Saturday, June 20, 2009

Black Sheep Sunday - The Gather, Family Holidays and Remembrances

Fathers day.

A great time to think of and if possible talk with our fathers.

Also its one of the holidays where we all should really make an effort to get those stories and write them down. We all must face a time in our lives when those stories will no longer be available to us.

I think that our forefathers in the USA really valued Family tradition, and respected their progenitors.

Think of our holidays and what they are celebrating.

Genealogically speaking almost any of our holidays can be applied as genealogy connected.

Of Course - Mother's day, Father's day, Memorial Day, Veteran's day, Thanksgiving are days of remembrance. And we have holidays of gathering, Christmas, the other seasonal gatherings, and The Fourth of July, and ethnic or religious gatherings as well, like Cinco de Mayo, and All Saints day, and Easter.

Anytime the family gathers can be a time to fill in details.

We all have special days for ourselves, Birthdays, anniversaries, and traditions of personal remembrance, such as remembering the passing of a loved one.

With the advent of digital media there are many ways of making long lasting records of our remembrances. We can make photographs, and share them, diaries and journals, scrapbooks, build a family tree either in long hand or using a program, make video records, etc.

With a little preparation you can add to your personal remembrance project, and get others involved, too.

You can - like so many of us have done in the past - create a family event just for that purpose. Give plenty of warning to the other participants so they can prepare as well. It is especially nice to invite those who you haven't seen in a while, and even those who may be family blacksheep. Arrange to have a story telling time, and have a video recorder of some kind to capture the stories for later transcribing. Bring all your Identified and unidentified family photos, and have a "who is this" circle. This also prompts storytelling.

You might want to consider having your materials and photos on several CD-roms for distribution, and ask to copy others. (If this is the case a scanner and a laptop will be handy).

Do family traditions as a goal, the meat is the data but the desert is the family lore.

If there is a factual dispute ongoing in your family, bring your supporting sources for others to read and decide for themselves.

If there is a family blacksheep you know about, you can avoid direct discussion and leave the clues around for others to "discover" and put together for themselves, if you are known as the family historian they will report their "finds" to you and you will have a different view to add.

If you can organize, plan and accomplish a successful "gather" then it can be a recurring event, and can be a new tradition to add to your family's heritage.