Follow Friday – The Patient Genealogist and Her eBook

One of the genealogy blogs I follow in Feedly is The Patient Genealogist written by Devon Lee.  Devon Lee writes about two main categories: photographing memorabilia and heritage scrapbooking.  The Patient Genealogist has a great series of blog posts about creating digital scrapbook pages.  The blog posts cover everything from where to get digital scrapbooking supplies to types of pages to include in a book.  Devon is generous in sharing some of the scrapbook pages she has created.  It gives you lots of ideas how to craft your own.

I have been playing with the idea of starting to write a book about my family history (like every genealogist).  I like the look of the scrapbook pages and have decided this is the way to go for me.  I can have photos along with text to make a more digestible (aka non-genealogist) book for family to read.  There are many options to create a book this way including using Shutterfly templates.  While I do like the Shutterfly products, I would like a little more creative control by creating my own pages.  The great news is that I can upload my digital scrapbooking pages to Shutterfly for easy printing.

I noticed last year that Devon Lee had written an Kindle eBook called Create A Family History Scrapbook Digitally In 12 Simple Steps.  I recommend this book for anyone thinking of creating a family history book with both pictures and text.  The book covers many topics including how to digitize the items you want to include in your book, different storytelling styles, how to organize your book, and creating digital scrapbooking pages.  While I am excited to learn how to create digital pages in Photoshop, this eBook covers so much more than that.  The eBook really has a wide audience and is priced at only $3.99 at

With inspiration and education I got from Devon Lee’s eBook, I have created my first digital scrapbooking page! Check out this scrapbook page about my great-grandmother, Opal Strickler and don’t forget to stop by The Patient Genealogist.

Opal Strickler page

Mappy Monday – A Genealogy Craft

A while back I was browsing the time sucker called Pinterest.  I noticed a pin for making a map out of cork to mark all the places you have lived/visited.  My genealogy brain immediately took over and gave the map an ancestor twist.  Wouldn’t it be cool to make a pretty map to mark where all of my ancestors have lived?

With the kids in tow, I went on a quick adventure to gather the materials I would need:

  • A cork board (I got mine at target for $10)
  • A map of the United States  (AAA offers free maps for members.)
  • A pencil
  • A Black Sharpie Marker
  • Exacto Knife
  • A piece of sandpaper
  • 1 Sheet of color card stock paper
  • Toothpicks
  • Hot Glue Gun

That afternoon, while my younger daughter was napping, I worked on my new genealogy map.  First, I cut the map of the United States down to the borders.  You don’t have to be precise since it is impossible to cut cork exactly.  I then laid the map onto the cork and traced the outline using a pencil.

Genealogy Map

Then the fun started.  Using the Exacto knife, I cut out the map.  I definitely suggest cutting the cork board out of the frame first.  I also recommend cutting a large chunk of cork off one of the corners to practice how  you will cut the cork board.  The board I purchased turned out to be 1/16 inch of cork glued onto 1/4 inch of pressed/glued cardboard type material.  I was only able to cut from the cork side to avoid tearing the cork off.  Some sections of the map took a lot longer to make sure I did not accidentally cut off important parts of the country such as Florida, Upper Michigan, etc.

Due to the composition of the cork board I purchased, the edges were a little ragged after cutting the map out.  To make my edges look more professional, I took a piece of sandpaper and lightly sanded around the entire map.

Next, I took the paper map I used as my template and placed it back onto the cork map.  I slowly traced each state with the pencil.  This left light indentations on the cork board.  After tracing all 48 contiguous states (luckily I do not have any Alaska/Hawaii ancestors) I removed the paper map.  Using the black Sharpie pen, I then lined each indentation on the cork.  I also outlined the entire border with the Sharpie using a thicker line.

The last step for creating the map was to take a piece of scrap wood we had in our garage and hot gluing it to the back of the map.  I did this so I can hang the map on the wall of my home.

Now that I had my map, I needed to decide what events and people to include.  I eventually decided to begin with birth places of my ancestors.  I created little flags using card stock.  I cut out rectangles and folded them in half to create squares.  I then glued the card stock squares onto tooth picks.  On each flag is written the city and state using a nice black pen.  I again used the paper map template to accurately place the flags onto the map.

Craft Map 3

I shared my Genealogy Map at the June meeting of the Marin County Genealogical Society.  The monthly meeting was in a “walk about” style where we all bring items to share and discuss.  At the meeting I had a conversation about what to include on the flags.  I received a great idea to use other colors of card stock to note marriages and deaths.  Now I just need to figure out how to display cities that had multiple events occur.  Any ideas?

Genealogy map Finished

Motivation Monday – Genealogy Christmas Gift

Do you have any last-minute Christmas gifts to purchase?  If so, consider making an easy genealogy craft that will delight anyone.  I made these family photo coasters for my Grandmother and I know she is going to love them.

The above photos are all related to my Grandmother’s family.  The coasters can be made with any photos.  I am even thinking of making a set for my sister-in-law with photos of her dog. These quick and easy steps will have you creating some for any last-minute gifts you may need.


  • Pack of Travertine tiles from any home improvement store. (I believe I got 9 tiles for $3.49)
  • White tissue paper
  • A square of felt (available at any craft store)
  • Mod Podge (available at any craft store)
  • Acrylic Sealer (also available at any craft store)

The first step is to open your photo in the photo software of your choice.  I then converted each photo to grayscale.  The last step in the photo software is to resize your image to 4″ x 4″ to match the size of the tiles.

Next, I taped a piece of white tissue paper to a piece of regular white paper.  I then printed the image onto the white tissue paper.  Be sure to gently remove the tissue paper from the regular paper so that you do not tear it.  Cut the tissue paper down to the 4″ x 4″ size.

Next, put a layer of Mod Podge onto the tile and carefully place the tissue paper photo on top of it.  Let the Mod Podge dry completely so that the tissue paper does not tear!  Coat each tile with two more layers of Mod Podge being sure to dry completely in between coats.

I then took out my Acrylic Sealer and sprayed each tile with several coats (again drying completely in between layers.)  The sealer helps to prevent the condensation from glasses from ruining the photo beneath.

Lastly, I cut the felt into 4″ x 4″ squares and glued them to the bottom of each tile.

The entire project took one afternoon to complete and I am so happy with the results.  It is such an easy way to share family photos with others.  I am hoping that the coasters create some discussion about our family history.  If anything, it will give me a chance to explain who everyone is and how we are related.