The Best Family History TED Talks & Videos

Time Out & Family History Research All In One

Family History Research Made Easy

I was warned by experienced family researchers that once I started my family tree I would become addicted! They were right. Writing family history stories, finding connections and stalking my family members (both near and far) for snippets of information has become all consuming. So much so that I have had to devise a way to chill out. Sitting back with my feet up, a cup of coffee close by and a video was my solution. The topic? What else, Family History!

The Best Coffee Cup Family History Research Videos

  1. Novelize Your Family History Stories: Alison Taylor
  2. Family Reunion: A. Jacobs
  3. The Family Tree: Inara George
  4. The Order Of Bloodlines: Taryn Simon
  5. Recording Our Stories: Dave Isay
  6. A Universal Family Tree: Spencer Wells
  7. Worlds Largest Family Tree: Yaniv Erlic

1. Novelize Your Family History

A heads up that this video was part of the Roots Tech Conference (Audio recording with slides, from RootsTech 2020 conference, Salt Lake City, UT) Because of the commercial angle I would not normally include this video but if I tell you my coffee was cold when I reached for it you will realize how much it impressed me. Admittedly, my current focus in writing my family history stories has been how to add life to the mountain of family history research I have gathered about the life of my Great Grand Uncle. He is buried in a nearby state and, considering their is a century separating our emigration journey’s his discovery stopped me in my tracks. Alison Taylor shares how she took simple family history facts and turned them into pages of conjecture, introspection and empathy. The closest I have come to achieving this was “Filling In The Gaps” which is more fiction than fact………I can do better!

Moving Your Family History Research From Facts To Fiction

2. Family Reunion

OK, I accept that this is not a “Talk” and the connection with genealogy is a little tenuous! However, I know some of you were around in the seventies and this little musical interlude may send you tripping back (no pun intended!) to a time when songs had thought provoking lyrics supported by some dexterous guitar playing. Enjoy!

A Musical Approach To The Family Tree

3. The Family Tree

For Arnold Jacobs it all began when he received an email message from Israel. It was his 12th cousin who had placed Jacobs on a family tree containing 80 thousand members! You can guess what came next……he was hooked. Leaving aside the name dropping and numbers Jacobs shares his views on why genealogy is growing in popularity. Oh, by the way the party we’re all invited to happened June 6th 2018!

Open Invitation To A Family Reunion

4. The Order Of Bloodlines

Taryn Simon presents a discussion on what she sees as the clash between the order of bloodlines and the disordered lives of the people. If this talk is anything to go by her personality is very comfortable with the linear evidence of blood lines. however, she can not being deny the evidence that geography, culture, power and governance all effect the orderliness of these bloodlines. Whether they survive, prosper or disappear Fate plays a hand. Her examples are eclectic to the extreme. From Palestine to Brazil, dictator ships to family feuds she adds the stories to her ordered records. Her final question is both simple and direct. The answer much less so!

Family History Stories Add Life To Bloodlines

5. Recording Our Stories

Without doubt this is my favorite TED Talk. I connected immediately when Dave Isey began talking about a recording he made of his father. I have 6 similar recordings that I made with my mother. She died in 1988 and I have never listened to them. Warts and All started because of those tapes and they will see the light of day very soon. Thankfully Dave was a lot more proactive than I am and his recording led to the setting up of Story Corps. It is now a world wide movement to record what he refers to as “the collective wisdom of humanity” Story Corps has moved on from the small booth he set up in Central Station, New York. Now it is a downloadable app that we can all take part in. The stories he has chosen to highlight in his TED Talk are funny, humorous and loving. A bit like life really! His final words may hit home with some of you when he truly realized the importance of his own recordings after his father died suddenly. Don’t wait too long was his advice. Let those you love know that their story matters.

Record Your Family History Stories NOW!

6. A Universal Family Tree

If you have a grasp of DNA you won’t need to skip over the bit about sub-sections as I did. The conclusion that the whole world population can be mapped by the descent of markers through time is a scientific way of explaining that we are all connected to our ancestors in Africa. Spencer Wells has been given the opportunity to expand his work on DNA sampling to focus on indigenous communities who have had long periods of continuous habitation in one location. The Legacy Project is open to all who want to take part in sharing their DNA. A by product of this project is that indigenous communities benefit with receiving grants for their own local projects.

A Universal Family Tree

7. The Worlds Largest Family Tree

A hobby that is “centered around around recording the reproductive activities of other people! “ is a statement designed to get your attention. The hobby is, of course, genealogy. As a 10 minute talk it is cleverly put together to take large concepts that are linked, very quickly, to an individual. You! It is a perfect example of how complicated research is disseminated via personalised stories. This is something I have had experienced first hand when I began writing about my Great-Uncle Arthur through 54 pages of military war records. Warning! There are issues raised in this talk that could fall under the “banner” of controversial…..but I leave that decision to you!

The Past Holds The Key To The Future

I hope you enjoyed your coffee break! Please let me know which one, if any, you found the most interesting in the comments below.

Just Vicki

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