Genealogy Gifts and Games

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Creating personalized gifts and games that showcase your family history is a great way to connect the generations. The possibilities are endless; the important thing is to create something that makes family history fun and engaging. Hopefully this list will stimulate your thinking and make you aware of some helpful resources. Have fun!

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Your Life Story
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There is no better gift to give your family than your own life story. There are many ways to do it – you can answer individual questions, write one story at a time, or simply start at the beginning and write in chronological order. Then, share what you have written by printing customized books or putting the stories in a binder or on a CD.

For tips on getting started and ideas of questions to answer, check out these Websites:

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It is now easy to publish your own books on any topic imaginable - a specific person or event, or anniversary; a theme, such as vacations or Christmas; or a family alphabet book. There are many print-on-demand companies to choose from; your decision depends on how you want to create the book. Here’s a look at the three basic options and a few of the top companies in each category:

Use your own software, and then work with the publisher to finalize your book.
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Download software from the company and upload the book when it’s ready.
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Publish completely online.
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An inexpensive alternative to creating a book is to make a CD or DVD. This medium also gives you the added advantage of being able to share audio or video recordings. There are many commercial companies and products to help – just do an Internet search with a phrase like “family history DVD.” Here are just a few examples:

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Creating a collection of family recipes will bring back delicious memories and ensure that those recipes are shared with future generations. You can even include photographs and memories about the specific dishes. For ideas and tools, go to:

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Create a family tree placemat for the children in your family. You can draw a tree and add photographs or create the tree using design software. The other side of the placemat could feature family photographs or anything meaningful to your family. If you don’t want to create your own placemats, there are some commercial companies you could check out, such as:

The Personal Note

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This is a never-fail idea that is simple to do. Your calendar could include living family members, ancestors, or both. Don’t forget to include birthdays, anniversaries, and other important family dates. There are many online companies or just take your calendar to somewhere like Kinko’s or Alphagraphics. Here are some of the many helpful websites:

Family Calendar

Personalized Family Calendar

Create Photo Calendars


Vista Print

Publish Me Mine

Blog Article: Create Your Own Printable Photo Calendar

Photograph Collages
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Create a fun way to display and share family photographs. This could include a five generation look at one’s female or male ancestry, or perhaps a photograph together with artifacts, such as medals.

Coloring Books
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A great way to teach young children about their family history is to create a coloring book. The subject could be an individual, a couple, or a family. You could also create a coloring book based on a specific experience in an ancestor’s life. To illustrate the pages of your coloring book, use drawings, photographs, maps, and other visuals that have room for children to color. (Make sure to follow copyright laws.) You could even draw your own pictures. There are even Websites that can turn your photos into cartoon-like drawings, such as: Be Funky.