Make family history fun for the whole family by actively remembering ancestors and their times and seasons. The following are ideas that every family can employ:
Throw a birthday party for an ancestor
Familytreemagazine.com suggests tips for making a birthday celebration a fun way to teach kids about an ancestor's life and times.
• Start with a grandmother or grandfather — someone you knew, but the kids didn't — and celebrate the way the family did when that relative was still alive.
• Consider wrapping up a few mementos of that person as "presents." When the kids open them, you can share the story behind them.
• Choose an ancestor who lived during a time period kids would recognize, such as the Civil War or Colonial times, and celebrate the way your ancestor might have back then.
Share music and movies
Music and movies are always ways to share family history.
• Watch movies that were popular during your life, your ancestor’s lifetime or a movie that portrays a certain period in history.
• Listen to or sing songs from a particular time period.
Celebrate with food
Familysearch.org suggests food as an important part of our family heritage, holidays and family gatherings. Smell and test family history. The website, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares four tasty suggestions:
• Make Grandmother’s apple pie recipe or Dad’s famous meatloaf for your children.
• Find and prepare recipes from countries where your ancestors lived. International recipes are available on the Internet and in many cookbooks.
• Share favorite childhood foods. Prepare a recipe your mother used to make and explain where it came from and why it is your favorite.
• With help, children can plant a small garden with their favorite vegetables, harvest them, and enjoy eating their own harvest.
Editor's note: The original version of this story posted on June 1, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on March 18, 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.