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October is family history month

By Michael C. Watson

October is National Family History Month in the United States, in Kentucky, in Adair County. This is an excellent opportunity to talk about family history. At time to make sure your family story is remembered for future generations. Now, more than ever, we need to communicate with family members. Researching and documenting our family history is important and a worthwhile way to stay connected.

Talking to kids--whether age nine or fifty-nine--about family genealogy isn't always easy or fun. They may have very little interest in listening to family history that can feel more like a boring history lesson. They don't want to hear about their great-greats, unless they did something "really cool!"

So, approach it in this way:

Ask them to write down one thing they know about their family, past or present.

Then have them write down something they would like to know about their family. Suggest possible questions if needed-- Where did the family live in the past? What were their occupations? Were there family members in the military?

Then record and share what they learned about the family. This can be picked up at another time and continued, compiling a family history. This is how we all began our quest.

After you have discussed what they know and prepared some questions about your family, you can transition into digging for information to answer the questions they wonder about.

An excellent place to start looking for answers is with older family members. Many families are separated geographically, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, and many grandparents haven't had a chance to see their grandchildren, so they might be happy to play family historian. Ask anyone in the family who might have details that you've forgotten. Use zoom, the telephone, email, etc.

It's really important to write down what you've learned--be the archivist or record keeper.

Recording your findings is important and doesn't have to be a big deal. A few pages on the computer and there you have a beginning, one that can be added to at any time.

Not all families are biologically related, but every single person's story is a valuable and unique thing about them. If you and your family members do not share ancestry, you can help each other find that information and share it with each other. Some parts of the past may be painful, but your family is here now and you are making your own story for future generations to discover.

This story was posted on 2021-10-01 07:30:59
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