Ever get that glazed-eye stare when trying to share your genealogy research finds with your family? Here’s what you might be doing wrong and how you can change the eye rolling into excitement by creating a video to share an ancestor’s story.
Mistake #1—Focusing on names and dates
Instead, focus on the drama, conflict or adversity your ancestor faced. Certainly give the context of when they lived, but start with the hook. For example, “Your third great-grandpa was a prisoner-of-war during the American Civil War.” Then show some details and context, like an image of the military record showing him missing-in-action. Follow with an image from the prisoner-of-war camp where he was imprisoned.
See an example of how I used video to tell my great-great grandfather’s civil war story here.
Mistake #2—Telling about HOW you did the research
You don’t have to give a blow-by-blow account of how you searched obituary files and paged through archival records to discover the juicy details. A better approach is show the RESULTS of your research and what it means. You can show a photograph of a fort your ancestor helped build and images of the attack on the fort during the Civil War.
Mistake #3—Assuming you have no images that illustrate an ancestor’s story
You might not have a photograph of an ancestor, but there are resources for images and ways use documents that illustrate events in your ancestor’s life. You may have heirlooms at home you could photograph. There are ways to bring a document alive with some simple screen capture and editing techniques. More and more archives are digitizing photographs and images that could show your ancestor’s world.
Discover ways to peek into your family’s past with the free ebooklet No Pictures? No Problem: 7 Great Sites For Finding Photos From Your Ancestors’ World by clicking here.
You know the feeling of excitement when your research reveals the stories of your ancestors’ lives. Share that excitement using video.
Explore this site for more ideas, examples and resources for engaging your family in their history. You can visit and like our VideoGenealogy Facebook page here to meet other folks making family history videos.
Copyright Margaret Eves
Photo citation: Mueller Bros. Art & Mfg. Co. “In Trouble.” 1903. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. Accessed 6 January 2016.