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Let’s be honest; at one time or another, we’ve all cringed at the words ‘family history’. But here are 25 family history ideas to make it more enjoyable, accessible, and meaningful for you and your family:
1. Learn an Ancestor’s Favorite Hymn/Song
This doesn’t have to be a distant relative, but if you know great-great grandmother’s favorite song that would be something really meaningful. My grandma’s favorite primary song was “Little Purple Pansies”, one I’d never heard before, and it was fun to learn it so that we could sing it together.
2. Learn to Make a Recipe from an Ancestor
The first year after my grandpa passed away we made his famous candied popcorn and took it with us to the cemetery on Memorial Day. This ended up being one of my favorite memories, all of us eating popcorn and sharing stories about my grandpa as we visited his grave.
3. Put Together a Family Recipe Book
This can be a book of your pioneer ancestors’ famous recipes, or the whole family can contribute. We have one that all the cousins and aunts and uncles contributed to. It doesn’t have to be fancy; ours is simply a black 3-ring binder with our family name on it.
4. Go to a Family Grave Site
Family members can share stories about the person buried there. If you can find a picture of the ancestor, that’s fun to take with you as well. While you’re at the cemetery do some service. All it takes is a bucket of water, and a sharp knife to clean up the site. Add a pumice stone for cleaning granite headstones. Or check out Billion Graves and see if the site can be recorded.
5. Visit a Family Homestead or Pioneer Site
I’ve found this tends to be more meaningful if you prepare beforehand for these. Take pictures of your ancestors with you on the trip, research the place online, and contact any family that may have visited the location beforehand for any advice.
6. Take a Family Field Trip to the Family History Library
The family history library can be a scary place—at least that’s what we often tell ourselves. In actuality, they’re fun research centers full of super helpful and incredibly nice people. Most of the libraries offer tours and some even have unique features like a Family Stories Room for video recording. Find the library closest to you.
7. Become Pen Pals with a Relative Far Away
This is a great way to stay in touch in a meaningful way and is especially fun for children who are just learning to write. It also gives the older generations a chance to share their stories, and frankly, who doesn’t love getting a letter in the mail instead of in their inbox?
8. Start a Family Blog
This is a great way for family living far apart to connect in a more private method than some social media. One blog can connect many relatives. Even those living close can use a family blog to promote a connection to each other and common ancestors. It can even be used (gasp) as a resource for traditional genealogy.
9. Interview a Grandparent/Parent
This is one of my favorites! If you don’t know where to start, try asking about a specific event in their life or a historic event that happened during their lifetime. It’s really fun to record these with video or even just audio for posterity to have. Record the interview and put it on Family Search for posterity.
To read the rest of these great ideas from Jennifer Bushman, click here.