspiration on our Decorative Chart Pages or in the charts section of this blog.  Virtually anything you can dream up, we can design.  Just send us your information for a Free Consultation and we'll have your own personal designer send you some options.  Or if you are an or FamilySearch user you can use our new Ancestry Upload Page, or the FamilySearch Upload Page.  We want to make it really easy for you. 

We recently created a chart for a wonderful lady that was donated by an anonymous benefactor.  We had so much fun participating in this generous act of kindness, and spoiling this sweet client with lots of attention and making sure she received exactly what she wanted.  Please know that we love helping you with stealthy gift giving. We'll treat anyone who receives one of our gift certificates like a VIP. And if you want to design a chart yourself to give, we'll work back and forth with you over a private email account, leave the invoice out of the package, and ship to alternative addresses. When you give the gift of a chart we'll do everything we can to meet your deadline and make it perfect.  And the gift certificates are an instant download.  Let us know what you need us to do to keep this gift a surprise and we will make your special person feel well taken care of.  We love making you look good and we are really awesome at keeping secrets.  Think of Family ChartMasters as your undercover gift giving elves; making it easy on you and bringing total delight with a meaningful gift.

New Family ChartMasters Website

We are so excited to announce a new look to our Family ChartMasters website!  Not only did we change the layout and make it mobile-user friendly, we added an extensive testimonials page showing off our happy customers and enhanced our chart gallery with over 40 different chart designs exclusive to FamilyChartMasters.

Family ChartMasters Chart Gallery

Also it is now easier than ever to upload your family tree to Family ChartMasters from Follow the instructions on our new webpage and we'll take a look at your file and get right back to you.

Directly Download from Ancestry

To download your family tree from
When you are logged in, scroll down on the home page to where you can see your family tree box (under the "recent activity" box).  Click to "view this tree".  At the top of the tree you'll see "tree pages" with a down arrow.  Click once on the down arrow and you'll see the menu item "tree settings."   On the right you will see a green button that says "Export Tree"  After processing, the button will change to say "Download your gedcom file."  Click on that button and save the file to a place where you will remember where it is (the desktop is a good place to put it if you are unsure.)

We can create a chart from any type of genealogy computer data file such as Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, Family Tree Builder, The Master Genealogist, Personal Ancestral File, and many others. We would prefer the actual data file i.e. .ftm, .rmgc, .fdb, .paf, etc. All genealogy programs have the ability to export a .gedcom file and we can use that as well. Feel free to send us the whole file and we can take out just the parts we need.

If you have your data on a genealogy website, we would need a .gedcom file to create the chart. Most websites have instructions to let you create a .gedcom file. You can contact the website company and ask for instructions on how to do this, or if you want to give us a call we can walk you through it over the phone. To download your family tree from FamilySearch, just use our easy Family Search Download Page.

If you don’t have your information in a genealogy format, we can still work with what you have. We do need to eventually use a genealogy file but we can create one for you. We charge $15.00 per hour to do Data Entry. Just get us your genealogy information any way you can and we’ll send you a quote before we start. E-mail, Excel, Word—any format you can get to us will work.

How do I create my own over-sized genealogy chart and have Family ChartMasters print it?
You might try one of the following programs:
What if I have something else in mind and it is not like any of the sample charts you have on the website?

After 11 years of experience in building and printing a multitude of genealogy chart styles from every kind of genealogy file, we're confident in our ability to say that we really can print exactly what you're looking for. We'll do everything we can to create a beautiful representation of your family history.

Family ChartMasters makes it super easy for you! Send us your file and we'll take it from there. We'll make you look really good.  Your in-laws will love you.

November Sale Free Shipping

We've never done free shipping on orders within the US before, but we are feeling really generous for the month of November.  If you want to pay full price for shipping you can, but be sure to send the check to Janet and mark it "Christmas Bonus for Erin, Wendy, and Christine."
Otherwise, just mention coupon code FREETOUSA to receive your free shipping.

