Personal History - Family Activities
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If I tell you I love you, can I keep you forever? From Casper the Ghost
Regular Family History Activities
- Record each person in the family on a regular basis (Family Home Evening). Have them tell highlights of their week.
- Write letters regularly to a parent or grandparent or to children away from home, featuring family happenings. Keep copies of all letters sent, or arrange for the letters to be preserved and returned.
- Devote regular time to collecting, preserving, and displaying family memorabilia particularly photographs of ancestors. For more information about collecting, preserving and displaying old photographs, see Preserving Photographs and Documents.
- Consider designating one holiday a year for a “Year in Review” session.
- Record the language development of growing children--every few months.
- Start a family newsletter for those families with children living away from home. Have each member write a letter which are all gathered together and published in family newsletter. This is not the same as facebook. This is a hard copy to be preserved like printed books and scrap books.
- Have each member record an hour-by-hour log of activities on a typical week, school day, work day, Saturday and Sunday.
- Visit yearly the graves of deceased ancestors, perhaps on or near birthday of those people or on memorial day. Share memories or historical details of those people.
Organize an ongoing photographic family history
- Take regular family photographs on a yearly basis.
- Write descriptive captions or assays on each
- Preserve and display photographs. See Preserving Photographs and Documents.
Learn as a family skills of effective journal keeping
- Set aside a regular time for making journal entries.
- Review the skills of effective journal writing.
- Obtain a journal with high quality paper (acid-free) and use only carbon ink pens.
More Family Activities
- Set up interviews with ancestors--parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other older family members.
- Compile a family chronology: a comprehensive list, in chronological order of all major events in the family since the marriage of the parents.
- Celebrate the birthdays of ancestors. Review at the birthday party information, photographs and stories about those ancestors.
- Celebrate holidays as closely as possible the way ancestors did--the Fourth of July, Christmas, Hanukka, Thanksgiving, Passover, the 24th of July, etc.
- Prepare on Christmas, Hanukka, on birthdays, or other holidays a family tape which you can send to relatives who live at a distance.
- Take videos of important family happenings. Learn how to preserve these visual records properly. Share them regularly with family members.
Family Night Personal History Activities
- Devote a series of Family Home Evenings or Sundays to the recording or writing of important episodes in the families history.
- Using national or international maps, explain to family members the geographical origins of direct ancestors, from generation to generation and how they came to live where they do now.
- Describe your recollections of your grandparents. Focus on physical appearance, positive personality traits, special gifts and abilities, accomplishments, and humorous incidents. Comment on traits that have carried on to their children and grandchildren.
- Using charts and other graphic aids, explain to your children exactly what family relationships are: cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, second cousins, once-removed cousins, nephews, etc.
- Make a list of common tasks a family members performs daily such as washing clothes, ironing, getting shoes repaired, obtaining news, traveling, going to school, etc. Now describe how you or your parents or even grandparents performed those same tasks in their day.
- Have a “grandparent” night. Talk about a specific grandparent, show pictures and tell stories.
- Organize a “This is your life” night for a child or parent.
- Visit places where family members formerly lived. Share reminiscences.
- Have a names origins night.
- Discuss the nationality and meaning of family surnames or recent generations.
- Tell children how their names came to be chosen and explain the meaning of those names.
- Share with your children your feelings when you did “firsts” such as: first day of school, first date, first time driving a car, first kiss, first talk in church, etc. Encourage children to share their “first” experiences also. Tape record these descriptions.
- Share with children your feelings on the birth of each child, along with details on what that child was like as a baby or small child.
- Review with children your own experiences with pets and the family’s experiences with pets.
- Fix a week of meals, or a series of family home evening meals, featuring foods prepared as they were when parents or grandparents were children.
- Spend an evening discussing and practice a specific skill of composing personal histories, chronologies, essays, interviewing for oral histories, preserving documents, etc.