Monday, November 24, 2014

Family Genealogy Activities for Thanksgiving

Holidays are the one time of year where families are almost certainly guaranteed to get together as a group under one roof. Busy schedules, distance, and a variety of miscellaneous obligations that normally interfere in
the success of gatherings, are less of an issue when the entire country gets time off for food, football and all around family fun.

Thanksgiving, perhaps above all other holidays, presents an unique opportunity for both learning and teaching moments, and for the documenting of family history. The following article, originally published in November of 2011 via Helium, highlights genealogy activities families can undertake to record, celebrate and preserve their heritage.

Genealogy Activities for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to engage in genealogy activities. With multiple generations of family members gathered in one location, the holiday gives younger relatives an opportunity to collect stories from older ones, as well as additional information from extended family members who are on hand especially for the occasion.
In general, compiling information on family origins begins with birth and death records. Gathering these could mean a trip to a county office, local library (dates only), or sending off for the information through the mail. When starting out though, interviewing family members is the most basic and reliable genealogy activity there is. There are a number of forms designed for gathering information that can help to organize the mounds of data that accumulates during family fact finding, such as those found at
Getting children involved in genealogy activities early helps to ensure there will continue to be family historians archiving and collecting information for generations to come. A simple genealogy activity for Thanksgiving that kids can do is to fill out Scholastic’s family tree worksheet. The free printable, available in .pdf form, allows kids to enter their own names as well as those of their parents, siblings, grandparents and great grandparents.
Collecting oral histories from older family members is a genealogy activity that provides insight into the lives of previous generations as well as specific information on individual family members. Kids can interview older family members about their childhood, educational experiences, professions, and/or the major events of their lives and look at how their relatives’ experiences are similar or different from their own. Capturing these interviews via audio or video recording is a good way to preserve them, and kids can use the footage to create their own family documentary after the holiday.
Scrapbooking is another great genealogy activity for Thanksgiving. Page layouts can encompass anything from individual family member histories to accounts of various activities from the holiday. Plan ahead by asking family members to bring copies of photos to share, or if possible, use a digital camera and photo printer to scrap memories as they are created. Ask family members to create journal entries such as “I remember,” or “when I was a kid,” that can be included in the scrapbook. Alternatively, or additionally, allow family members to create their own mini scrapbooks to take home at the end of the day.
Genealogy activities for Thanksgiving are a great opportunity for family bonding. They provide a window into the past while reinforcing the connections of the present. Involving multiple family members in the activities keeps the burden of maintaining the family’s history – a huge task—off just one person.

No comments:

Post a Comment