New York State Funeral Directors Association

Delicious foods, intriguing tales and inspiration await many people unaware of their family history.

October – recognized as National Family History Month – gives all of us an opportunity to learn more about who we are and where we came from.

Ancestry websites and genealogical societies offer many ideas for getting the most out of National Family History month – many of which can engender pride and appreciation for one’s family.

An article on the website of the Minnkota Genealogical Society encourages people to get together with other family members for discussion – one of the best ways to learn more about the lives led by elders in the family.

They suggest writing a self-biography and sharing it, telling a story about your younger days and gathering family heirlooms and recording the history of these objects passed on through generations.

Producing and distributing copies of your family tree and cooking a family recipe are among other ideas that can help you learn more about your family.

Family Tree Magazine online has several tips for celebrating family history.

They include encouraging children to ask their older relatives about their family history and honoring a relative by visiting their final resting place. Visit their website to get more ideas.

Sharing stories about your life can help others know you better. And details about your origin can give you great things to talk about during a family gathering.

People don’t often get much time with their grandparents – so it’s important to make the most of that time when you get the chance.

But what do you ask them?Image of swans swimming with their little ones

Past generations viewed life differently than we do today – so be sure to ask them to describe their living situation – did they have electricity, an outhouse or an indoor bathroom, many bedrooms or just one?

You can find these question ideas among 50 others on the Thought Co website, CLICK HERE to visit and get a list of questions to ask family members.

Nowadays, work and other responsibilities lead relatives on different paths – so Family History Month can give you a good excuse to pack up the car and the kids and go visit a relative.

Or, you could all travel to the hometown of your grandparents or other ancestors to get a sense of where you came from.

The Family History Field Trip is one of several ideas in an article from Legacy Tree. CLICK HERE to visit their website and get more suggestions.

Family History Month can give you motivation to start creating a family scrap book – gathering movie ticket stubs, family outing photos and other keepsakes that fit in a notebook or binder.

As it grows, this book will give your family members a great view into the lives of their kin.

Check out this video depicting a type of scrap book – the Smash Book – it has some useful ideas on what you could save!

What if you don’t know much about your family history to share? There are many websites worth exploring.

With just a little info about where your grandparents or great-grandparents were from, you could learn you have exciting roots.

Could your family history lead to the Pilgrims? You can find out if your ancestors came to America on the Mayflower from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, CLICK HERE to visit the website.

Looking to explore further into the past?

The Find My Past website has a great article containing links to historic newspaper articles – from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean!

CLICK HERE to visit the website and see if you can find your ancestors in old newspapers.

If you haven’t already – it’s a good time to start writing down your family tree. Future generations will appreciate it.

Resources on the Family Tree website can make it easy – they’ve got a list of free forms and e-books you can download for help, including a five-generation family tree form you can use to get started.

Visit their resources page HERE to see what’s available.

You may not have time to start a family tree or research your ancestry.

But it wouldn’t hurt to visit a relative you haven’t seen in a while, you never know how long they’ll be around.

EdsPhotoEdward Munger Jr.
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association