Coaxing Memories For Your Family History
If you are at all like me, you love to hear other folks’ memories and stories about family! It is what makes our family trees and their data, names, dates, and documents come alive! If you are at all like me, sometimes it is not all that easy to coax those stories and/or memories out of folks!
So …. here is a little ‘game’ that I utilize throughout the year to garner those wonderful stories and memories. It is simple, doesn’t take long, can be played by family members of every age, and folks hardly realize how much they are adding to the family tree and the fabric that is each of our families!
All you need is paper and pencils or pens. Depending on the setting I either do this informally with just scraps of paper (on vacation, etc.) or when the spirit moves me, like my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, I go a bit more formal, as you can see below:
I stack up the sheets along with a box of pens or pencils. This year we are having 21 at our Thanksgiving table, so it took awhile to find 21 pens, but I managed!
While everyone is gathered for hors d’oeuvres I give out a sheet and a pen to each person. A family member can help the youngsters, etc. I then explain that in order to ‘pay’ for Thanksgiving dinner, they need to do the following: Write down a favorite memory of Thanksgiving. A time, a place, a year, an event, a food, anything that made one Thanksgiving a favorite memory of theirs. I then ask them to sign them on the bottom and then to fold them over and place them in a basket I have out on the coffee table. They are also instructed NOT to tell anyone what they wrote.
Then when we are taking our traditional break between the meal and dessert, I ask someone to be the Master of Ceremonies and read them, one at a time. As each is read the group tries to decide who wrote that particular memory.
There are always lots of laughs, lots of different answers, and even sometimes a few tears, but always great stories.
At the end, I collect them all.
I then add each memory to the appropriate person or persons in the family tree, compile them all and email the set to everyone who was at Thanksgiving.
I gain wonderful stories for the family tree, each person gets a nice memento in the compilation I send out, and we all have a bit of fun at the same time!
Just an idea …. for me it has been a wonderful way to gain wonderful additions to our family history that really helps capture the fabric of the family.
As I said I have used this at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and often on family vacations.
Onward To Our Past®!