Here’s a roundup of practical Thanksgiving Day advice for ways to collect family history around the Thanksgiving table. (Or before or after). I offer these in hopes that it adds some depth to your family holiday. These are blog posts and articles by others around the blogosphere.
Oh, and are you aware of a holiday tip that’s not mentioned here? Please let me know. I’m happy to make this collection grow to reflect the good advice and suggestions that are out there.
I wish I had asked my Grandma Gert what it was like to be 21 when women earned the right to vote in 1922. I would have had asked her mother, Nana, for details on growing up without a mother and why did they leave Canada.
Here are a few of her questions (geared toward the women elders in her family):
- What was it like to make the decision to leave your home country and ...Read More
When you get together with family at Thanksgiving, will you spend all your time in the kitchen and dining table? Make some time to hear family stories. One basic way to capture stories is to look at photo albums and ask questions about the people and places, and the events depicted therein.
Photos are a great means of eliciting stories. Photos (and photo albums) also provide a fantastic start on a journey of collecting family history stories.
More than one older relative has replied to the request for an interview with something like—“What? you want to interview me? But my life’s been so normal. So unexciting. What would I possibly have to say?”
That same person who objects to an “Interview” (with a capital I) probably finds it perfectly reasonable to sit down and identify people in photographs. “Why of course I’ll tell you who these people you’ve never met are.” Easy-peasy. Slam-dunk.
Now you’re off and running. Then the person will start remembering, ...Read More
Whee! I’m in America’s oldest magazine. The cover story of the November/December 2010 issue of The Saturday Evening Post is about finding out more about your family’s history over holiday visits.
The five pages of the magazine covers ways to explore your family’s history, from asking questions of family members to genealogical research, in an article by Doug Donaldson, and one by Stephen C. George.
Plus there’s helpful advice. In a sidebar. I’m quoted there. About avoiding “Why?” when talking to family (more on Why Not Why here) and your seating arrangements when asking questions about pictures in photo albums. (More on that here and [new!] here.)
Some fun stuff: Donaldson’s article and sidebar highlights family gatherings recorded using the built-in video camera on a laptop—that’s a new one on me! Among the experts interviewed is oral historian Stephen M. Sloan, a fellow member of the Oral History Association (too, I read his emails from time to time on the Oral History email list). Two fellow members of the Association of Personal Historians, Jennifer Sauers, and ...Read More