Using Genealogy To Bring Families Closer Together – The Best Benefit of Our Family History Work!
Whenever I am working on our family genealogy I am reminded of that old advertisement from the M&M Mars Company. Promoting their two hit candy bars, Mounds and Almond Joy, in the same ad it simply stated:
“Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.”
As all of us who have researched our genealogy and ancestry know we tend to come across the ‘nuts’ and those who happen to be a bit less nuts in our family histories. It is the stories, customs, foods, and times of our ancestors that really make our genealogy work come alive. I know it certainly does for me. I love our family – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
No one in our family had undertaken any genealogy or family history work on our family prior to my efforts. As far as I could find the most anyone had done was the customary classroom project, perhaps about 6th grade, of putting together a rudimentary family tree that went “all the way back” to our grandparents . This made my efforts all the more enjoyable for me as I delved into new and unexplored territories for our family tree whose roots run extraordinarily deep in Cornwall, Bohemia (Czech Republic), and Italy. Each discovery was new and exciting to me. So exciting that I quickly realized two things.
First I realized that what I was discovering was far too exciting and interesting to simply keep to myself, so I began to share my findings with any relevant family members of that branch.
Second I quickly realized I needed to be able to create, preserve, build our family tree, and share all our discoveries electronically. I wanted to be able to quickly and easily share all this with every member of our geographically dispersed family.
I accomplished all of the electronic needs I had identified for our genealogy and family tree by using the Family Tree Builder Software and its accompanying website created and operated by MyHertitage.com. This package fit our needs perfectly for several reasons:
• It gives us worldwide access by all our family members no matter where they are.
• We can add the usual data to the family tree, but also photos and freehand notes to each and every profile on our tree.
• MyHeritage.com provides us with unparalleled security, which was a top priority when I queried our family members about having an online family tree.
• With just two clicks, anyone can send an email to all of our family members on the site.
With our electronics taken care of, all that remained was for the communication method to be chosen. In our family we produce a weekly “Your Family Update”. This email sent via our website gives any news and information on our family history and family each week.
Initially when I began these Updates I will admit many family members were looking at me as if I was one of the ‘nuts’ in the family, but guess what has happened?
These Updates have not only become something everyone looks forward to receiving now, but they have brought our family much closer together than we ever were before.
It wasn’t long before the communications began to really take off as a two-way path. As often as I was sending out new information family members were sending in new information, questions, comments, additions, stories, photos, and corrections.
I also augment these regular communications during any family special events/gatherings and holidays. For example, I incorporated a ½ day family history tour and event during my mother’s recent 90th birthday celebration. Additionally, during every holiday gathering I create and then we all play some fun game that features family memories, history, stories, etc. Not only does everyone enjoy playing the games, but I get some very valuable insights and information to add to our family tree!
Then the real magic unveiled itself. Slowly at first, then gathering steam over time the communications across many of the branches of our family began to expand and improve. More emails, more telephone calls, texting, connections via social networks, and best of all, visits! Family members began to go out of their way to reconnect in person with cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. Although in many cases decades had intervened, the newly reestablished family connection via our genealogy had reopened those old doors and reignited the desire to reconnect.
It has been a wonderful experience to see our genealogy go from being seen, in its beginnings, as just a bunch of fairly dry facts, figures, and data to blossoming into a living, growing movement within our family. It has been a blessing beyond my wildest dreams. I hope yours is too!
Enjoy going Onward To Our Past®