It seems that at some point most people become interested in their family history to a least a small degree. Learning your family history can help to strengthen your family. The more you learn about your ancestors and their lives, the more your present family time will be enriched. Researching your family background can be a family activity that involves everyone. Here are three ways you can learn more and find your family history.
How To Find Your Family History:
1. Researching Your Family History Often Starts With Grandparents
You are fortunate if your parents are still alive and your children can enjoy them. Plan a time to ask your parents and grandparents questions about their youth as it is often the best way to begin to find your family history. Often they don’t think it’s important, and you may have to draw them out. They may even be self conscious about their lives. You will have to be skillful but once they get talking though, you will get a wealth of information. Don’t forget to write down the things you have learned. It’s easy to forget details.
If your parents live out of town, there are still many ways to communicate with them. There’s the telephone, Skype, email and good old fashioned letters. For years, our family vacations took us to where my husband’s parents lived. That way, our children got to know their aunts and uncles and many cousins. You may also wish to consider memory keepsake books to your grandparents and or parents so they can fill them out and memories won’t be lost when you lose them.
2. Photos Are A Helpful Way to Find Your Family History
Photographs are a great way to learn about your family. Just get out the photo album and start looking through it with your parents or grandparents. Once again, write down names. When my cousin died, I inherited some very old pictures. There were even some tin types. Fortunately, I asked my father about the people in the pictures, but even he didn’t know all of them.
Recent photos of your own family’s vacations or holidays are fun to look at. Pictures of your children at the beach or standing by your camping tent will be sure to bring funny stories to mind. Sometimes, you’ll hear about things you didn’t even know happened.
Of course, now, most people take digital pictures. Just be sure that you organize them in a way that lets you enjoy them when you want to. Creating slide shows of particular events like birthdays or holidays is a good way to present your pictures to your family. High quality photo books of vacations or years are also a great way to preserve memories.
3. Tracing Your Roots to Find Your Family History
It’s a lot of fun to build your family tree, but diagramming the lives of your ancestors can be a daunting job. Fortunately, there are many online genealogical websites where you can do research without even leaving your home and they are very helpful in resources to find your family history. You may want to try familysearch or ancestry.com to get started.
Even before you go online, talk to your living relatives. They may have important information about people in your family’s past that they are eager to share. You will hear some fascinating stories.
If your parents have a strong ethnic background, it would be interesting to learn about their struggles as immigrants to this country. My grandfather’s father was born in Italy and immigrated here in his twenties. My daughter is able to visit their home in Italy and meet some of her Italian relatives.
Don’t Forget To Record Your Own Family History
Make sure you document your own family’s activities. They will be history to those who come after you. When my family took a six week camping trip across the United States, I took plenty of pictures and some of the children wrote journals about their experiences. When we got home, I put it all together in two photo albums and they have become family treasures. Safeguarding family memories is important.
Knowing who came before you can help you appreciate where and who you are now. We don’t live in a vacuum. It is your responsibility to pass on to your children as much knowledge of their ancestors as you can. It is important for them to see their place in the living chain that is your family history.
Have you ever done any research into your family history? What tools or resources were most helpful to you in your quest to find your family history?