This offer is good for any working or decorative charts that we design. If you need ideas for your chart, check out our new and improved chart gallery or give us a call at 801.87.CHART (801.872.4278.) We'd be happy to chat with you. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Early Bird Holiday Sale

Family Chartist Chart Leaves on Parchment
I like the peaceful feeling that comes when you have everything ready early for the holidays and you know you can relax and just enjoy being with your family.  So at the risk of jumping the gun, we'd like to extend an offer to all you early birds out there to help you feel better knowing you've saved some money too.

For any custom decorative charts completed by October 31, 2015, we are offering Buy One Get One Copy Free.

It's the perfect holiday gift. So check out our new gallery of chart ideas and then just send in any genealogy file and we'll get started on your family history chart early. We'll have plenty of time to work back and forth with you and make sure everything is perfect before we print.  You can start the process with our free consultation and we'll get back with you with options on prices and sizes for what you are looking for.  Ancestry users can start on our special Ancestry page.  If you like to use FamilySearch we can download your information using our FamilySearch download page.  We'll look forward to making your family the perfect chart.  Get ready to impress your family members.

Fun Halloween Memes

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rearranging things

So we've been going back and forth with the blogging over this last year and I think we've come to some new conclusions.  If you've been a regular reader you may have noticed some subtle changes.  And I think you'll notice as we make this next change.

I've been caught in the typical small business exchange between the many hats you juggle as a company starts to grow.  We've hired wonderful, competent people and I've tried to figure out what to pass off and what is critical to keep my hands on.  Last year, we hired Michelle Phillips and she did a wonderful job of helping me keep the blogs and other social networking going. 
Then when she had to leave in February, we've had Christine Fazulyanov helping out along with many other critical things she does for the company.  Both of these ladies have added so much to our online presence, fleshing out my ideas and adding their own.  I don't know what I would have done without their help.

But we've decided that my blogs The Chart Chick, and Zap The Grandma Gap really are best when they are completely and entirely fleshed out by me and on a more regular basis.  So I've cleared my plate of some of my other responsibilities so that I can focus here.  Since so much of the work we do with our clients is online, we want you to know about who we really are, so that you can feel like you are working with real people--which we are!

We love getting to know you through your charts and your family history stories and pictures.  Just yesterday, our newest team member Wendy was excited about a lovely picture someone had sent her for a chart.  Discussion ensued about how discovering beautiful photos was one of the fun perks of the job.  We are privileged to share your family history with you.  So we want to be open and transparent with you about our lives here on the blogs.  So watch for more fun here.  And let me know what you think.  We always want to hear your ideas about what we are doing.  We love working with you to figure out this whole family history thing.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Customer Spotlight

Customer Spotlight: Dave D. 

We are so happy to highlight Dave D., a longtime loyal customer of Family ChartMasters. We asked him to share why he loves Family ChartMasters charts and how he uses them.

From Dave...
"Most of us have our family history and genealogy wrapped up in very high tech programs in our computer or contained in a black box hidden beneath our desk.  Why not bring it alive with pictures on a beautiful framed chart, hanging on a prominent wall in our home for all to see?  Our children and grandchildren can see how they fit into this mass of humanity we call our family.

My first chart was for my family in 2009.  Since then I have done 55 more for family, friends, and others I have met along the way. They have been given as birthday, Christmas, wedding anniversary presents, to be shown at funerals to honor the person passing and for family reunions.  

While gathering the information needed we always find names that can be shared with others to help in their search.  We also run into relatives we didn't know we had.

In doing these charts I have been introduced to some great genealogy websites that help with my research and get me in touch with others who share my love of this work.

I plan to continue to do these charts as long as my fingers can work the keyboard and my eyes can see the screen.  Happy hunting and may you find the next generation in your line. "

We thank you Dave for your longtime support!

