Now I don’t want to stress anyone
and time always goes so much faster that we think.
Really I am not trying to stress anyone but now is the time to start thinking if you are planning any Genealogy Guerrilla Action this year. Christmas and family gatherings are an ideal time for Genealogy Guerrilla Action, where you can sneak family history into the activity without being obvious and having their eyes glaze over.
It can take time to get the information together even in today’s online world.
Some things I have seen done include:
|Ornament by Kimberley Powell
The Christmas tree ornament of the ancestor is an ideal one. Kimberley Powell gives detailed instructions
on making this ornament.
Family recipe books are always useful as you can have a few pages of family information and photos for each recipe. If you don’t have too many special family recipes, how about putting in photos of festive occasions and some memories of the food eaten so you have recipes that were used on special family occasions.
The family history book all written up is a dream for many, perhaps for most getting it done is the impossible dream. You don’t have to have “War and Peace”. Remember the book is made up of people and their stories so writing up a story around a person or a photo is a good start.
Maybe start small with a family calendar with a family photo and short write-up on that photo for each month. In the date portion include some historical family events, date of immigration, wedding, birth, etc.
You could theme the calendar eg April for a Gallipoli veteran, November for a World War 1 photo, the appropriate month for the wedding or birth, perhaps the month when you moved into a family home? You are limited only by your imagination. Many family history programs have a “On this Day” feature.
The casually left on the coffee table book, of old family photographs with their stories, is easy to have done using photo-books
|Family photo book examples
and of course you win extra points if your relatives ask YOU questions about their family history!
You can also use this to document your holiday or the first year of school. They are more likely to be seen than the photos sitting in an envelope.
Having a display of historical family photos on the wall or TV stand may also get people asking questions. Of course you could always make a slide-show of old photos and places people lived that is showing on the TV itself.
It is not just photos, it could also be images of family memorabilia such as Great-Granddad’s medals, some old 78 records, a sampler, some carpentry tools, a book that Gladys won for perfect School attendance.
A friend’s most cherished possession is the DVD she has of her mother showing her grandchild how to bake the special family biscuit recipe.
Once our family members are lost hearing their voices is so very special. Scanning and writing a story around a photo is a wonderful thing to preserve the stories and show the importance of the family photos but having a video of Grandma reminiscing about the photo and sharing the funny, sad, silly stories would be extremely precious to future generations.
You could buy some plain glass paperweights from the $2 shop and then decoupage (glue) the historical photo underneath and then leave them around. This can also make a neat place card substitute. You can use pictures of the adults when they were children or pictures of their parents etc
Family history information on Christmas cards could also be done as could bookmarks for each family member. A friend a few years ago, had the gift cards and wrapping paper printed with historic photos.
The Christmas newsletter seems to have fallen out of favour a bit, with the advent of social media but you could always sneak in some family information there.
Of course there is always the option of a Family History advent countdown on Facebook or on your blog with a picture and a quick write-up of that picture. Remember you can have many blog posts in draft while you are getting ready for the Christmas Advent countdown to start.
If you are thinking of persuading family members to do DNA tests this year I would very strongly suggest getting yourself done now. Getting the kit to you and then back and then tested all takes time(at least a couple of months!). Being able to show your family the results means they can understand what DNA testing is all about. This removes some of the unknown and tends to mean that you get more people saying yes to the test.
I would initially suggest getting the autosomal test done (this is the only one that Ancestry does) and it is called the Family Finder Test at FTDNA
This test is good for finding descendants of your ancestors back about six generations due to the way the DNA is inherited.
FTDNA also does the mitochondrial test (follows the mother’s mother’s line and the Y-DNA test following the father’s father’s line)
Whatever you are thinking of doing now is the time to start the preparations.
So what Genealogy Guerrilla Actions are you planning to make family history part of the Christmas celebrations this year?
I’d be delighted to hear your ideas.