Share your family history by writing down your personal story and stories of your family. There is no one way to share your story. What is important is that you share. The following are few examples to consider:
Create a family newsletter
"Consider creating a family newsletter. Get others involved. Be creative. A well-written newsletter is a great way of keeping families together. Newsletters can include stories about an ancestor or share research successes and assignments. You might have an entire issue dedicated to family history or a regular feature on family history," FamilySearch.org suggests. It can be circulated every month or four times a year. Make sure grandparents, parents and children each write.
Create a family website
"A family website is a great way of involving family members who have computer skills. Let them design, create and maintain the website while you and others contribute the information ... you might encourage extended family members to take an interest in the family’s history," FamilySearch.org states.
The website serves as a digital scrapbook and meeting spot. You can share family photos, favorite recipes, funny stories and even your family tree research.
Write a family history book
FamilySearch.org also provides a family history book as a possible way to write and share your story: "A family history book is a major undertaking, but it might provide a wonderful opportunity to involve extended family members. You might ask them to contribute information on their own family or research information on a specific ancestral family."
Scrapbook your family heritage
Kimberly Powell, a genealogy.about.com contributor, suggests showcasing "your precious family photos, heirlooms and memories" in a heritage scrapbook album.
Develop a book of family lore
"Compile family recipes and any anecdotes that go with these foods. Add family sayings, funny stories, traditions, timelines, anything you’d like to record for coming generations," Laura Weldon suggests in her article, "Making History Relevant."
Write a family history blog
"A family history blog is a chronological posting of articles, stories, news, tips and information on the family’s history. The website is dynamic, with the front page changing with the addition of new material. It is also interactive, as comments are allowed, giving people an opportunity to comment and give feedback on the information you have to offer. A family history blog can be maintained by one person or dozens," Lorelle VanFossen wrote on her family history blog, CameraOnTheRoad.com.
Create a five-generation ancestor book
Create a five-generation ancestor book that includes a photo and a one-page biography of each ancestor on your pedigree chart.
Encourage family members to keep journals
Ginger Hamer wrote an 1984 Ensign article with several suggestions as to how to make family history fun and accessible. She stated, "Sundays are a good time for making weekly entries. Remember to make it a family rule that each person’s journal is private and must not be read without the owner’s permission."
She also provided ideas to help children keep journals even starting at a young age. "If your children are too young to keep journals themselves, you can start a notebook for them. Use plastic protector sheets to preserve birth certificates, blessing and baptism certificates and other important papers. Ask your young child to tell about an event in his own words and write it down for him. Each year on the child’s birthday, write a short history of the preceding year, recalling the child’s growth and recording amusing anecdotes so quickly forgotten otherwise," she wrote.
Create personal histories
Encourage family members to create personal histories and tell their own stories.
- Keep a journal, create a scrapbook or write stories about your life.
- Use a camera to take pictures of events and save those photographs in an album.
Editor's note: The original version of this story posted on June 15, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on March 17, 2014, and attribution to original sources were added.
Barry J. Ewell is author of "Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History" and founder of MyGenShare.com, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.