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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Having Fun with Family History

Life is full of surprises. One sunny day you're enjoying the golden daffodils and the brilliant display of colorful tulips while listening to the breeze ruffle the leaves of swaying trees. As chirping birds dash and swoop from limb to limb suddenly the clouds roll in and rain begins to fall. 

First a sprinkle and a shower,  then it pours.  A nice surprise for the trees and grass but the rest of us gather our things together and head for shelter. Why do we run from the very thing necessary to keep us alive? 

Whenever there is a severe drought nobody runs from the rain. On the contrary, they call everyone they know, they stand looking up at the sky as the rain falls on their relieved and happy faces. they soak it all up, wading in it, walking in it and laughing in it. Today? Today we run from it!

While watching it rain from the inside looking out I often think of how lush and brilliant the foliage will grow thanks to this good watering and then I think about the personal growth I strive for, a goal that has shaped my families life for three generations now. 

Personal and Family Growth

When I think of the growth made it can only be defined by the results. I'm proud of my hard working wife Brenda who woke up today singing  a song as she scurried out the door on her way to serve a community of college bound youth. I'm proud of my mother and father who also have devoted themselves to providing wisdom, hope and practical assistance to the residents of our city. 

I am equally proud of my son Jonathan and his wife who both do volunteer work at a local congregation helping the younger generation manage a life of turbulence. These are some of the notable things I put down in our family history logs preserved for the next generation to come. But that's not all that made the history books. There were sunny days and cloudy days, droughts and surprise showers, stooping lower to dig deeper and reach higher with many lessons learned along the way. Best of all a lot of laughter and spontaneous fun. These times deserve to be recorded as well.

Having Fun With Family History

And speaking of family history logs It's always best to keep a log, journal or blog of your family life including genealogy, community contributions, life growing up. But family history does not always have to be cut-and-dry. 

Add some life to it by including some funny photos of baby in a bath full of soap suds or the toddler frantically chasing bubbles in the park. Include silly pranks like dumping water on dads head while sleeping on the porch or baby's first attempt to feed himself while making a complete mess of what was a perfectly prepared spaghetti dinner. 

Add some light anecdotal stories from family interviews and include some excerpts from humorous text messages to and from family members. Step back in time to yesteryear and take a stroll on the funny side of life. Collect bridesmaids dresses and tux worn over the years. Remember the dances or the days the kids decided to take over the kitchen and make dinner? Record the secret shower serenades. There's nothing like viewing photo stories and video of failed attempts at inventions, recipes and art compared to the look of glee when after many attempts they finally succeed.

Presenting Your History At Family Reunions

While family reunions often feature traditional activities such as recipe swaps, a family music list, familiar stories and outside games, many times families intend on digging deep into history and sharing it in an organized meaningful and exciting way. But good intentions are often met with distractions and a project long left undone. What's needed is a goal, some organizing and inspiration.

Helpful Tools To Record and Present Family History

To help families get their research work off the ground and into the family reunion events program is the Genealogy and Homestead Tour Family Reunion Themed Planner found in Fimark's Family Reunion Planner.

The Family Reunion Planner guides you through the process of throwing a successful and enriching genealogy themed family reunion. With online tools that help you do your genealogy research you'll have your family reunion event planned, organized and ready to manage in just a few hours using Fimark's Family Reunion Planner web app and ebook. 

Our company, Fimark has been developing family reunion planners since 2004 and each release just keeps getting better. Get the Genealogy and Homestead Tour Family Reunion Themed Planner - Includes themes, logos, slogans, matching invitations, theme banner, matching t-shirt, cap and apron ready to edit and order online. 

Other themes in the planner package include:
Family Reunion Cruise Theme
Family Reunion Family Fest Theme
Traditional Family Reunion Theme
Living Legends Ball Theme

Planning a family reunion? Don't have Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app yet? Get it at this summers discount special. List Price $49. Now $39 for a limited time. You save $10 dollars. No coupon code needed. For more information about the family reunion planning app click on the link found on this blog page or go to profiles.

Happy Family Reunion Planning!
Mark and Brenda

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making Your Family Reunion Keepsake Booklet

In our last newsletter under Reunion Preparation Reminders we discussed where you want to be on the "Family Reunion Timeline Checklist". You should have collected photos, stories, genealogy research and have started on your photo and genealogy presentations. These will go in your family reunion keepsake booklet.


You will want to do one of two things with your photos.
1. Scan them into your computer
2. Take a picture of the photo using your digital camera, camera phone or cell phone and transfer them to your computer.

Now that your photos are on your computer use your photo editing tools to crop (cut-around) the images into a perfect square.

Family History

Next, from your family history files put together two paragraphs of information about your ancestors from the earliest records available. Include full first names, middle and surnames of both father and mother, marriage dates, education, trades and employment, residents, migration and births leading up to the eldest living family member.

Attendee Registration Roster/Database

Add a list of all attendees to your keepsake booklet. The Family Reunion Planner includes the Attendee Registration Roster which is a database for keeping attendee information such as contact information, returned survey data and t-shirt orders by person and household. 

Now the Planner provides an attendee application that gives multiple family members open access to the same attendee roster. The online attendee database allows family members or committee members to update the database in real-time. Allowing others access to the database helps improve the accuracy and expedite updates in a more timely manner not unlike a wiki-project.

