Aunt Alicia’s videos

ACW Fire WaggonI have sometimes mentioned how much stuff I inherited from my mother and her family. Mother left it all to me with the cheerful instructions that I was to figure out what to do with it.

For years, decades, I have intended to catalog and arrange, describe, and account for everything, but enthusiasm for sitting down and making lists and logs was always lacking. Recently I have been watching YouTube videos about drawing and painting, and it struck me that visual learning is definitely more fun.

I have six surviving nieces and nephews, somewhere around 14 great-nieces and nephews, and I think half a dozen and counting in the great-great-category, most of whom I have never met, and who knows when I will go west or they will come east to their ancestral stomping grounds in New England. So I guess it is time to reach out to them.

[Visual] learning is definitely more fun

It has turned out to be surprisingly simple. An Iphone attached to a tripod is about all one needs, although I have some extra lighting in my “studio” (the master bathroom) that I also use for still photographs of items for the “archives.” As the now experienced videographer of nine three- to five-minute videos, I am certainly having fun and with about 30–60 views on each of the videos so far, somebody is looking at them (though I’m not sure how many are related). Feedback indicates viewers are enjoying their mini-history lessons, at least.

ACW China Dolls

Subjects of the videos so far show an eclectic mix: an antique cast-iron fire wagon (my favorite toy), two china-head 19th-century dolls, my great-grandmother’s Whitsuntide cup, a four-generations genealogy orientation, baseballs (my grandfather was the manager of a baseball factory), beadwork and fans, and family photos and really old glasses.

The videos are being uploaded to my Facebook page ( Let me know what you think.


About Alicia Crane Williams

Alicia Crane Williams, FASG, Lead Genealogist of Early Families of New England Study Project, has compiled and edited numerous important genealogical publications including The Mayflower Descendant and the Alden Family “Silver Book” Five Generations project of the Mayflower Society. Most recently, she is the author of the 2017 edition of The Babson Genealogy, 1606-2017, Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson who first arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637. Alicia has served as Historian of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Assistant Historian General at the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Genealogist of the Alden Kindred of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in History from Northeastern University.

15 thoughts on “Aunt Alicia’s videos

  1. This is a great idea! I have so many things that I want to document so I may just do some of these videos myself. I can’t wait to go through all of your videos to see what you’ve done.

  2. Neat story and fun video clips. What’s important is that you are enjoying yourself while making others smile.

  3. The videos are delightful. It is a very clever idea. Now I am thinking what I could do with some of the pictures I have.

  4. I agree with everyone and applaud you for realizing you may never get around to doing it. Finding alternative mediums that appeal to a younger or new type of audience and passing along all the research we’ve accomplished is a wonderful legacy.

  5. What a great idea! I have several family heirloom pieces that my mother has given to me “in advance”. I think next time she’s at my home, I’ll video her with the pieces and have her re-tell the stories that go with them. Thanks for such an inspiring post!

  6. Great idea! I am planning to make a photo archive of my mother’s and other family things but You Tube videos are a great idea to add. My grandkids are constantly watching You Tube videos!

  7. As with most great inventions, they seem so helpful, needed, and obvious once they emerge..This is how I feel about this wonderful and fun way to share various family history artifacts, and possibly more, perhaps even light-hearted mini-interviews with family about “My favorite relative I knew growing up and why…” or some suchl But definitely with the family belongings. Thank you!

  8. I love this idea, Alicia! I have so many stories I want to share with my grandchildren and my brothers’ kids and grandkids, and writing them down seems so dry. And I do love telling stories. I don’t have the collection of goodies you do, but I can piggyback several stories on one item and a few photos and have a good go. I was noticing how even the photos and news clippings became full of life as you handled them. Loved the way you showed your genealogy chart with stories, and then showed pictures of the person. Lots & lots of ideas to spark off of. This was so much fun– looking forward to more of your videos. I enjoy your stories, even though any family connection we might have would be so far back in time it wouldn’t fit on a chart!

  9. I will visit the FB Page for more. I viewed 2 and they brought back some of my memories. I hope you returned the glasses to their proper cases – I was getting worried. What a great collection and a great cottage. I too have been left with many things. This is a great idea, Alicia. As I say I’ll be back for more.

    1. Sara, I am not putting the glasses back in the cases, which are deteriorating too much, but I will clean and store everything safely.

      I will also get a pointer!

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