Valerie Elkins

Valerie Elkins

Vlaerie is the CEO and founder of Advantage Genealogy and serves on the Board of Directors for both Story @ Home and for the Utah Genealogical Association. She utilizes her experience to blend research and technology with the art of storytelling, to help make the past come alive. Valerie believes that every family has an amazing family history full of stories of love and loss, guts and glory, victory and deafeat... along with a few skeletons in the closet. Finding those stories and learning to dance with them is her passion. Valerie is a Pinterest "pinja" and a blogger at Family Cherished. You can find Valerie on Twitter @elkinsvalerie.

Friday, 27 September 2013 19:37

What's the Story of Your Favorite Family-isms?

family storytelling family sayings superman's capeGrowing up, I learned some important advice from my dad that I never forgot:

  • You don't tug on superman's cape
  • You don't spit into the wind
  • You don't pull the mask off the old lone ranger
  • And you don't mess around with Jim


family storytelling genealogy heritage, fork in the roadHaving a heritage to pass on to the next generation is a priceless gift and a tremendous responsibility.

"There is no better heritage than a good name that a [parent] can bequeath to [their] children.  

     Nor is there in a family any richer heirloom than that of a noble ancestor.

We are the guardians of the treasures of the past, with the high duty to preserve them

     and pass them on the generations yet future." - Jessie H. Lindsey


Monday, 02 September 2013 11:43

The Privilege of Going Back to School

family storytelling back to school privilegeThis is the time of year when children returning to school raid the stores of their Back-to-School supplies, buy new clothing that will be too warm to wear on the first day of school and are filled with mixed feelings of dread and anticipation.  Parents brace for the impact on the checkbook, the stream of endless papers for each child that need to be signed, returned and noted in their calendars and know the whirlwind of busyness that is about to ensue and consume their lives.  Gone are the lazy days of summer and the whine of "I'm bored".  Moms are torn between being relieved and terrified of the new school year.


Thursday, 18 July 2013 14:34

Family Stories To Laugh About... Someday

family stories traditions family storytellingOur memories can be a mixture of the happy and sad. Often those horrible, "we-will-laugh-about-it-later" stories can become some of our fondest memories. 


My husband and I were that couple that didn't smear the wedding cake into each other’s faces. That's why this "tradition" is so strange for us. We have this huge fake, but very life-like spider, don't know where we got it or how this even began, but my husband would hide it, where I would least expect it and of course I would jump and scream.


family history family storytellingOne of my first connections to family history, was to my 4th grandmother, Clara Rohrer or Mo-ko-maun-e-quay (Little Knife). Clara was the daughter of O-taun-tug, a full-blooded Chippewa of the White Earth Mississippi Band and Daniel Rohrer, a young clerk at a nearby Army outpost in Minnesota.

Family tradition – as started by Clara herself, was that she was an Indian Princess…I know all about the old mythical Indian princess story cliché, so stop rolling your eyes and stay with me here folks! But, as a child living in a family that moved like migratory birds with no extended family around, I latched on to this story. I was the granddaughter of a PRINCESS! How cool was that?! I felt unique and special with this wonderful, romantic family history story.


storytelling objects family memoriesWe may all, at some point in our lives be faced with the dilemma of what to do with some of the "stuff" we inherit from grandma or whomever.  Maybe it's an ugly sofa, a drawer of mismatched spoons or an out of style wedding dress.  While you appreciate the connection to your ancestors - what are you supposed to do with it and where do you keep it?  Here are some ideas from my super talented sister, Suesan Kennard, that might give you some inspiration and give you a reason to relook at that "stuff" and see treasure just waiting to be repurposed and displayed in your home.


Monday, 08 July 2013 17:39

Top 7 Reasons for Doing Genealogy


Strong Women genealogy family history family storytellingWhy in the world would anyone want to do genealogy? Isn’t that for old ladies with blue hair? Oh, if I only had a nickel! Did you know that genealogy is the 2nd most popular subject on the internet? I’d tell you what the number one subject, but it would make grandma blush. Here are 7 compelling reasons why someone might want to get started in finding their family’s history.




 Child's grave genealogy family tradition family history



Photo courtesy of: Grave of an infant in Horton, Northhamptonshire.


As a professional genealogist, I deal with death all the time. Looking for someone’s death date, place of death and any circumstances of death is a common practice. Always hoping that this death information will lead us to other family member’s information and of course details about the person we searching for life and personal history.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:09

Like Peanut Butter and Jelly


Sandwiches genealogy family stories storytellingSome things are just made to go together, pizza and pepperoni, Fred and Ginger, family history and reunions; you can hardly separate the two. Some things are just better together!