Monday, October 5, 2015

How To Remove a Chart From the Shipping Tube

Great news! This is our team member Wendy in her YouTube debut with a video tutorial showing how to remove your chart from the shipping tube.  It's all in the finger placement with a twisting action.

After all your hard work researching your family, we want to make sure your chart arrives in mint condition. We encourage you to view this video after placing your chart order.  We hope this will be a great help to show you how to successfully retrieve your chart from the shipping tube!

Monday, August 17, 2015

May We Show Off Your Genealogy Chart?

I've been asked to speak at RootsTech 2016 and the title of my lecture is "Voila: 101 Ways to Design a Pedigree Chart." After 10 years of speaking on all different topics, it's nice to feel recognized that we really know what we are talking about when it comes to genealogy charts.

We've designed some magnificent charts over the years and I've always been a little bit shy about asking permission to share your chart because it's so personal--it's your family.  But now I'm asking! If we've done a chart for you and you would permit me to share it as part of the slideshow at my RootsTech presentation, please email me at  To protect your privacy, our company policy is to always change the personal information of any living people. 

Compared to how many we've printed in the last 11 years, 101 charts is a drop in the bucket, but I'm hoping our clients will help me put this slideshow together.  We want to show off our best work.  Let me know if you can help me with this presentation.  Not only would we love to share your chart, but we would also love to see your pictures of what you've done with your chart and how you have displayed it.  Send your photos to

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Difference Between Working Charts and Decorative Charts

We often get asked the question:

What is the difference between a working chart and a decorative chart? In addition to price, design, paper type, and custom options, another important difference is the online preview.

Working charts are inexpensive, large, draft copies printed on 20 lb. standard bond with non-archival ink and paper. They are perfect for writing on and collecting more information--especially at family reunions. We print the file as it comes out from the data that you send us. There is no on-line preview, no edits, no decorative elements added to the chart to save you money. When you send your file in for a free consultation, we will send you back several layout and size options for printing your chart and when you place your order, we get it printed and sent right out to you.
Working charts have simple layouts
A decorative chart is a custom chart with your family information in any format you want to design.  We will add a title, border, background, pictures, or other decorative elements.  We can also add color-coding or other graphics and embellishments.  All of our decorative chart papers and ink are archival. When we create a decorative genealogy chart, we put together a preview and email you a link to it so you can check it and make sure it is what you are envisioning and the information is all right.  We can create virtually any design you can describe to us.  We work back and forth with you using more previews until it is perfect. Then when you give us the ok we'll take payment and print and ship it right out to you.

What is the cost? The cost of our charts is largely dependent on the size of the chart, the quality of paper you want and whether or not you want a preview. That is why our free consultation is so great. Once you submit your file and let us know what type of chart you are looking for, we will look at the size the chart will be as per your request. We will then e-mail you with options that will include the price of the chart.

Are there any discounts? For the Working charts and the Decorative charts, you pay full price for the first copy and then all additional copies are 1/2 off the original price. Orders for 10 or more copies receive an additional 10% off the whole order, and orders for 20 or more copies receive an additional 20% off the order.

How long does it take? Once we receive your order, it takes 24-48 hours to print your chart. Of course for Decorative charts you will want to allow for 2-3 weeks to make sure we can work back and forth with you to create exactly what you are envisioning.

How do I start? Go to our free consultation page at to submit your file and information.  We'll take a look and get right back to you!

Genealogy Charts

When you come to us, you can expect the best. After more than a decade of printing genealogy charts, we are confident that we can print exactly what you are looking for. You can relax knowing that we will create a beautiful representation of your family's history. 

Upload your file for a free consultation here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy Customers

We have done some fabulous charts this summer including a chart for an adorable bride and groom to show off at the wedding, a 50th wedding anniversary celebration, several memorial services, a 90th birthday, and a few huge color coded charts for family reunions.  We've also done several Jewish charts that were taken back to their homeland to share with their families.   

We know these are very personal expressions of your family, so we are a bit shy about asking for them, but we love to show off what we have created together.

