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Family History Expos, Inc. Newsletter December 2010

Greetings from Family History Expos!

As the end of the year comes into view we have so much to be grateful for. Number one being you our loyal friends and customers. I know I speak for the whole Family History Expos team when I say thank you and may God bless you and yours as we approach the New Year.

We have experienced some amazing challenges this year, one being the total loss of our website in February, we quickly setup a temporary site and began to rebuild from the ground up.  We are pleased with the resiliency and ability we have had to cope with the day to day details as our new site took much longer than initially anticipated. The good news is we are nearing completion and will be launching as soon as the beta testing phase is complete. If you would be interested in joining our beta test email us at We will be adding a few additional testers and will welcome your input.

Our staffing has changed as Janene Morgan left to serve a LDS Mission in the Manila, Philippines, Donna Brown moved into a new carrier path, Janie Anderson left to serve as the Relief Society President in her LDS Ward, and Christine Sharbrough left to pursue other professional interests. We miss them and wish them well in their activities and look forward to our continued friendships.

Joining our staff this year is Chris Hansen, Vice President, Amy Coffin, Social Media Coordinator, Susan Duncan, Exhibits Coordinator, ShyAnna Hansen, Executive Assistant, and Gena Philibert Ortega, Newsletter & Weekly Tips Editor. Long time staff members include Kimberly Savage, Tanya Hansen, Keven Clemens, Jennifer Johnson, and Billy Edgington.

We look forward to seeing you at an Expo this coming year!


Holly & Chris Hansen and the whole FHExpos Team



Handling and Healing the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet:The Friday Night Event Featuring M. Bridget Cook

Friday night with Family History Expos and M. Bridget Cook will include a dinner and personally signed copy of her bestselling book, Shattered Silence, the Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter.

Everybody’s got them—although not everyone wants to claim them … The Unspeakables. Like the descendants of Jesse James generations after the fact, it can almost seem illustrious, if not humorous, to have a few dishonorable members ‘hanging’ closeted in the branches of our family tree. However, it can be very sensitive if those skeletons have a little more flesh on them – great grandparents, grandparents, or even more recent ancestors and extended family members. So, what do you do with them? Do you tell the truth? Do you ignore the details and the hushed family whispers and hope they will go away? Do you SLAM the closet door shut, never to open until you’re long gone and someone else down the line is conducting research?

M. Bridget Cook, transformational speaker and national best-selling author, will share with us hair-raising, yet healing stories from her works that have been featured on Oprah, and other major media, and have gained incredible international exposure in the last 12 months. She will also provide valuable tips and insightful techniques for handling, and truly even healing, the skeletons in your family history.

Register now for this unusual and insightful evening! Tickets are only $33.00 and include a delicious dinner, keynote presentation, and your free, signed copy of Shattered Silence, the Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter. Keep in mind, tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance to insure your dinner and your keepsake book. Register online today or call 801-829-3295!


Feature Article

How Did Your Ancestor Celebrate Christmas?

By Gena Philibert Ortega

Do you ever wonder about how your ancestors celebrated Christmas? Here are some ideas for learning more about what they may have done.


What did your ancestor eat during the holidays? It may not be too surprising that they ate some of the same foods that we would consider holiday fare. Turkey and pies were common foods. One way to know more about what your ancestors ate is to look at cookbooks from the time period. One website that has digitized cookbooks is Feeding America. The Historic American Cookbook Project.You can also look at menus from hotels and restaurants for an idea of what a night out during the holidays would mean. The Los Angeles Public Library is one of many repositories with digitized menus. Consider this menu from 1884s Union House, Falls, Nebraska. The menu includes Mock English Turtle Soup and Fresh Oyster to begin the meal and then goes on to a variety of meats, both roasted and boiled, as well as salads, vegetables and relishes. Then the meal is topped off with pastries and desserts.


Christmas cards are not an invention of Hallmark; they have existed for about 150 years according to the website, Postcard and Greeting Card Museum. Libraries and archives may have special or manuscript collections that include vintage greeting cards. In some cases the cards might be part of an overall card collection like the one at The Newark Public Library (New Jersey). In other cases the cards might be part of an individual’s manuscript collection, like the one for Thurmond Chatham from North Carolina whose manuscript collection includes Christmas cards and a Christmas list.

Santa Claus

While the person that Santa Claus is based on, St. Nicholas, originated around 280 A.D., Santa Claus was first mentioned in America in the late 1700s according to the website The History channel website goes on to add that the familiar Christmas tale, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, was penned by Episcopalian minister Clement Clarke Moore in 1822, so it is most likely that several generations of your family heard this poem on Christmas Eve and may have recited it to their children.

Writing about your ancestor’s Christmas may be a great way to add social history to your family history narrative. But don’t stop there. Write down your childhood memories of Christmas. Start sharing that more recent family history with your family now.


