Please don’t say you are spending hours upon hours of research just to fill out a pedigree chart to put in a binder of drawer! Making your family’s history come alive is the fun part! Genealogy is a living, breathing work that is never finished, and there are so many creative things you can do and make to honor your heritage and celebrate your family’s unique place in this world. The following ideas will help get your own creative juices flowing.
• Design printed family trees that display your pedigree in a beautiful way. You can make your own or even buy one from [ancestry.com] where you get to choose from a variety of frames, styles, sizes, backgrounds, and fancy paper.
• Decoupage boxes, benches, or even dressers by using copies of special photographs, drawings, or other cutouts that have special meaning to the family’s history.
• Design a calendar using family photos for each month. Include birth dates of important ancestors and other special family history events.
• Make quilts or pillows using photos that have been transferred to fabric. This also makes a great wedding present! Use recent photos, or better yet, present a quilt to the new bride in the family using a photo from her great grandparents’ wedding.
• Buy a shadow box at your favorite craft store and fill it with pictures and heirloom items of one of your ancestors to either display on a table or hang on a wall.
• Gather family recipes and create a genealogy recipe book.
• Using family photographs, have computer mouse-pads made for family members to use and remind them about doing their genealogy while they sit down at their desk.
• Buy some poster paper that comes on rolls and make a time-line of your family’s history.
• What’s in a name? Using calligraphy, create a framed picture with a family member’s name and the history meaning of that name.
• Using a large map, identify all the cities and states where current and/or past family members have resided or traveled.
• Create a music CD of songs that are especially important and meaningful to your family.
• Choose a family mission statement that can be written in lovely handwriting to display in the home or cross-stitch the words onto a pillow or something that can be framed.
• Write down all of your family’s unique traditions. How do you chop down your Christmas tree? Who cuts the turkey at Thanksgiving? Don’t forget to write down daily traditions, such as how many kisses on the cheek Mom gets at bedtime.
There is a reverence for family as you begin to see hundreds of names that represent real people who have lived life’s lessons and brought you to where you are now. You honor them by the very act of collecting those names into one whole and learning about what makes your family lines unique.