Sunday, September 17, 2017

Only Ninety Eight More Shopping Days . . .

It may seem premature to even mention it, but according to the Christmas Countdown Clock, there are only ninety eight more shopping days until the year-end's big gift-giving extravaganza.

Not that I'm into shopping or anything. Our family has graduated from the big fling holiday style; we keep things to a moderate level. What I am looking at are all the possibilities inherent in the holiday season to remind our fellow family members that their family is rich with heritage—and that we are just the ones to share it.

Face it: we've spent days on end, collecting details about ancestors none of our family ever met—let alone heard of. Granted, some of our discoveries may have been less than dramatic, but there are others for whom a story line may have piqued our interest—and can for those with whom we share it.

How to share, though, is the trick. If your family is filled with people whose eyes glaze over, the minute the slightest mention of the dear departed is made, you may have a challenge on your hands to rouse anyone's fascination. But there are ways to share your discoveries, and this season may be the best time in which to prepare.

During a genealogy class I taught this weekend, someone asked about how to scan documents, and I mentioned the Flip-Pal scanner. As an example, I described one of the most novel uses I had heard about using the device: inspired by the Flip-Pal's ability to "stitch" scans of small segments of large documents together, one researcher took this idea literally and scanned an heirloom quilt.

Another project I had heard of was when a woman was puzzling over how to preserve the ties she had inherited from her departed father. I've heard of people taking such ties and crafting them into a quilt, or arranging some in a shadow box, or any other way to transform this token of heritage into a form in which it could be visually shared and enjoyed.

There are any number of creative ways to share our family history with family, one sliver at a time. These brilliant ideas, however, never occur to us in a timely manner. They might pop into our head the night before the family descends on us for Thanksgiving, for instance, or at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. Not, at any rate, at any moment leaving us adequate time to prepare.

I've thought of making up calendar wall hangings, complete with photos marking significant dates of our ancestors: the day our great-grandparents got married, or the birthday of a grandparent. Sometimes these ideas are rather routine and simple, but when blended with stuff we all use everyday, they provide a practical mechanism for us to take a snippet of our research progress and get it out there for everyone to see and enjoy.

You have probably had a few ideas of your own—and if you are the crafty type, please share them with those of us who are creativity-challenged!—but the time to do something about such notions is not right before the holiday rush descends upon us. The time for those creative outbursts is now, when we can brainstorm on how to turn that genealogical-sharing dream into a reality in time for others to enjoy during the upcoming holiday season. 


  1. Our youngest daughter has a relative tree that sits in her craft room, it is small from it hangs small photographs of her grandparents and her husbands grandparents. Each frame was picked specifically for the person. She also displays old wedding photos and other old photos on her stairway. I have a friend who has a framed photo of relatives as a tree decoration.

    1. Sounds like a great way to share family with others! I'm sure it is a conversation starter when visitors come by.


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