Many American readers will be visiting relatives this week for Thanksgiving, or inviting family members to their homes. It's a fantastic opportunity to share stories and traditions ... and get the next generation interested in family history! Here are 9 Thanksgiving genealogy tips for sparking a conversation:
- Use food as a starting point to discuss specific ancestors or family traditions. Who was the best cook ... and who was the worst? (Be nice!)
- Share a recent family history discovery you unearthed through genealogy interviews, traditional research on FamilySearch, DNA tests, or other sources.
- If you have a few interesting old photos, bring the photos with you or take pictures with your phone to share at the gathering.
- Try to spark curiosity among younger family members with stories or photos. (Download free genealogy interview sheet for kids)
- Use historical events or well-known people from the past as a starting point. ("I remember when I first saw James Brown/Elvis/Sinatra in concert")
- Share filled-out pedigree charts with relatives that show basic details of direct-line ancestors. (See our free genealogy PDF or editable genealogy PDFs)
- Hand out blank pedigree charts or family group sheets to cousins for them to fill out.
- Talk about planned genealogy road trips next year.
- For families who can't get together in person, it's always possible to pick up the phone to have a chat.
If you're wondering whether people really use such tips during Thanksgiving and other family gatherings, check out this recent comment from the EasyGenie Facebook page:
My dad had an aunt that did this every year at family gatherings ... for over 30 years! Births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, divorces, etc . It’s been a wealth of knowledge! She collected photos, family stories, news clippings etc as well.
Bottom line: Be sure to make the most of Thanksgiving to share your love of genealogy with family!
Photo credits: Library of Congress