A couple of recent customer comments...
"I really want to thank you for for the amazing service you provided, answering questions, helping get the files organized, and printing and shipping so quickly. The wall charts looked fantastic, we had so many positive comments on them. Thanks again." ---Don Z.

"A belated thank you to Family ChartMasters for their awesome charts.   We've been using them for displays at our family reunions and I can't say enough about what a pleasure it is to work with Erin and Janet and how pleased we are with the printout of the family tree.  As others have said, everyone is very impressed with the results and I would highly recommend them. The picture shows my niece looking for her name on the family tree." --Karen R.

We love our customers! We love it when you share your photos with us. If you've done any charts with us and would like to share a photos, please email them to us at

Thursday, August 6, 2015

BYU Conference 2015

One of the highlights of the year is attending the 2015 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy.  We enjoyed seeing so many friends at this conference. It's always a great time to visit and catch up with fellow genealogists.  It was a privilege to meet Jana Last, a good friend who I've known for a long time online but had never met.  We love this conference every year and the chance to hang out with the genealogy community.
We were thrilled to take our newest employee, Wendy Johnson, to her first conference.  She was a rock star in greeting new customers and we loved having her there as an addition to our team.  We love genealogists and we couldn't wait to introduce Wendy to the wonderful people we get to work with.  I'm sure you'll enjoy getting to know her as well and she is already becoming an expert in creating the perfect chart for your family.

Our new matching cardigans and shirts embroidered with the Family ChartMasters logo were also a big hit.  We garnered lots of fun comments and potentially inspired a few others vendors to take a look at matching shirts as well.  We are excited to have our matching green tops for RootsTech 2016.  It will be easy for you to see who the chart experts are!

Check our calendar for the upcoming family history conferences in Ogden and Riverton---we hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Family Reunion Relationship Chart

We have been printing lots of charts for family reunions this summer.  It is always fun helping people celebrate their family history with both working charts that family members can edit and add information to, along with decorative charts which are a beautiful way to show off your family members' information along with photos.

We recently published a new e-book to assist in your family reunion planning: "My Ancestor: Family Reunion".  This e-book, available for instant download, will keep your family members of all ages busy as they get to know each other and their heritage together. In purchasing the My Ancestor: Family Reunion e-book, you get to choose one of the My Ancestor Activity Workbooks (Pioneer, British, German, Danish, Jewish, Civil War, Swedish, or Mormon) with the rights to copy the pages for your family reunion activities. The workbook section of over 70 pages includes not only the heritage activity pages, but also general pages to get children and others interacting with their family history. Add to that the many ideas for meaningful games, contests, and projects and you have a recipe for a successful family reunion!

This Family Reunion Relationship Chart, included in "My Ancestor: Family Reunion" e-book, is a fun visual tool to help teach the relationships within families.  Use this at family reunions to help explain how family members are related as they get to know each other better.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

MyHeritage Announces New Translation Technology
MyHeritage has just announced a ground breaking technology to assist in foreign language translation when doing genealogy research. This exciting new advancement automatically and accurately translates names across records in 17 different languages with more languages to come.  MyHeritage has played to their strengths in this beneficial innovation and is using their global reach in advancing the language capabilities available for family history research world wide. 

We are happy to see the successful growth of MyHeritage.  They have partnered with us as their exclusive chart printer and this summer we have especially experienced exponential growth as they continue to expand world wide.  We have printed their charts in many languages including Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Czech and Spanish and have shipped all over the world for MyHeritage including such exotic locales as Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Turkey, New Caledonia, and Ghana.  We are grateful for their partnership and look forward to their continued success. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How much can you fit in a month?

I was gone 22 out of 33 days recently, and my oldest son graduated from High School in the 10 days I was home. (You can see why I haven't gotten much blogging done.)  Too much fun.  Here's the update:
First I got to go to the National Genealogical Association Conference in St. Charles Missouri.  It was a great venue and of course lots of good people to talk to.  We did our Outside the Box sessions in the vendors hall and I got to talk to lots of people about charts they wanted to create for their family reunions this summer.  It was a quick trip but very productive.

