is a member of my Homespun list and also listowner of
Heirlooms-L. She posted the following message on her list
and gave permission for me to share. - shirley]
With the summer here, I imagine a few of you must be
attending or planning a family reunion. This article was
posted in the Ancestry Weekly Digest last week and I
thought some of the info might be fun. If you have any
other good reunion tips, perhaps you'd like to share
them... - Debbie
FOR FAMILY REUNIONS
by Juliana S. Smith
Family reunions are great opportunities for gathering
information from family members that you may not see
often, and for updating current data. Below are some
ideas that may help you collect information and stir
interest in your shared heritage in ways that are fun and
interesting for everyone.
~ Prior planning can be difficult with families that are
spread out over long distances. A MyFamily.com Web site (http://www.myfamily.com) can help
bridge that distance and facilitate prior planning. The
message boards are useful in planning what everyone will
bring, and afterwards, the site is a great place to post
pictures and reminiscences and will help you to stay in
touch. Also, post your GEDCOM file on the site and ask
site members for help filling in missing data. This
information can be used for other projects that will be
~ Send out blank pedigree charts and see how far people
can go back. You might want to think about sending them
with the reunion invitation so family members can
reference resources that they may have at home to fill
them in. When you get the charts back, combine them on a
big chart so everyone can see how they are related. You
might want to use a tablecloth or bed sheet that can be
hung up or laid out for all to see.
~ Make a map that traces the migrations of your ancestors
and family members. If possible, cite hometowns in the
old country to show family members exactly where your
common ancestors were from. Travel brochures or a search
on the Internet might even turn up pictures of their
~ Make up questionnaires for everyone to fill out.
Include vital information like birth dates and places,
marriage information, information about their parents,
and medical history. Also ask for personal information
like memorable events in their lifetime, traditions from
their youth, places that they have lived or visited,
hobbies, and any other information that will be of
interest to future family historians.
~ Put together handouts with your family information in
them. Organize the information in different ways. You can
include charts, timelines, copies of old photos, news
clippings, copies of original documents, or transcribed
family stories--anything that you think may stir interest
and revive old memories.
~ Kids love to put on shows. Provide them with costumes
and props and let them act out scenes from your
ancestors' lives--the crossing to America, overland treks
in covered wagons, how Grandma and Grandpa met, or any
other interesting family story. This will preserve these
memories in their minds and actors and audience will have
a good time. If there are no "actors" in the
family, storytellers can narrate the family story for
~ Make up games from your family's history. You can
create your family's version of "Trivial
Pursuit," where participants have to answer
questions about your family to win pieces of the pie.
Make a collage with copies of old photos and baby
pictures and award a prize to the person who correctly
identifies the most people. Ancestral Charades can have
players pantomiming an ancestor's life as the audience
tries to guess the identity of the ancestor.
While you're at your reunion, don't get so caught up in
the past that you neglect the present. Take pictures and
make memories for the kids to treasure, so that they can
reminisce and tell stories about this reunion at future
For more help planning your reunion, visit the following
Web sites for help from beginning to end:
for a Successful Family Reunion"
by George G. Morgan, "Along Those Lines..." (18
on a Successful Family Reunion Trip"
by George G. Morgan, "Along Those Lines..." (30
for a Successful Interview"
by George Thurston
(Ancestry magazine, Jan/Feb 1998, Vol. 16, No. 1)
What do they have to do with Genealogy?"
by Linda Rogers
(Ancestry magazine, Nov/Dec 1996, Vol. 14, No. 6)
Homes & Gardens' Guide
to Planning a Successful Family Reunion
the Internet to Plan a Family Reunion"