Family Stories Month
by Kim Green-Spangler
What better what to preserve one's heritage than to get things documented. There are numerous anecdotes, legacies, and trinkets that should and could be passed on to future generations. The internet has made it much easier to document one's genealogy. It has also made it easier to perform family searches and to get the ball rolling on your family history project. With digital cameras, camcorders, voice recorders, and assorted websites, documenting family history has gotten easier and easier. Are you ready to take the leap?
A family gathering is never complete without some inappropriate stories that you'd never want your mother or your spouse to hear, gleefully being spilled by a sibling or a cousin as you pray desperately for the floor to open up and swallow you whole. The only consolation is that you have an equal amount of dirt to spill about your cousin and you're just biding your time for the perfect moment to launch your attack. While some of these stories should never see the light of day, many of them should be captured for posterity. A glimpse into the daily lives of family members, holiday festivities, traditions, and tons of photos are the types of things that should be preserved. This is a definite project that an avid scrapbooker would enjoy, but once started, most people get caught up in the history that is their family.
Does Grandma have recipes that only she knows how to make? If she's willing to part with the "secret ingredients" and doesn't mind sharing, jot them down and assemble a family cookbook. Better yet, get everyone in the family to submit their favorite recipes (or family favorites) via email, fax, or mail and distribute it as a holiday gift. If there are tons of recipes, it could even be divided into subjects (barbecue, holiday, vegan, desserts, etc.) Many families struggle for years to try to replicate lost recipes, why not make it easier for everyone to enjoy those delightful foods from their childhoods.
Do you know your family origins? Are you a Mayflower descendant or did your Grandparents meet at Ellis Island? How far back can you trace your roots? Genealogy has been huge for the last thirty years or so, as families all over the world are searching to find out where they came from, where they traveled to and just how many of them there are. There are websites with free downloadable sheets, software programs, books, videos, and genealogists available to help trace and create family trees.
Family Health History
Did you know that almost one-third of the approximately ten-thousand known diseases have a genetic link? Medical genealogy can have lifesaving affects. Many families do not know their family health histories beyond their grand or great-grandparents. Others often have incomplete information on one of both maternal and paternal sides. Investing time into performing a medical family history search can be a substantial gift to future generations.
Capturing the fabric of family life is the theme for the month of November. Take advantage of family gatherings to record information firsthand. It can be a daunting task, but if handles in small pieces and with the help of other family members it can be really fun, rewarding and exceptionally enlightening. Before starting, determine the method to be used to collect the information and take advantage of all of the tools available to make the gathering of information much easier than it's ever been.
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