 Then I was home to mark some major passages in our current family.  My oldest graduating from High School and my youngest graduation from Jr. High.  I can't believe how fast a family grows up.  Time marches on.  Even though I'm a genealogist, I try not to think about that too much.  :)
And then we took off on an actual family vacation of our own.  Thanks to these wonderful ladies we were actually able to really get away.  Erin, Christine and Wendy took wonderful care of our clients while we were gone.  That takes alot of trust.  I'm so thankful for these ladies.  We are so blessed to have them. 
And where did we go?  Family History sites of course.  We started at Niagara Falls and worked our way around the great lakes region, down into Illinois and up to Wisconsin where Kim grew up. 
We got to see several sites where my ancestors lived and worked in New York and Ohio. 
This is me in front of a house one of my ancestors built in 1843.  There was actually a store in the part of the home on the left side of the picture.  My mother's ancestor who built the home was in business with one of my father's ancestors here.  How cool is that?
I actually caught a good smile in a selfie with another ancestor's home. The teenagers had fun, but they did there best to make sure I didn't capture any proof of it.  Here I outwitted him :)
And then we took the kids to see where my husband Kim grew up in Wisconsin.  None of them had been there since they were babies, so they had no memories of it.  It was so, so cool to teach my kids (and remind myself) about where my husband came from and the forces that formed his early life.  I gained a much greater appreciation of who he is, and how far he has come and I think the kids did too. 
We taught the kids about their grandmother who died shortly before my daughter was born.  We are so grateful now that we took the time to record her 40 page oral history shortly before her death.  While we were reading that history on the trip, my kids were excited to find out that she ate chocolate and coke for breakfast while she was in High School.  They learned alot of other things too of course, like her love for antiques.  We took the kids to a store where she had sold antiques and immediately they became antique hounds too.  It is funny how apples fall so close to the tree, even when they hadn't been exposed to that much before. 
A really special time on the trip was when we got to go visit Kim's mother's grave.  My kids had never been to their grandmother's gravesite.  Kim got to clean the gravestone and we talked and had some moments of reflection there.  It was really sweet to say a prayer at that site sacred to our family.  Such a family bonding moment for all of us. 
The property that Kim's grandparents owned and where he lived for a time is now a motel and RV park so we actually stayed on the same property while we were there.  So cool!  It is a beautiful area and I can see why Kim misses the beautiful lake he grew up on. I think Kim enjoyed showing us around and I don't think it will be so long before we go back again next time. 
Then, 24 hours after we got home, my son Matthew and I took off for the Southern California Genealogical Society conference in Burbank, CA.  One of my favorite conferences (more on that in the next post) I have taken one child with me every year for the past several years.  This year was Matthew's turn and it was even better since they had asked him to speak.  We had a good time, just the two of us.  We checked out the Aquarium in Long Beach before the conference, were able to hit a few DNA sessions and then set up for the conference. 
Matthew was a great help at the booth.  It was nice to know things were taken care of while I gave my lectures and talked to some of our partners.  I really appreciate how everyone is so welcoming to him when he helps us out at conferences. 
And of course he nailed his "Get to Know Your Geezers" lecture.  It was livestreamed and in it he mentioned that you could use Elizabeth Shown Mills' book Evidence Explained to cite numerous sources--even a can of soda or the Declaration of Independence--and it has a "great plot".  Someone told her about that on facebook and she got a good laugh from that.  I'm just stinking proud of him no matter what sources he's citing.

It was a whirlwind but oh so fun.  I came back home to family reunion season in full swing so it has been busy busy busy.  But I love it.  This is what I've chosen and my life is awesomely full.  I am so blessed to get to work with and work for genealogists.  We've been creating some amazing charts for people already this summer.  Let me know when we can create one for your family.