Cooking Your Family History


Who would think of a cookbook app as a place to share your family history? Our family loves to eat and we have a number of great cooks. Most of us are using the Paprika cookbook app for a number of reasons:

  • It has a built-in web browser so you can wander through a long list of recipe sites until you find the recipe you want. Then with one tap, Paprika will slurp the recipe into your app – with a photo of the dish if one is shown on the website.
  • You can select the recipes you want to serve for a special meal and Paprika will build a shopping list for the things you’ll need to create this meal.
  • Sharing recipes with family and friends who also own a copy of Paprika is easy. Just email the recipe to them and, with a few clicks on their end, your recipes are added to their app.
  • Each recipe has a spot for a photo. When you “slurp” a recipe from a website, Paprika will automatically include a photo of the dish if it is included on the website. You can add your own photo if you wish.
  • There’s a Notes section for each recipe. This is a good place to tell the story of this dish. Is is a heirloom recipe? Has it been handed down for generations? What special occasions is it served. You can also include photos in the Notes section. Nothing says those photos can only be pictures of the dish. It could be a photo of the cook or the event where it is served.
  • Is there a new bride in the family? The Paprika app would make a great gift for her – especially if it includes the collection of family heirloom recipes along with their stories.

The recipe at the top of this post is my grandmother’s Savannah Red Rice. The photo included above was of her and me at Fort Matanzas. The Notes section includes some of the other treats we enjoyed when we spent the night at her house. Is this family history? Absolutely!

The Paprika app is available for Windows and Mac desktops along with iOS and Android mobile devices.

FamilySearch Research Wiki

Online Genealogy Records by Location

The Research Wiki at FamilySearch is an amazing resource to help your research efforts. This post spotlights the section containing links to online records for states, provinces and countries.

United States Records
This guide includes birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history and military records. Also included are articles to help you develop research strategies, find various record types and other articles and websites that can help your research effort.

State Genealogy Records
Also included in the U.S. section are articles on record types, historical background and ethnicity.

Are You A Collaborator?

Are you taking advantage of the collaboration features offered by a growing number of online archives? Connecting with research cousins is a great way to share the “personal” resources that are seldom available from a genealogy archive. Instead of moaning when Ancestry’s shaky leaf leads you to another user’s family tree, take a look at that tree to see if that user is researching the same family you are and then check to see if that tree’s owner is a serious researcher or just someone collecting names. If a serious researcher, tap/click the person’s username and Ancestry will take you to a screen giving you basic information about that person. You’ll also see a Send Message icon that opens an in-house message panel so you can contact that user.

It’s surprising how much help a research cousin can be. Some time back, a shaky leaf led me to a portrait of my third great grandmother, Frances. I followed that source to the researcher to ask if I could save a copy of the portrait. We chatted for a while to determine how we were related. I descend from Frances’ youngest child, William, while she descends from Frances’ only daughter, Georgiana. Then the bomb dropped. Georgiana kept a diary most of her adult life. My newly-found cousin not only had the diary, but she had transcribed it and published it as a Kindle book on Amazon. Within minutes I had purchased a copy of the transcribed dirary. It was a goldmine of information about our shared family and explained several things that would never be found in an archive.

Discussion screen at FamilySearch

Ancestry isn’t the only service offering collaboration features. FamilySearch is collaborative by design. Your tree is not your own and you will quickly find other researchers posting information on your ancestors. There is an internal messaging system to connect and collaborate with them.

Sample match in MyHeritage

When reviewing matches in MyHeritage, you will find other users sharing your ancestors. As you see in the image above, there is a contact button with each confirmed match allowing you to connect with that user. MyHeritage has also just announced a new Inbox feature on their mobile apps which works like an in-house email service making it even easier to communicate with other members.

Connecting with research cousins doesn’t just help your research effort. It gives you access to others who are just as passionate about their family research as you are. Yes, there will be sloppy researchers hoping you will do the work for them, but there are also researchers who will be delighted to find research cousins who want to learn more about their ancestors and share what they know.

You will soon find that collaboration can be a wonderful thing.