Maegan Kasteler | Oct 1, 2018

5 Activities for the Whole Family to Celebrate Family History Month

October is national family history month! Celebrate with your family, and try out some of these fun ideas for the whole family.

Interview Your Grandparents

You can learn a lot about your family history by sitting down with your grandparents and recording their stories.

Before you sit down with them, brainstorm a list of questions. Don’t get too caught up in your questions. However, make sure you still allow the conversation to flow, and it might just go in an unexpected direction. You may think you have heard all the old family stories, but you might still learn something you didn’t already know.

For more tips on interviewing relatives, check out our blog 5 Tips for Interviewing a Relative.

Scan Family Photos and Documents

Sitting down together as a family and sorting through photos and documents can help everyone involved better understand their family story. Use the time together to introduce your kids to relatives they may have never met.

Scanning all your print photos can seem like a daunting task. Our best advice: Do it in batches or sessions, choose your storage method before you start scanning, and make sure you have a high-quality scanner.

For more tips, take a look at this blog post from FamilySearch.

Interview Your Kids

It is easy to get stuck in a rut thinking that all of your family history is tied up in your parents and grandparents, and sometimes you might tend to overlook your own kids!

Your kids have a lot to say, and they aren’t afraid to say what they think. Asking them questions about their dreams and aspirations can lead to some hilarious answers and sometimes even foreshadowing to their future.

These interviews can easily become heirlooms that will be watched over and over again.

Visit Family Graves

It might sound morbid, but making a day out of exploring where your ancestors are buried can be a great family activity and might even help you discover missing ancestors.

Exploring around a cemetery, finding the oldest headstone you can find, and looking for relatives or famous people can be a great outing for families looking to learn more about their ancestors. Often clumped in family groups, graves and headstones can provide information about births, deaths, family members, and sometimes more obscure information, like religion, hobbies, professions, nicknames, and more.

Don’t live close to where your ancestors are buried? Dust off one of those old maps, create a family grave map, and trace your family’s movements around the world.

The FamilySearch app has a feature called Map My Ancestor that can help you in your journey to locate where your ancestors are buried. Learn more about the app here.

Plan a “Live Like Your Ancestors” night

Have you ever explored how your ancestors lived? The traditional meals they ate, the clothes they wore, the day-to-day activities they busied themselves with? Have you ever tried to live as they did?

A great way to celebrate your heritage is to try it out! Try on a traditional costume. Is your family from Austria? Try on dirndl or lederhosen. Are your ancestors from China? Try a changshan or cheongsam. Is your family from Ghana? Perhaps you can wear the bright patterns of a dashiki or the similar female version.

Maybe you can try eating like your ancestors would have eaten. It’s possible you have family recipes that have been passed down that you can try. If your ancestors are Bosnian, perhaps try a recipe for Ćevapi. If your relatives are Ecuadorian, try fanesca, a traditional soup. Do you have family from Pakistan? Try making chapati or karahi.

Spending a day or evening living as your ancestors can help you gain a better understanding of your roots.

And a bonus way you can celebrate family history month is register for RootsTech! RootsTech has quickly become the world’s largest family history conference and provides countless ways to celebrate your family history. RootsTech SLC 2019 starts February 27 and runs through March 2. Early bird registration is available through October 12. Learn more about the benefits of attending RootsTech here, and register here.

Do you have other ideas of ways to celebrate family history month? Tweet us @RootsTechConf with your suggestions!

 

Maegan Kasteler

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