Do you remember any family reunions from your childhood? I can recall long tables loaded with pies and covered dishes, and someone appointed to shoo away the flies. Writing about a long-ago family reunion will probably inspire someone in your family to start planning a future one.
I love asking my aunts about their parents and grandparents, and every time I get off the phone I jot down my notes in my genealogy software. My aunts remember things that happened long before my birth and I cherish their memories. Aunt Lu’s story of her grandmother making ambrosia salad and leaving it on the screened-in back porch in winter paints a picture of a woman I never knew.
Black Sheep Ancestors
We all have one—the horse thief, Army deserter or no-account scoundrel. Instead of hiding them, write a profile about that ancestor and all the facts and rumors you’ve ever heard.
When We Were Kids
Ask your oldest relatives to write about their childhoods—their memories will show your children a society they probably can’t even imagine.
Save space in your newsletter for budding poets and writers. It doesn’t matter if the poem or essay isn’t about genealogy or the family—it’s a way to honor their talents. Imagine how wonderful it will be twenty or thirty years from now to go back and read their words.
World War II Memories
Whenever my mom visits my brother Mark, he asks her to tell him stories about World War II—what it was like on an everyday basis, what it was like for Dad to leave his family and go to war, or how ration books worked. We baby boomers want to know more about life during World War II, so start interviewing those who experienced it.
If your newsletter is formatted to include photos, add several baby pictures and have a contest to see who can correctly identify all the photos.
Slice of Life
My dad loved butter and radish sandwiches. It’s something about him that I’ll always remember. I wish I knew quirks like that about all my relatives. Your older relatives may know little “slice of life” tidbits about your ancestors—write them up and make them a part of your family’s written history.
Newly Found Cousins
Your electronic newsletter is the place to note the names and e-mails of cousins you meet on the Internet. It’s amazing how many distant family members are online—and even more amazing that we’re meeting so many of them.
Family Web Pages
If several of your family members have Web sites, highlight one in each issue. Describe what their site contains, such as photos, a family tree, historical accounts or Civil War regimental information. This might encourage other family members to publish their own Web pages.