Family History Month is nearly half over! In case you’re running out of ideas, here are some new ways to celebrate your family history and learn about your ancestors:
- Learn about the country where your ancestors came from. Look at pictures of the landscape. Learn a few words in the language. Prepare a traditional meal from that country and share it with family and friends.
- Read old letters from grandparents’ courting days, from parents to children, and so on. Write letters to send to relatives.
- Visit a cemetery where your ancestors are buried. Call a relative or use websites like familysearch.org, ancestry.com, and newspapers.com to learn stories about this person’s life.
- Create a family cookbook. You might have each member of your family submit their all-time favorite recipe, or collect specific recipes from meals you remember growing up.
- Record a family member (parent or grandparent) explaining the significance of different items in their home. Where did that rocking chair in Grandma’s bedroom come from anyways? And who is it in that old photograph on Grandpa’s desk?
- Make family history gifts to give to family for the holidays. You might photocopy a collection of letters between your grandma and grandpa, put together a photo calendar, or make a small book of a few of your family’s funniest and most meaningful stories.
- Find pictures from your childhood, your parents’ childhood, or your grandparents’ childhood. If possible, go to the actual spots the photos were taken and compare the photos to the real place. Take a picture of yourself in the same spot as the original photo.
- Make a playlist of all your grandparents’ or parents’ favorite songs. What was the first cassette tape (or vinyl record!) they ever purchased? What was their wedding song? What songs did they sing to their children at bedtime?
- Collect samplings of details of a parent or grandparent’s life. Take snapshots of the books grandma keeps on the piano, of the cereals she always has in the cupboard for grandkids, and of the big armchair she reads in at night. Pick up a few leaves from the maple trees out back. Spray grandpa’s cologne on an index card. Put all the items in an envelope or box as details from their life.
- Take family history to the internet and explore websites like familysearch.org, ancestry.com, puzzilla.org, and rootsmapper.com to learn more about your ancestors.
We’d love to hear your ideas. What meaningful experiences have you had so far with family history?