Your Quick Tips, 08 September

Heirloom Tablecloth
Here is an idea you might want to share with your readers.  A neat keepsake can be made using a plain tablecloth.  At any special holiday (birthday, thanksgiving, Christmas, wedding, etc.) have all the guests trace the outline of their hand and sign their name and date in the “palm” of the hand. This can be done anywhere on the tablecloth.   After the party, embroider over each outline and signature, making them permanent.  The tablecloth may then be laundered and put away for the next occasion.  Each year can be embroidered in a different color, making “who else was there that day” easier to determine.  It’s a permanent record/keepsake. 
Our daughter did this and we now treasure a tablecloth with the signatures and handprints of grandparents who are long departed, as well as the little handprints of the newest generation of the family tree.  We can also trace the handprints from infant to adult with some of the children.  In fact, we are on our SECOND tablecloth.  It’s truly a treasure.
Thank you SO MUCH for your interesting newsletter and the helpful hints. Keep up your good work!
Leora Lee

Diary on the Family Calendar
After my mother passed away, I was going through her belongings and started pitching old bills and such.  I also started throwing away some old calendars she had kept.  For some reason, I looked through one of them and found she had recorded many facts on the calendar such as the acquisition and death of every family pet, the graduation date of grandchildren, the anniversary of family relatives as well as all birthdays in the family.  She even recorded the date the gas man came to read the meter!  I quickly went to the garbage can and retrieved the calendars I had thrown away.  They have been a blessing in finding the birthdays and anniversaries of friends and relatives. So look carefully at those old saved records before you pitch them.  You may find a mini-diary on an old calendar.

Almeda Reams

Reconnecting with Extended Family
I have been working on expanding a family tree that one of my distant cousins originally made.  I have found two ways to find more information on people who should be alive now.

The first way is to use a people finding website like  You can do a general search with just the last name or the first and last name of the person on your tree.  If you don’t know where they live now, then use the state where you think they grew up in or just use United States. I found it to be very helpful to fill in blanks some of my cousins. 

The other way is to use a social network website like Facebook.  In the age of computers, this is a very good way to find cousins and other distant relatives other than first cousins and aunts and uncles. I have been using Facebook for the past few weeks and have found more of my third and fourth cousins whom I have never met, but whose names are on my tree.  All I did was do a search on the name I had on my tree, send him/her a note stating how I believe we are related and if we are, could we be “friends” so I can then get more information.  So far, I have sent notes to twenty-five possible relatives and have heard back and received information from seven of them.

Sharon F. Yampell

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6 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips, 08 September

  1. When I was pregnant with my two children, as a matter of habit I wrote down a lot of info on my calendar. Weight gain, any complications (good for reminding them what they put your body through:)and due dates and then actual day of birth. Then the recording of their weight, doctors appts. and immunizations etc.

    When I was cleaning up a lot of ‘stuff’ I came across those two calendars and decided to give them to my two kids as a record of their first year. They both enjoy having them and have looked at them… marveling on all the things that having a baby can produce, appointment and record wise. I’d encourage anyone here who is trying to scale down and might have things like this to give them to your children while you are still alive and kicking.

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  3. I read this article with interest. Over 20 years ago, I was assigned as the pastor of a rural United Methodist Church. About the second year there, I was given a hand-quilted quilt the ladies had spent hours making as a Christmas gift for me. It is a patchwork quilt, which was set together with white cloth squares in diamond shapes. On each white diamond is an embroidered outline of each parishoner’s right hand with fingers spread apart and beneath the hand is that person’s name in their own handwriting and it is also embroidered. In the center of quilt is a white square with the outline of the church, along with the trees and flowers next to the church, except the outlines in this square are embroidered with black sewing thread. Beneath the church outline is the name of the church and on a corner of the backside of the quilt and made in outline stitch is the name of the church again and the date the quilt was made. I really love that quilt and it is lovingly displayed on the bed in my spare bedroom. This quilt is a cherished memory of the congregation of that church and I shall always treasure it as such.

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  5. I completely agree, is a great resource for finding lost family members or friends. This people finder service helped me get in touch with some old high school buddies of mine who I haven’t talk to in decades! I was able to get their phone numbers and a couple of possible addresses. To make it even better, it’s cheap too! It only cost me $3.

    I never thought about using it to expand my family tree though, but great idea Sharon! Thanks for the tips!

  6. I am so impressed with all of the wonderful ideas above…I have always wrote down important events and activities the kids were in and what time to be someplace. Over the years I have also kept all of my calendars, now I now why!!!
    I can put them all to use with my family history!!!

    Thank you so much for such wonderful ideas…

    Yvonne Dougherty

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