Roots To Trees Classes- Family History Basics For Children

Gardening, Family, and Family History

This weekend was a long one for me. I had a three day which I wish I had more of. I accomplished so much!

The most exciting for me was that I was able to get in my yard and tend to my plants and flowers. Just deadheading, trimming, and planting bulbs made me feel so serene. It makes all the thoughts whirring in my head become silent. The bees were buzzing and there are so many different butterflies, it makes me feel good that I am helping nature.

Being in the garden is so beneficial for mental health, whether you have the most common of the 200 forms of classified mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression or you have a serious case such as bi-polar or even dementia. Gardening is such a great therapeutic intervention, an issue of hope. It is good for cognitive, social, and even physical aspects of life. For enduring. There is always hope.

So, cutting down the Mexican Marigolds and basil and deadheading the marigolds, roses, and cana lillies brings hope that new growth will occur and the planting of the bulbs brings the hope that new flowers will emerge in the spring. Hope springs eternal. 🙂

I then worked on my lesson plans for Tuesday’s “Family History Detectives Club” at my school. I have so enjoyed hearing from the student’s parents telling me that their children are calling their grandparents and “interviewing” them. It makes my heart sing and I can only imagine how those same grandparents feel about receiving these calls.

Some parents even sent me pictures of their children interviewing the grandparents, one was Facetiming a grandparent, one had their pencil and notebook in hand, asking questions. These events are so very special to all parties involved. Others were interviewing their parents. A parent even told me that they are all now involved in learning their family history.

After working on the lesson plans, I helped my son with some personal business needing to be done; insurance, job, etc. It is great spending time with him. When he’s not working, he’s out with friends so these moments are few, but cherished. Mom actually was able to take the car and get out to an appointment and shopping. It made her feel so good!

I then worked on making videos to promote my online classes. “Roots to Trees” is the name of the program, but “Bare Roots” is the name of the first class; basic genealogy for children and anyone needing the basics. The next class will be “Emerging Leaves” and is currently being worked on. The “Bare Roots” class is $9.99 for 5 sections and can be worked on at your own pace in the comfort of your own home or wherever you choose to learn.

So, it was a jam-packed, fun-filled, productive weekend. I hope yours was too!


Expanding To The Library Family History For Children

My Roots to Trees- Family History Detective courses will be expanding. I had an appointment with our local librarian to speak to her about offering these classes for children. The discussion took a different turn than I was expecting, but not necessarily a negative one.  

I prayed before I went in asking God to help me have an open mind and lead me to where He wanted me to go. And, low and behold the discussion took a different turn than where I had thought it would go. I went in thinking I would offer paid classes and rent a room at the library.

The director asked me to join the library program! They offer genealogy classes to adults, but do not have classes for children and asked if I would be interested in joining the program and expanding it to tweens as well. I believe this will help me get my feet wet and learn what works and what does not work in teaching family history to this age group.  

With the wonderful support group I have at school and online, I feel it will be a great success. It will also help me in my lesson plans for my online course at the Genealogy Classes page, On Sale now for $9.99 for 5 lessons with more being added. Discover who you are and your family history.  

Family History Detectives

Yesterday was my first class of the Family History Detectives Club. I don’t know who had more fun, the kids or me! It was fantastic. The student’s excitement was very refreshing. What I hadn’t anticipated was all the questions being thrown at me. What if… What if… What if…

I told them we had to get the boring stuff out of the way first…. vocabulary words. However, I was surprised at how many they already knew and was pleased they were learning these in Social Studies and Spelling.  

The best part was their Mom and Dad worksheets. They had to enter their parent’s full names, siblings, their parents, etc. “Wait, I have to enter their middle names too?” “What do you mean that’s not their middle name?” “Oh, that’s their maiden name?” “I’m confused. ” And, so it went.  

Then they had to enter their parent’s sibling’s names and their spouses. “What if my uncle isn’t married?” “What if they are divorced?” “What if he is not married yet?” And, so they kept firing. Needless to say, they had a lot of blank spaces in their papers. I kept telling them they had a lot of investigating to do.  

