Black History Month is dedicated to celebrating the contributions of African Americans both past and present. Individuals of African descent have made their mark on the world in every industry—academics, sports, government, and literature, to name a few. However, black history month extends beyond public recognition of well-known individuals. It includes recognizing the heritage of our family and personal ancestors. As a way to celebrate, here are some Black History Month activities with a focus on family history.
1. Share Your Story
Family history begins with you! Begin making a record of your life by starting a journal. Not only will your future family thank you for taking the time to record your life, but reviewing what you have recorded can cause greater introspection. This type of reflection will allow you to live your life with greater purpose.
- Start a journal in a way you enjoy, and try adding to it once a week. Ideas include:
- A written journal where you write down stories, thoughts, or experiences.
- A drawing journal where you draw pictures of what happens in your life.
- Go digital.
- Start a photo journal. Take a photo every week.
- Start an audio journal. Record yourself talking about things that happened that day or that week.
- Consider adding important photos or recordings from your journal as Memories to FamilySearch.org.
2. Connect with Your Family
Connect with your living ancestors to save memories that might otherwise be lost. A memory is lost when a family member passes away before his or her story has been shared and saved. Don’t wait another day. Talk to your parents, grandparents, and other extended family members so you can collect their stories and preserve them forever.
- Record (audio or video) older family members talking about their life events.
- Digitize a photo, and have a family member tell the story behind it. Who is in the photo? What is happening? Then upload the photo, tag it, and save the story as a memory on FamilySearch.org.
3. Search Record Collections
Take the time to search for deceased ancestors in FamilySearch’s vast records collections. Not only does FamilySearch have nearly 5 billion searchable records, but this month FamilySearch has released 29 collections specifically containing information on individuals of African descent. Search these collections, and if you find your ancestors, attach the records to your family tree.
- Create a free FamilySearch account.
- Start searching historical records on FamilySearch.org.
- Look through and begin searching the newly published 29 collections.
- Learn more about how you can use these 29 collections by visiting the blog of our partner, the International African American Museum Center for Family History.
Learning more about your family is a perfect way to honor family members and their contributions. It is a perfect way to celebrate black history. Remember, Black History Month isn’t just a celebration of famous people; it is a celebration of everyone with African descent.