Families will be gathering next week for Christmas and this can be the greatest time to collect family information for your genealogy research and family history book. Most of us are so busy this time of year with shopping, parties and cooking, there is little time left for our family research. However, the hectic Christmas season does not have to put a stall to your research, or your 2010 family history book. Here are a few quick tips to keep the genealogy flowing at your holiday family events.
1. Have the camera ready and available for up to date headshots and family pictures. Most family will attend Christmas functions dressed and groomed in their holiday finest. This presents the perfect time to grab some up to date photos. These photos not only serve as great souvenirs of the day, they also provide useful in updating your tree or inserting them in the family history book.
2. If you are missing personal information on individuals in your tree, make a master list and keep it handy over the holidays. An opportunity may present itself to gather the missing information; a family member just may be able to answer some of your questions.
3. Pull out some old photos to spark conversation and encourage memories and stories. It is amazing when families gather and conversations begin, one individual’s memories can spark others to recall. A little holiday rum and eggnog may help draw out those stories, just remember too much eggnog may lead to exaggeration.
4. Keep the mood jovial and light. This is no time to inquire or discuss family secrets. Instead, stick to topics such as Christmas traditions, favourite recipes, best Christmas gift, funniest Christmas event or mishap.
5. Don’t make genealogy the topic of the day, unless your audience is as enthusiastic as you are. Too much focus on your family history may turn people off and shut down the conversation.
6. This is a great time to poll your family about their interest in having a family history book. Feel them out and then follow up in the New Year with more details. Maybe someone will even offer to help.
7. Remember to enjoy the day. Live in the present. Record it for the future.