GenTeacher for Kids

Turn your Christmas Cards into Dinner Conversations about Family History

By Gena Philibert Ortega

I came across a great idea for those Christmas cards that you may be thinking of throwing away. This is a great way to preserve the greetings, writing and signatures of family members and enjoy them year after year. Remember though—after reading this idea—if you want to save your old Christmas cards for posterity, they should be placed in some sort of archival safe medium—like a scrapbook, page protector or acid free box.

This idea comes from my friend Bonnie. She recycled Christmas cards into place mats for her dinner table. She took her old Christmas cards and cut them into 3 inch circles. She used a can lid to measure and cut the lids, but you could also use a die cut machine, available at your local scrapbook stores, or you could choose a different shape like a square.

She then arranged them into a place mat size design so that the picture side of the Christmas cards were on one side and the writing on the other. She used laminate to hold it all together and allow it to last year after year. The laminate allows her to wipe the place mat down with a damp towel after each use. She used the clear, adhesive shelf paper liner that you can purchase at the grocery store, hardware store or some place like Target or WalMart. You could probably use any kind of laminate you may have handy or go to an office or school supply store that has a large laminator and charges a small amount, often by the foot, to laminate items.

Of course, this is not an archival method for saving your family history. It is simply a fun way to reuse the cards that you were going to throw away anyway. Bonnie did it because she liked the fact that she could look at the handwriting of her family members year after year.

I found a website that has a similar idea that may be of help in creating your placemats.

I plan on doing this project with my kids. This might be a great way to introduce your grandkids to their family and to family history.

**This originally appeared on my blog, Gena’s Genealogy, in December 2007. I later posted about additional uses for Christmas cards. You can read those postings here.


Expo Highlights


Memories and stories bind families together. How will you preserve and share yours? With the FlipPal™ mobile scanner, no longer will your precious photos, documents and other memories be scattered, lost or hidden. Have fun and enhance your creativity, then share your memories with family and friends—and save time in the process. Take advantage of the patented flip-and-scan technology to scan photos safely while still in the album or frame.

  • Mobile – San Images Anytime, Anywhere
  • Accurate – High Quality Digital Images
  • Versatile – Scan Small to Large Originals
  • Keep your Memories Safe – Scan Photos in Place
  • Easy and Quick

To learn more about Flip-Pal see their website.


Tech Tip


In the quest to find, preserve, and share those great family photos, the Flip-Pal ™ mobile scanner has been an incredible tool! If you’ve read the Flip-Pal  blog you will know, I have traveled a LOT of miles to capture and preserve my ancestor’s photos. Now, this handy tool makes that easy!

The Flip-Palâ„¢ mobile scanner is great for genealogists who want to conveniently and reliably scan photos, images in books, family documents and magazines, and works of art so that they can be stored digitally, then shared with family and friends for under $150. The patented flip-and-scan technology allows you to scan photos safely while still in the album or frame. Unlike alternative solutions that don’t have the combination of mobility, accuracy, versatility, and keeping the original safe, this mobile scanner is compact, simple to operate, has high resolution, quick scan time, battery power, cordless – no computer required, and onboard memory.

When you go to the work of locating photos and documents, preserve them with the best possible scan! Here are a couple of tips:

-          The Flip-Pal™ mobile scanner reproduces photos and documents accurately at the default one star (300 dpi). Set the scanner to its highest resolution, two stars (600 dpi), if you intend to make enlargements greater than 11”x14”.

-          Clean the glass on the top side of the scanner (same side as the small display screen.) Use a nonabrasive cloth and regular glass cleaner to remove dust and finger prints.

-          If you are scanning a photo that is framed behind glass, clean the glass in the frame too.

-          Don’t jiggle the scanner or document until the scan bar has reached the far side of the scanner.

-          When scanning a large original, it is best to scan using a regular pattern with overlapping scans as shown in this tutorial video.

Check out our Holiday Giveaway for a chance to win at . And for more tips and information see our website.

Google eBooks

Google Books , a free site with digitized books is a must for any genealogists. Now Google has introduced a new product, Google eBooks. Google eBooks allows you to purchase digitized books to read on your computer, iPod/iPad, Android phone, Nook or Sony Reader. Over 3 million books are available. While there are books that are for sale, there are also books available for free download. I highly recommend searching for family history books as well as genealogical how to’s. For more information about Google eBooks and how you can take your reading to the “cloud” see


Upcoming Events

For more information, please see the Expos tab on our website.

January 21-22, 2011. Arizona Family History Expo

February 25-26, 2011. St. George Family History Expo

April 9, 2011. Migration Family History Expo

April 10-15, 2011. Family History Library Research Retreat

June 24-25, 2011. Colorado Family History Expo

October 29, 2011. Military Family History Expo

October 30 – November 4, 2011. Family History Library Research Retreat

More details on our events will be available soon!


Family History Expos, Inc.

PO Box 187

Morgan, UT 84050

Main Office: 801-829-3295

© Family History Expos, Inc. 2010. All rights reserved.

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