Friday, January 16, 2009

How to share your family history with your family.--Surround Yourself

Back to the Marathon Blog Series. There are lots of other principles on this topic I have wanted to share.

Earlier I mentioned that probably the biggest principle of inspiring your family with your family history is to have it infused profusely into every aspect of your life. If you are excited about it, and if you have a good relationship, the more inclined your family is to be excited about family history too. One of the ways you can have your family history more present in your life is to get it out of the books, scrapbooks, off the computer and etc, and have it in front of your eyes every day. Displaying your family history in your home is a great way to get the people around you asking questions and being more aware of your family history.

Having my ancestors around me puts the broader perspective of a whole lifetime in my grasp and helps me prioritize better. To me, seeing my ancestors every day brings lots of questions to my mind. Such as:

  • Would they approve of how I am using my resources right now?
  • Am I raising my children to carry on the best things this family has tried to promote?
  • What am I doing to improve this family?
  • Is the current crisis going to be important in the span of my lifetime?
  • What are these day to day activities adding up to be in my life?
  • What is going to be important about me to my descendants?
  • How am I going to be remembered? Do I need to change that?
For those you live with, or anyone who visits, displaying your family history can create interest and curiosity. The family history is everywhere in our house. It always has been. And anyone who has been here knows that our family's history is important to us. My kids know the stories around the pictures and the heirlooms. They know what these people looked like and that they were real people. But I also get asked questions by extended family and friends that come and visit.

    You can:
    • Display your pictures (or copies of your pictures if you want to put the originals away for safe keeping.)
    • Display your heirlooms
    • Display family history charts. (Hmm. Wouldn't know where to go to get help with that :-)
    • Display Maps or Timelines of your family’s history. (We can help you with that too.)

    You might present a family history display item to the person you want to interest. My sister made calendars for our family this past Christmas with a bunch of family photos and all the important family dates noted. It is a beautiful calendar that she put together online and had sent to her. Many genealogy programs will also create calendars with your ancestors' birthdays and anniversaries and etc.

    For young children, displaying your family history in a geographical way can also be educational. You could put up a map showing where your ancestors are from, or you could mark the migration of members of ancestors and how you came to live where you do now.

    You could also incorporate quilts, pillows and etc. All sorts of the things you use or decorate your house with can be turned into lessons on family history. Several years ago I made a quilt out of the photos in my parent's wedding album. As much as I would love to spend time looking at the wedding album, I've seen the quilt alot more often. Fabric Paint, Photo transfers, Embroidery, can be used to display your family history.

    So however you do it, get some of your family history out where you can see it this week. And then tell someone about it and why it is important to you.

    1 comment:

    Lisa said...

    I would absolutely love to visit your home, Janet. My house is similarly decked out, and I especially enjoy it when extended family members visit and ask questions about pictures and memorabilia. My children are sometimes the ones who tell them the names and the stories. That is a true joy. I'm glad that you are encouraging others to try out "family history decor" in their own homes. A house empty of family photos is not a home to me.