Seven Ways to Preserve Family Traditions

Seven Ways to Preserve Family Traditions

Even if a family tradition is centuries-old, modern technology can help you preserve it—here are seven ideas to get you started today.

<a href=”/PDF/traditions.pdf”>Family Tree Magazine Tradition Recording Form: Family traditions and folklore can provide genealogical clues, as well as a link to your past and a way to connect with relatives. Download this free form, then use it to record information and your research about your clan’s customs.

E-books: It’s easier than ever to record your family’s story on digital media, which you can share online. Members of the Association of Personal Historians can help you record your memories. Or check out StoryCorps, a nonprofit project to preserve everyday Americans’ oral histories. Visit the Web site to learn when its traveling soundproof recording booths will be near your town. You also can publish your family history as an electronic or print-on-demand book through a variety of online publishers. For information, consult You Can Write Your Family History by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (Betterway Books).

Family newsletters: Not only can you use online newsletters to say Susie finally graduated, you also can share photographs, family lore, recipes, customs and reunion plans. Prepare your newsletter using your word processing or desktop publishing software, and e-mail it to save on postage. See the May 2006 Trace Your Family History, a special issue of Family Tree Magazine, for more advice on writing and publishing your family newsletter.

Blog: A blog—short for Web log—is an online diary. Use yours to write about your favorite family traditions and your genealogy research; if you want, allow relatives to add their two cents. You can see others’ blogs or create one of your own at Blogger, Diarist.net and MySpace. Anyone can read what you post on these sites, so don’t divulge personal information. Learn more about creating blogs in the February 2005 Family Tree Magazine.

Family history CD or DVD: The latest digital video recorders make it easier than ever to document your favorite family traditions. Shoot your family’s reunion, Thanksgiving dinner or Easter egg hunt, then burn it on a CD or DVD as a keepsake for relatives. See the December 2006 Family Tree Magazine for instructions on creating family history CDs as holiday gifts.

Digital scrapbooks: Scrapbooking is a popular way for family history enthusiasts to preserve precious memories. Many scrapbook enthusiasts are embracing e-scrapbooking—memory albums created digitally rather than on paper. You can create a virtual photo album of birthday and holiday celebrations, and send it relatives postage-free. Be sure to include favorite foods, decorations, and heirlooms such as furniture, clothing and jewelry. Enhance your images with clip-art, backgrounds and other embellishments, available from various Web sites. See Memory Makers for more e-scrapbooking advice.

Family Web sites: Nothing works better than a Web site to connect the various generations of your family, especially if you have relatives scattered all over the country. Use it to reminisce about traditions, communicate family stories and plan reunions. Web sites can be public or password-protected. Services such as MyFamily.com and My Great Big Family offer space for a fee; free hosting is available at GeoCities and Tripod. MyHeritage has free and fee-based services. Your Internet service provider also may offer you a home in cyberspace. Get more Web site guidance in the December 2006 Family Tree Magazine.

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