You’re at a family gathering, beaming with excitement to show off the family tree you’ve spent months—no, years—researching. You’ve used your genealogy software to add all the names, dates and places, and have printed out a banner-size ancestor chart. You whip out your family group sheets and start explaining each connection to your cousins.
Tips for Your Family Tree Flip
Keep this advice in mind when brainstorming ways to make over your family tree and capture your relatives’ genealogical imaginations:
Dress it up.
Something as simple as adding photographs, embellishments and borders can take a printed pedigree chart from drab to fab. Most genealogy software offers different styles or types of family tree charts (wall charts, box charts, timeline charts or photo trees) you can print right from your own computer. For guidance and suggestions, see our roundup of wall chart printers in the July 2010 Family Tree Magazine.
Show it off.
Making your family history a part of your day-to-day life will stir up interest (and perhaps elicit information) the next time a relative visits. Ancestral photos in a wall hanging such as the WallVerbs 11-piece family tree ($39.99) would look especially nice. You also could turn the tree-themed decals and family names from WallWords.com into art. The large Photo Tree decal is perfect for displaying pictures. Visit MarthaStewart.com for a “Birds of a Feather” family tree template the kids can help paint and adorn with ancestors’ names.
Wear it out.
Be a walking billboard for your family’s history. Not with sandwich boards (that might start another kind of conversation), but with a T-shirt that will generate questions about your ancestors. On a website such as Zazzle.com, you can choose a shirt (or another clothing or gift item), customize it with a family tree or other image you upload, and order it. Or make your own with iron-on transfer paper from an office-supply store: Print a family tree or an old photo on the transfer paper, then iron it on a tee or sweatshirt according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Take it online.
Your relatives are probably already on popular social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Did you know you can enrich their online experience with family history? There’s a bonus in it for you, too: You can connect with other researchers interested in the same places and time periods, and you might even find a new cousin.
Serve it up.
Your mother always said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I’ve found this to be true of women and children, too. When you share famous family recipes at gatherings, you have an opportunity to talk up the ancestors responsible for those delicious dishes. If you’re the organizer, you can get relatives involved by assigning each person to bring a particular food.
- Get together (virtually) with other genealogists who quilt on the Geneaquilters Blog.
- Tell your family about an ancestor who had a colorful personality or was famous (or infamous). Drama works for reality television—try using it to “publicize” your family history, too.
From the February 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine
More great genealogy resources from Family Tree Magazine: