November is for sharing

mod family tree

November is the official start of the holiday season, at least when I think of it. I love the thought of gathering together with my family and friends on Thanksgiving, listening to their stories and recounting my own. It is a time when we look back and reflect, and are thankful for the people in our lives and the opportunities we have had.

Now is a great time to reach out and begin the task of recording these important events, stories, and family traditions. While we don’t want to think about this, as the generations before us grow older and pass on, we may lose many of these accounts when those who lived them first hand are gone. Who else has great-grandma’s pumpkin bread recipe? Or knows exactly what great-uncle Jerry intended the day he broke his leg falling off the roof of the garage?

It is important that, as a family, we take time to record this interesting, funny, and useful family lore. There are many ways that you can go about collecting information, from very involved to very passive. Below are a few that you can put in place in time for Thanksgiving.

Begin making a basic family tree.  Do you know your grandparents’ full names? What about their parents?  Where did they come from? There are many free family tree templates available online, just like the one at the top of the page.

Start a family webpage. There are many free and easy to use webpage building platforms out there. By creating a website, family from near and far can contribute and interact. You can post photos, files, and have interactive pages. Weebly and Wix are both great free platforms.

Another option would be to start gathering favorite family recipes and to create a family cookbook. What special ingredients does grandma add to her cookies that make them so tasty? Do all of the aunts and uncles have one favorite dish that great-grandma always made them? Including these in one place ensures that the next generations will also get to enjoy the family favorites.

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