Saturday, October 3, 2015
Is It Family History Month
Where You Live?
It's October. Have you made plans to celebrate Family History Month?
While #familyhistorymonth doesn't exactly make the niftiest hashtag, the event that started off with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch sponsoring a resolution Congress passed back in 2001 has been gaining a presence online and in social media. In addition to the federal designation, several states and even cities have made similar proclamations. Perhaps Family History Month is coming to a location near you, too.
Of course, the senator's website includes mention of the special designation, noting that "more than 80 million Americans [are] actively searching for more information about their ancestors."
None less than the United States Census Bureau joins in the commemoration. In their blog, named fittingly, Random Samplings, they mention a few tidbits about census trivia that would be of interest to one of their largest constituencies: us. (Well, yeah, we're their customers, but we're more the bargain basement and sales rack shoppers—you know, yesterday's shoppers.)
There are several states jumping on the celebration bandwagon, as well. The State Library of North Carolina mentioned the designation in the introduction to their "Beginning Your Search" page at their website. Blogger Heather Wilkinson Rojo catalogued an impressive list of October events occurring throughout New England. Closer to home, for me at least, the Sacramento Archives Crawl is the October go-to event, occurring today—alas, while I'm teaching a genealogy class—at the California State Archives, complete with instructions in their blog on how to get the most out of this fun and informative program.
It's not just the government sector getting into this act. You can be sure that lead entities in the genealogy world are enthusiastically promoting the month's designation, as well. Ancestry.com published their best recommendations for the month's activities—both online and off. Family Tree Magazine urges patrons to "hold your own party" and offers their webinar, "Discover Your Roots" to watch on demand, free, for the month—including encouraging local genealogical societies to share it with their members, and libraries to show it to their patrons.
There are some entities which you'd expect to be part of this celebration. FamilySearch, for one—which notes in their blog that October is also a month set aside to celebrate heritage, and in recognition of that, provides their own list of suggestions for the month.
Of course, the one everyone turns to for all things genealogical—Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi's List—is right there providing her own list of links about Family History Month, including both local and international links. Apparently, the Clark County, Nevada, Genealogical Society has a jump on the rest of us, with their link proudly displayed at Cyndi's List.
Of all the websites I'd expect to host something this month, there was one event I was aware of for which I couldn't easily find any promotional material: Find A Grave. I'd heard the buzz, locally, about plans for a meetup, but never saw anything on their website. It does make sense that the announcement would come through Ancestry, though, and apparently the date set for the "Global Meetup" is Saturday, October 17.
As for the messages found on social media, it took a trip to Twitter to discover FindMyPast's participation in the Family History Month promotions, but there it is: a link to their own post on festivity recommendations.
They are not the only ones tooting their horn on social media. Ancestry is rolling out giveaways on their Facebook page, and sponsoring a contest on Pinterest.
It seems our local genealogical society has been springing to life with many more possibilities for outreach and education lately, but somehow we didn't even get the idea to capitalize on this golden opportunity. Perhaps ours could have been one of those cities officially designating this October Family History Month, and partnering with other local groups to launch a series of events in commemoration.
What about you? Have you been to an activity or celebration as part of October's Family History Month? What do you think? Is there a way you could make this part of your local genealogical society's yearly offerings to your own community?