Family Business

Add a family business page to your keepsake booklet. As you put together your attendee registration database include information regarding the various businesses owned by family members including those who sell Avon products and such. Family members may wish to purchase a space or whole page in the booklet to provide more details regarding the business. Proceeds go to the event or committee treasury. Use the blank page found in the booklet template for adding additional business pages.

In Memoriam

The In Memoriam section can include information from the obituary of recently deceased elders and other family members. Some like to add excerpts from a bio as well as a poem or two in this section.

Putting together your family reunion keepsake booklet can be one of the most rewarding projects associated with the event, so remember to get the family involved.

Fimark's Family Reunion Booklet

Includes: A Beautiful Booklet Cover, Page to place a copy of the Welcome Letter
from Town Officials, Our Family History Page, In Memoriam Page,
Dinner Banquet Program, Family Business Cards Display, Address/Phone Directory,
Acknowledgements, Blank Templates for adding other features including reunion events,
other photos and more.

Booklet Cover Chairperson Welcome Official Welcome History Page In Memoriam Reunion Activites
Dinner Program Family Businesses Address/Phone Directory Acknowledgements Blank Template

Happy Family Reunion Planning!

Don't have the latest version of Fimark's Family Reunion Planner? Get your copy of the award winning Family Reunion Planner  at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gotta Love It!

Here is a shout out to family reunion planners in
South Carolina, 
Maryland and Virginia!

1. Gotta Love It!

"I love this application!" That's what users are saying about Fimark's Family Reunion Planner. Remember that the planner also comes with a family reunion planning book that ships out as soon as you get the immediate download. And don't forget to check out the spectacular family reunion themes included!

2. Great Themes For Your Reunion

In case some of you did not know we made major changes to how you plan your family reunion event. Now our online family reunion planning interface begins with selecting your theme. That feature was introduced back in 2010 with Fimark's Family Reunion Planner upgrade. Think that was exciting? Now the spectacular family reunion theme planning package is better than ever!

After we partnered with we put together a themed based package that allows reunion planners to select event wear and correspondence by theme. The  beauty of this is now you don't have to stress over how to conceptualize a theme idea, related activities and dinner program that is inspiring, motivating and above all mutually understood by all in the event group. It's all there for the taking. Just review, edit and your done!

Five Beautiful and Inspiring Reunion Themes

In the Family Reunion Planner there is an application along with worksheets for each family reunion theme.
A total of five themes are featured. These themes include:
The Traditional Family Reunion
The Family Reunion Cruise
The Family Fest Reunion Theme
The Living Legends Ball Family Reunion
The Genealogy & Homestead Tour Family Reunion

Now each theme comes with it's own official theme logo. Included in the package is a correspondence package consisting of matching flyers, greeting cards and invitations. But that's not all! There is now an ensemble of matching three piece reunion event wear including T-shirt, cap and apron. Best of all each attendee can order their own reunion event wear once they have received an invitation and url or link to the order web page.

Preview the ensemble of reunion event wear at

3. Reunion Preparation Reminders

Now is the time to check where you are on the "Family Reunion
Timeline Checklist". You should have collected photos, stories, genealogy research and have started on your photo and genealogy presentations. These will go in family reunion keepsake booklet.

Your T-shirts order should be submitted and in process. If not, order them today! No more time to delay. When the shirts arrive you'll need to check each one and return a few for replacement. Plan to have your t-shirts on hand by the end of April or early May. Haven't settled on a vendor yet? Get bulk discounts on t-shirts at* and save up to 57%.

Committee members should have their department assignments and task worksheets found in Fimark's Family Reunion Planner (Workbooks sections). Make sure they are making progress on assigned tasks.

4. Reunion Planner Tips

Some attendees will simply not get the t-shirt fee payments in on time. Once you have ordered the t-shirts and received the bulk discounts others may still want to order more. Just email them with the reunion event theme and this link(unaltered)* No more worries.

April is crunch time! Don't put off in an hour what you can do this minute. That's right if it's on your mind and you have a few minutes to spare first write down your task, then have at it.

5.  Money Saving Time

It's also money saving time. Lot's of event planners are making pit stops at Dollars Stores. Yes Dollar Stores to find materials and creative ideas for decor, games and party favors. But if you really want to save shop at Online Stores like  Brenda and I bought our next generation phones from Verizon. We were excited when they were delivered early in the week. 

We went to the local Verizon store for setup service. While there we looked over the accessories but found the prices rather steep so we went online to my favorite shopping place We found the same accessories for half the list price and were able to get other items with the money we saved. In addition if you buy over $25 in qualified merchandise you get free shipping. Needless to say is was a great money-saving shopping day.

Mobile devices can help you save hours carrying out event planning, organizing and management tasks. Invest in a next generation mobile device such as an ipad, android tablet or one of the larger phones.
For more information go to

Planning a family reunion? Don't have Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app yet? Get it at this summers discount special. List Price $49. Now $39 for a limited time. You save $10 dollars. No coupon code needed. For more information about the family reunion planning app click on the link found on this blog page or go to profiles.

Happy Reunion Planning Everyone!

Mark and Brenda