The next subject was about traits and where they got them from. One girl said, “Well, how am I know to know which parent, they both have brown eyes?” “One said, no one in my family has red hair except me and my sister.” Investigate.  

They each received their own Sherlock Holmes hats, detective badges with lanyards, and a detective kit to keep their goodies in. I just purchased some clear colored plastic snap folders and printed pages with Top Secret that they slid in. They were very excited. Next week they will receive their classified pencils and notepads.  

I received great feedback from the children and their parents and was very pleased with their reactions. I am already looking forward to next Tuesday! The teachers at my school were so very supportive and I am blessed to know them.

 I followed the same pattern that is in my online class for children (Genealogy Classes). Of course, I understand it is not the same as a face to face club, but if children want to learn at their own pace, the online class is available in a step-by-step guide with printables and instructions. I am available online through the class for instruction as well.  

This weekend is my appointment with the local library to discuss giving this same class, and possibly more, through them.  

In the meantime, I am still working with a client and her family history and am enjoying the hunt. I have also written a certain article for a certain magazine that I am very excited about. It will be published soon and I will certainly share it with you all.  

I do appreciate all the support and all you who have found my blog and are being able to fill in your family trees because of it. I have enjoyed meeting cousins from all over the country and it warms my heart when someone breaks a brick wall because of my blog.

Keep searching, keep digging, and keep climbing that tree! The rewards are unexplainable.

As always, email me with any questions or suggestions at

Family History For Children

As I mentioned in my last blog, I believe that there is a need to teach children step-by-step on how to trace their family history, their genealogy. After doing some research for my upcoming “Family History Detectives Club” and after seeing the excitement in the children’s eyes about the club and not finding much help on the internet, I knew there was a need.

So, I created an online Google Classroom course and am checking into giving courses at my local library. They had genealogy courses on their calendar, but for teens and seniors. Nothing for children.

I am mirroring the lessons for the club with my Google classroom. Face to face and virtual are always a little different, but I have found that kids have so many activities after school and on the weekends; some which have limited them from joining my club. The virtual class will still give them access to me, but let them participate and learn in their own time.

If you search for genealogy or family history for kids, you will find a lot of activities and worksheets and even videos. But, none of these teach the tools your children need to start tracing their ancestry. I will be accessible to help them along the way and answer any questions they may have.

If you are reading this before the end of September, you will get the early bird registration of 50% off the cost of 5 sessions.

If you have any questions or suggestions for classes, please email me at

Sign up now at Genealogy Classes. Classes begin November 1. Classes opened early and more are being added.

It’s a Small Tree Afterall

It will be two years ago Monday that I started my Family History Blog. It is amazing how far I have come and what I have accomplished. I started only as an outlet to share my ancestor findings with my family. It has grown to be so much more.  

It not only has helped me be a better researcher and storyteller, but it has also given me so much more insight into my ancestors and who they were and who I am.  

In October, I start a Family History Detectives Club at my school for 4th graders. I am very excited. I bought these little detective hats, magnifying classes, and detective badges. After we do the boring stuff of going over #Genealogy vocabulary words and learning what a pedigree chart is, I will have them pick an ancestor to investigate.  

When I was doing research into genealogy or family history for children, there wasn’t much there as far as actually teaching them. There were many activities and fun worksheets, but nothing teaching them on how to start researching, how to start investigating their family history. Nothing about sources or how to read them. 

That gave me an idea. After seeing the excitement in the children’s eyes about the club and not finding much help on the internet, I knew there was a need. So, I created an online Google Classroom course and am checking into giving courses at my local library. They had genealogy courses on their calendar, but for teens and seniors. Nothing for children. 

You may not think children are interested, but I promise you they are. Just today I had an 8th grader bring me his surname family history book. This thing was huge. His ancestors had published his family tree and had it bound into this beautiful book. He heard I was doing the club and wanted to share with me that he had an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.  

