Thanks to guest-blogger, Lisa Alzo, for this article...
It’s hard to believe we are half way through the month of October. The end of the year is quickly approaching, and soon we will be looking ahead to holiday cooking, decorating, and shopping to prepare for those cherished family gatherings. Mid-October also means that National Family History Month is almost over. If you’ve been too busy to fully participate, or perhaps didn’t even realize it was here, it’s not too late. Here are three easy things you can do to discover your roots and honor your ancestors.
1. Immerse yourself in research. Schedule some time to practice what I like to call, "immersion genealogy." Here are a few ideas. Some you can accomplish in a day or two; others during a three-day weekend.
- Visit an ancestor’s hometown. Look for their house, visit the church where they worshipped, walk through the cemetery.
- Study your heritage. Check out books at your local public, college, or university library, or do a search on Google Books, or search Cyndi’s List under country or under Recipes, Cookbooks & Family Traditions.
- Spend time interviewing your relatives. Ideally, you’ll want to do this in person, but if you can’t there’s always Skype or Facetime). Nobody to interview? Then, document your own story. Download a free guide here.
- Gather ideas for your next family reunion. Make a list of those you wish to invite, choose a date, place, and theme, set up a planning committee. Get tips from Reunions Magazine.
- Plan that dream trip to your ancestral homeland or take a virtual tour through Google Earth.
2. Start a heritage craft. With the holidays just around the corner, why not skip the mall or online shopping frenzy, and make a gift your family will cherish? Making your family history a part of your day-to-day life will stir up interest (and perhaps elicit information) the next time a relative visits. Add ancestral photos in a wall hanging such as the WallVerbs11-piece family tree ($39.99) You also could give someone the tree-themed decals and family names from WallWords.com and inspire them to show their roots (The large Photo Tree decal is perfect for displaying pictures), or get creative with family tree displays (click here to for some suggestions). If you like to sew, another great gift is a family history quilt. Fun Stuff For Genealogists carries preprinted fabric panels you add names to, or do a Google image search for family tree quilts. You can also use a photo gift site such as Shutterfly, create a family history book, or calendar with Ancestry.com’s MyCanvas, or self-publish your favorite family recipes in a cookbook using Lulu.com. Check Pinterest for even more ideas.
3. Continue your genealogy education. What better time is there to learn something new than Family History Month? Perhaps you can still catch a special event hosted by a genealogical society during October. Find a list of upcoming national, state, regional events at Conference Keepers, or look for upcoming Legacy Family Tree webinars you can watch from the comfort of home. Legacy QuickGuides® also provide you with quick tips and handy references to assist with your research (there are now more than 85 topics to choose from).
Don’t let Family History Month pass you by. There’s still time left to make some heritage happen!
Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer, and has been tracking her ancestors for 23 years. She is a frequent presenter for the Legacy Family Tree Webinars series and can be contacted via http://www.lisaalzo.com.
Photo: The John Alzo family. Courtesy of Lisa A. Alzo