Did you know that September 27th is Ancestor Appreciation Day? Ancestor Appreciation Day sounds like a holiday made especially for family historians especially since it falls just days before October which is Family History Month in the United States. This day is meant to be a time to reflect and appreciate our ancestors' lives but for the family historian, Ancestor Appreciation Day is really everyday since we don't confine our passion for genealogy to just one day a year.
However, how can we spread what we know and love about our ancestors to our family? How can we take that personal appreciation one step further? How can we help our families celebrate Ancestor Appreciation Day? We all joke about the stereotypical eye rolling that family members do at the mere mention of family history, so what can you do to change that indifference to a real interest?
Family history is boring to non-genealogists because it is often presented as just names and dates. When we tell stories, add images, and make it personal, family history comes alive. Some ideas you could try with your family include:
- Take a DNA Test or explain DNA results to your family.
- Gather family recipes for a cookbook.
- Digitize old photos and upload them to a cloud based sharing website. Encourage family members to download and print off their favorites.
- Create a Facebook page for an ancestral couple or family line and invite everyone to share photos and memories.
- Create and print a decorative chart for your siblings and cousins. Janet Hovorka shows 101 Ways to Design a Genealogy Chart in this Legacy webinar .
- Invite family to view an online tree you’ve created. Don’t forget to add digitized images and photographs.
- Upload your family photos and other photo memories off your phone and onto a photo printing website and create simple albums to share. You can find family photo project ideas by watching Denise Levenick’s webinar, 12 DIY Photo Projects to Share Family Stories.
- Encourage everyone to share a memory of family, holidays, or traditions at your next family dinner or get-together.
- Help younger family members interview their parents or grandparents about their lives. If they have a cell phone, remind them to record the interview and then share it with others (with permission from the interviewee). Kimberly Powell shares 50 Questions to Ask Relatives About Family History that provides some great questions to get them started.
- Tell your family one story from the life of an ancestor you've researched. Use photographs, maps, or even music to make that story interesting.
I know you’re thinking, “Gena, how in the world can I get one of these projects done in such a short amount of time? Afterall, Ancestor Appreciation Day is today!”
I know, but isn’t the point that as family historians, every day is Ancestor Appreciation Day? We don’t need a special day to help us remember that and neither does your family. Take some time today to do something small to share with your family your passion for your ancestors whether they are generations removed or those you’ve recently lost. Passing on their memories is what’s important, no matter what the day is.