Maureen Taylor recently wrote an interesting article for Ancestry Daily News. It was titled, A Year of Preservation, and listed a genealogical goal for each month of 2006. I thought they were good ideas and that I should post them here.
Start the year right and take care of all those family photographs you took during the season. Have you seen the Epson Picture Mate commercial where people are frozen in an active pose because no one has taken time to print their digital images? I laugh every time I see it. It’s all too familiar a scenario in many households. Make a decision to print your digital images or take your film to be processed. Then sit down right away and label them using a writing implement suitable for pictures. See my earlier column “Photographic Memories of the Holidays” for last year’s photo resolutions.
Valentine’s Day makes me think about all the love stories on my family tree. Each marriage represents a tale of passion and sometimes heartache. For instance, I wonder how my grandparents met. My Mom told me about meeting Dad but I never asked my grandmother those important questions. Spend a moment listening to the romantic stories in your family. Write them down, video tape the conversation or tape record it.
Here in New England, March is a nasty month of variable weather usually featuring ice and bone numbing cold. What a great time to stay inside putting your photographs in order in acid and lignin free albums or to arrange your family heirlooms. If you need some help, read “Saving Your Family Treasures One Step at a Time.”
Know any good jokes? April Fools’ Day can be a reminder to find out about your ancestors recreational pursuits. Did they attend fraternal organization meetings, play in band, or belong to any local clubs? You can learn more about their leisure activities by interviewing family. My maternal grandparent’s and their extended family used to entertain themselves with musical evenings of song and dance. I know this because my mother and her sisters told me stories about them.
Plant some genealogical seeds in your children’s minds. In “Why Genealogy is Important to Kids," I explored some reasons why family history and kids is a natural match.
How about taking a few moments to look at the photos and papers that have accumulated during the school year? Ask your child to help decide what to discard and get them talking about their memories. “School’s Out for Summer” offers other suggestions for keeping on top of the mess.
During those hot moist summer days watch out for temperature and humidity damaging your heirlooms. Color photographs left in a stack can end up stuck together just from fluctuations in those two environmental issues. If you’re storing things in a hot attic or damp basement it’s definitely time to get those boxes of heirlooms in a stable area like an indoor closet. Consult the useful tips in “Protected from the Elements: Storing Heirlooms at Home.”
Every two years my husband’s family has a reunion. It’s fun for kids and the adults like seeing each other. The lazy hazy days at the end of the summer are good for getting together with relatives. Plan a small family barbecue or a large reunion. Ask family to contribute some food and RELAX.
Now that the kids are back in school it’s time to hit a historical society or two looking for missing family data. Last August I wrote an article about stepping away from your computer to walk into a library or historical society. The response was overwhelming. See what caused the fuss in “Custodians of Our Past” and the follow-up article.
I know we just finished with the holiday season, but in October it’s time to start planning those family history related holiday gifts. Craft, hobby and scrapbook stores begin thinking about the winter holidays in the summer. Here’s an interesting tidbit -- those stories that appear in December magazines are written in July.
Ask family to bring a story, heirloom or picture with them to the holiday table to share with relatives. Just watch out for gravy and make sure your hands are clean. You’re bound to learn at least one new fact about your relatives.
You’ve come full circle. It’s been a busy year of remembering family and tracking down genealogical information. Congratulate yourself on a job well done and take a rest. There’s always next year to make a set of resolutions.