The Course Creators


Build Your Brand & Influence With Your Ancestral Story – with Carole McCulloch

The Course Creators


Build Your Brand & Influence With Your Ancestral Story – with Carole McCulloch

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Build Your Brand & Influence With Your Ancestral Story – with Carole McCulloch


There is a lot to be said about understanding who we are from our past, where our roots are tied down from.

They make up who we are as people.

And if we can find ways to own our story, we can help more people.

If we find ways to tell our story where we’ve come from, who we are, where we’ve been, we can capture people’s hearts and minds, as well as determine our branding, the way we’re going to come across in our marketing material…

Getting better at telling our story as entrepreneurs will help us in so many ways. 

In this episode of the Course Creators Podcast, we have Carol McCulloch who is an expert in the field of ancestry and especially how you can go back, uncover and dig up your ancestral background to help you become a better leader, better teacher, better educator, better person, parent, friend, and everything in between.

In this episode, she will give us some tips about how to find out about our past and how to use our ancestral story to grow in business.


Watch the video:

About Carole

Carole is a teacher, mentor and instructional designer. She has a passion for family history and helping others in preserving their ancestral stories. She has a diploma in Family History and a few teaching diplomas; plus a number of Toastmaster leadership awards in her Virtual Victories portfolio.


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In this episode we cover:

  • How to research your ancestor the easy way
  • How to write an ancestor card and story
  • How to store and share your story with confidence
  • What are my 3 tips for best practice in writing your ancestral story?
  • What is the ‘magic’ in the Family Story Magic course?

What is ancestry?

We’re talking your previous generations. So step-by-step going back through your parentage, your great grandparents, your grandfather’s grandmother’s and great, great, great, so these are your ancestors. And of course, the further you go back, the tree keeps widening and you’ve got all of these ancestors making up your tribe. So that’s your ancestors, your tribe.

I’m really passionate about genealogy family history. And I love the idea of you writing your own story. For me, it’s been an absolutely incredible journey. I found out so much more about myself and I’m sure you will too. I found out more about my traits, my skills and my personality from looking at what has been handed down to me. I come from a long line of tailors. So now I understand where my needlework skills come from, but I also come from very strong women in my Celtic roots. It helps me to understand why I think the way I do by looking at what’s been handed down to me. Of course, we make our own way in the world, but these influences have very strong roots.

How can we uncover our story?

It can be hard and it can be complex, but I have learned that it can be also simple and more direct because people haven’t got the time anymore. I have spent the better part of 10 years in researching my own family. I don’t expect everyone else to be able to have that amount of time, so we need to be able to do some quick research and some quick ways to find out where our ancestors are from and what their traits are and so in the course that I’ve developed, I’m really looking at some very quick ways for people to create a storyline based on some simple facts. 

And that storyline is what you can research, not just using or Findmypast or any of those big tools. You can simply use Google or even better: ask your living relatives for details. Sometimes we really underestimate the power of the simple and free research tools that are actually available out there and how much data is freely accessible. 

The ancestor card strategy

The ancestral cards strategy is a really simple way to start collecting data, just little bits like birth, death, marriage, and significant events. You put those events online in a tool called Trello. You can do it in any kind of tool, but Trello has a unique way of allowing you to move the pieces around on the board. And you upload photos, maybe old certificates and so on. 

You begin to build an ancestral card and that card just has snippets of information. And the beauty of that is that you can share that with someone else. It only takes them five minutes to read. Not everybody has the time to read a long family history story, they want something quick. People could contribute too. I can go in and maybe add my own notes to the card that my sister created about grandma. So we can start pulling together all of our memories and all of the snippets of information we received.

Our story is our brand

As influencers, as leaders and educators, we are always being told that one of the best ways to inspire action, to create connection with our audiences, to be able to tie our story into our purpose and get that sense of purpose in our lives. But also to wrap that up in our brand, our story is our brand who we are and where we’ve come from is our brand, we are our brand. How can we look at the story that we have? What bits do we pick? 

You want to just write a short story about an ancestor. So you pick a moment in time, maybe a short period in time, maybe across a few years. What you need to do is uncover some of those little facts and you build on them to create that sense of story around an event or around the person’s particular lifestyle. It might be a very different kind of lifestyle. So these are the ways you can do it, just pull out the strengths of your ancestors to become the story that influences you.

Once you’ve done that first part, you’ve pulled out those interesting elements and you can find a way to connect that back to yourself, whether it’s maybe common traits or common personality themes or whatever it might be. 

Top 3 tips for creating your ancestral story

The first tip is to find the stories, write them up and to share them. The sharing is what really does make a difference, because you are able to then influence a broader range of people. Maybe in the first instance, your family members, but then in your wider community. And it certainly is the best way to do it by sharing your story. 

The second tip is to focus on what it is that one ancestor story needs to say to your audience. That will help make that story really sing for the person who is going to read it. 

And of course the third tip is how you’re going to share that story, because it may not just be in writing. You could record your voice telling the story of your ancestor. So many wonderful stories are heard online on the internet and it’s the voice that gives that extra little flip to the story line. So you could record your ancestors story for your descendants, so that they have a better idea of exactly what it is that ancestor left for you.


I actually help people to create larger stories built on those three things. So you’ve got the story, you then have the voice and then the third element is the imagery. We’ve all got photos, we’ve all got our memory box and we may have artifacts and you’ve put all that together and you can come up with a digital story that you can share anywhere. And that has become quite a trend in the last few decades, and I’m delighted to say that digital storytelling is alive and well. 

Some people aren’t going to find out all the information, but what you can do is: there are no rules when it comes to writing stories. If you want to turn your family story into fiction, you could use inspiration from the characters from your past or who you might imagine that they may have been the types of characters you might imagine them to have been based on the very small things, and create a fiction story. Just use your background as inspiration.


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There are 3 main ways to become a stand out expert in your field with your own courses, books, services, consulting, speaking and industry presence: 

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