Holiday gatherings are a great source of family fun. They can also be a great source of family information to help you learn more about your history. Here are five things you should do at your next family gathering so those family memories last forever:
- Think about what you want to learn.
- Where did grandma meet grandpa? Where was great-great cousin Lou born? What war did great uncle Joe serve in? Make a list of questions ahead of time and be sure to ask: birthplace, names of parents and siblings, where they lived, churches attended, burial locations, marriages, occupations, military service, public service, schools attended, etc. Not only will you get valuable information, you’re sure to hear some entertaining stories!
- Create a list of family members.
- Sit down with some of the older members in your family and ask them to list names of their brothers, sisters, grandparents and so on as far back as they can remember. Make sure to write down all the names and details like place of birth if possible. Even better, use your smartphone or tablet to record members of your family talking about it.
- Share and share alike.
- You may find that someone else in your family is working on your genealogy as well. Share what you’ve learned. Genealogy is a great way to connect with others and sharing family data, research tips, and resources can go a long way in making contacts and/or finding those missing pieces. If you have extended and far away family, use social media to let them know what you’re doing and ask if they have anything to add. Create a Facebook group where you post family history and invite your family to join.
- Ask to see stuff.
- The holiday season means lots of family gatherings, you’re sure to see some of your family members more than once. Ask them if they have any interesting heirlooms or items they can share with you. Family bibles, yearbooks and photos are great ways to bond and learn more about your family.
- Include family history in your holiday card or newsletter.
- As you write your card or newsletter include a story or something you’ve learned about a family member or distant ancestor. You could also include a old family photograph. Your family will enjoy seeing photographs, and learning a bit about their family history!
Between holiday visits, head to the Library and research what you’ve learned or try to find an answer to a family history mystery. You can use Ancestry.com for free inside any branch of the Kenton County Public Library. The Local History and Genealogy Department also has a scanner available so you can scan family photographs, letters, and scrapbooks. You can receive free one-on-one research or scanning assistance by calling (859) 962-4070 and setting up a one-hour appointment.
The holidays can be stressful but if you get everyone involved in talking about your family history you’ll have a lot of laughs, remember those that have gone on before us and honor your family for future generations.