Happy New Year everyone!

My Christmas Break is almost over and I decided to take some time to work on a project I’ve always thought would be fun.  Being a teacher, I’m always on the lookout for fun ideas to use with my students.  A web site I came across awhile back is called Big Huge Labs and they have free tools to make lots of fun things with photos you upload including calendars, photo cubes, magazine covers, etc. Today, I thought I’d play with the Trading Card option.  Being an algebra teacher, I’m not sure if I’ll ever come up with a good use for trading cards in class, but I’m really interested in the potential for Genealogy Trading Cards!

Here are the cards I created for my grandparents.

Imagine my surprise to see that when download,  this “trading card” is 7″ x10″! When I tried to scale the size down in Paint, it became very pixelated.  So I opened the file in Photoshop and changed the dimensions and also changed the dpi to 300 instead of 72.  That made quite a difference!

So I’m thinking of the possibilities and I’m picturing a set of cards, similar to these.  The background color could be different for each of my 4 grandparents’ lines.  Since I rarely research my Dad’s side of the family (my grandmother was the one who got me started in genealogy and has done a thorough job) I could decide to make my colors different for each of my maternal great-grandparents’ lines.

Would it be helpful to have a set of cards like this when I’m researching?  I like the idea of knowing at a glance which line an ancestor belongs to.  And I love the idea of laying the cards out in a tree patterns to help keep me on track.  But is it worth the time?

The cards would be a quick look at names and relationships, but not many details – unless I could add information on the back.  Would these be easier to carry than group sheets?  I guess that depends on where I am.  To have in my purse to pull out on a whim – yes.  But to have when I’m doing research – I’d probably prefer my group sheets.

I love the idea of pulling out the cards when I’m at a family gathering.  I think that could generate some interest in helping with my research among my family members. They could be great conversation starters to get the stories flowing. But would they be as effective if I didn’t have a picture for an individual?  I could have pictures of tombstones, or icons to show occupations if I didn’t have a picture.  Or a map of the location they are from.

Which made me think that I could have cards for different locations where the photo is a map and the information is all about that county or town. These cards could be helpful in spotting incorrect information.  For example, I often see group sheets which have a location for birth in a year before that county was formed.  Or if I see a town listed in a pension file, I can tell if it was in a certain county. Here’s an example I made for Russell County.

How about cemetery cards?  The card could remind me how to get to the cemetery or could have a list of ancestors buried in that cemetery.

Military Cards?  I have trouble remembering which military unit different ancestors were with during the Civil War.  Perhaps a card for each unit listing which ancestor served and what battles the unit participated in?

Well, now I’m really excited to imagine this pack of genealogy cards.  Would it be worth the time?  Time that could be spent actually researching? It could be a nice little ongoing project for when I just have a little bit of time.  One drawback to the web site is that you cannot save the cards – although it does save the photos that you upload, as long as you become a member (which is free). I also wish that I could change the font or make some parts bold or center all of the text.

So maybe I’ll start working on a Word template that could do the same thing. I can picture in my mind how it could work, and if I actually get it done, you can bet that I’ll post it here!

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