Lisa’s Picks: Your Genealogy Summer

By Lisa Louise Cooke Premium

genealogy summer fun

Historic Hotspot

On a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ellis Island immigration center, historian Barry Moreno guided me through a brick-walled, skylit space that was once an outdoor garden for detainees. Today it houses the Bob Hope Memorial Library (Hope immigrated in 1908), with 390,000 artifacts and more than one million archival records documenting the histories of Liberty and Ellis islands. Learn about the collection at the National Park Service’s website.

genealogy summer fun

Family History in Action

Our ancestors knew how to preserve summer’s bounty of fruits and veggies. My grandmother taught me the art of canning and how to cook up her simple syrup, a hot, sweet liquid that enveloped almost every type of fruit. Just combine sugar and water in a pot (one part sugar to 10 parts water for light syrup; one to one for heavy syrup) and heat until the sugar dissolves.

genealogy summer fun

App Obsession

Obon is Japan’s Festival of Souls, a three-day sum-mer celebration with roots dating back more than 500 years. Locals visit ancestral places, clean graves and on the fi nal evening, guide departed souls to the spirit world with a floating toro nagashi (“lantern cruise”). Now, the Toro Nagashi iPhone app lets you create your own flotilla featuring family photos. Watch your lanterns glide under a bridge, accompanied by soothing water sounds.

Learning Opportunity

I’ll show you how to turn your tablet into a genealogy powerhouse in my Genealogist’s iPad Crash Course video class. You’ll learn the best techniques and apps for taking your tree on re-search trips, recording new finds, repairing old photos, and more. Download it instantly from the Family Tree Shop.

genealogy summer fun

Recent Reads

Soak up the warmth of The Whole Town’s Talking by best-selling author Fannie Flagg (Random House). The tale follows several generations of Swedes in a small Midwestern town, where the “residents” of the cemetery engage in lively commentary about their descendants. This beach blanket read will get you thinking: What might your ancestors be saying about you?

genealogy summer fun


In July, Family Tree Podcast host Lisa Louise Cooke and guests talk about tracing ancestors who were adopted and using DNA in birth family searches. Listen in iTunes or at

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