As I was perusing the book, I looked up this ancestor in the index of names. Just for kicks, I looked up Logan. Sure enough, there were several. Then one familiar Logan popped out at me. He was MY 1st cousin, 6x removed! This student and I are related. His mom happened to be in the office when I found the discovery and he came in not long after. He was blown away, as were all of us.  

It just goes to show, we are all related. The tree is a small world after all.

If you are interested in having your child join my virtual Google classroom event, Roots to Trees, go to my Genealogy Classes and register.

Thanks for reading!

Clay County, Florida History

Tracing our family trees can give us a glimpse or more into our heritage and a better understanding of our family history. The Clay County Archives in Florida wants to provide the best research for that genealogy.

Clay County has a database called The Goldmine of Names specific to Clay County and it’s history. They also have an African-American Genealogy section. Volunteers have been collecting and indexing black history sources.

There are also a couple of books you may be interested in. Jane Lander’s “Black Society in Spanish Florida”, available at the Archives and “The Forresters” by Vishi Garig (my personal friend!). According to the archives website, The Forrester family was the only free African-American family in Clay County in 1860. Many Clay residents are their descendants including, the Lycurgus, Redmond, Lewis, Miller, Lemon and Stewart families.

The archives can help you find the original source material. Much of it comes from bound records, court cases, or vertical files which have at the Archives.

The Archives maintains subject files for more than 400 individuals and families. The files contain clippings, photos, family histories, oral interviews and other items. | Catalog of the Subject Files – Genealogy |The catalog is constantly updated so if you do not see a name you are interested in, email them and they can check their files for you.

There are even some wonderful oral histories of these first Clay County residents:

Burroughs Jackson, Maude
Chalker, Martha A.
Coker, Neil
Cross, Martin
Hall, Margaret
Jennings, S. Bryan
Lycurgus, Edward – WPA Oral Interview, Fleming slave family
Oliver, Mami
Permenter, Eugene
Philips, Elizabeth
Smith, Sara Lynn Boe
Williamson, Ann

If you cannot make it to Clay County, let me help. I will be happy to help you with your family research.


We started hearing about Hurricane Dorian on Wednesday. It is now Monday and she is just now over the Bahamas with devasting effects. With what forecasters thought would come up the spine of Florida now looks like it will skirt and churn up the coast. I am in Clay County and they say we will see her fury tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. That will be a week of anxiety and stress. Emotions up and down, will the storm go East or West? Will it hit land or not? How long will we be without electricity… and air conditioning?!

However, I thank God that we have had the time to prepare and plan. That our city and state have had to the time to direct us and protect us. I think about my ancestors, many of whom grew up on the coast just as I have, even closer. They did not have the warnings that we have today.  

Florida Hurricanes have been recorded back to 1851, they called it Great Middle Florida.  There were eleven more after that, unnamed. Then in 1926, Great Miami hit. Two years later, Okeechobee. There were five more storms, all unnamed, until Easy hit in 1950. They started naming them after that.  

My ancestors were LifeSavers up and down the Carolina coasts. I think about them and how they had to deal with these storms, mostly without warning. They were the guys in the trenches, in the seas, protecting their families and their neighbors. And, they were in boats like the one pictured below.

Courtesy of the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association

 Can you imagine a hurricane hitting with no warning? Well, that is what it was like before the 1870s. In the late 1870’s they would warn with the signal flags, but what if you didn’t see it? The invention of the electric telegraph in the 1840s made forecasting possible, but it wasn’t without its faults.   

People complain about our modern-day meteorologists and forecasters. But, I for one am glad we have some warning. As crazy as the waiting makes us, at least we have some time to protect our families, just like my ancestor U. S. Life-Savers, Wescott, Midgett, Daniels, Etheridge, and Tilletts. And, they did it without the warnings we have today.

I pray for everyone’s safety through Dorian’s wrath. And, I pray that you will heed the warnings you receive with gratitude and thanksgiving for all the storms in your life.