December is upon us and so is the holiday season. Although our schedules are sure to be busy with all the associated tasks of the holidays, one task must remain on our list throughout the season; talking to our families. Holidays often bring families and friends together only for a brief moment in time, use that time wisely! Remember to ask those questions of your family and their long-time neighbors before they are no longer with us. The greatest genealogical information you will find is residing in the heads of the people who lived the events and created the documents that resulted.
In addition to family stories, family photographs and heirlooms abound if you know where to look. With all of the smartphone technology available today it is easy to snap photographs of historic photographs and furniture, pretty much anything that ties you into your family stories and history. It is also a much nicer way than arguing over who gets Aunt Bessie’s hope chest when she dies. Particularly if she’s sitting on the couch while the discussion is happening.
The very last time I visited my grandmother, I had my husband take his camera and go through the house photographing it. Not because I wished to take inventory or have anything from it, but because I grew up in the house and wanted the memories of the way it looked while she was still alive. When I look at these photographs, they bring up my own memories that I write down for my children. They may not appreciate it now, but they will someday when they wished they asked me questions too.
So what will you do this holiday season? Who will you visit? Are you flying or driving back to the place you grew up? Or, do you have family flying in from other places? Think about what you would like to know and what you would like to share with your family. What did they do for a living? How did they end up living in the town/city they are in right now? Where did they live when they were children? What did their parents do for a living? What was life like when they were children? Did they live through a period of history (war, poverty, immigration, etc.) that was particularly memorable to them?
What are your favorite family traditions and stories? Are you sharing them this holiday season? Do you have family stories of your ancestors that were passed down or found in a diary perhaps? Jump on over to our forum and share some of your traditions and stories with us. Happy Holidays!