A family history project should start as early as now. You don’t have to wait until something happens in order to start wondering about the family history. Your aim should be to chronicle the past in text and image while you build upon the present with text, images and video. Let us look at the different steps you go through to build the history, and what is in it for you.
Plan Your Genealogy
The first step is to plan the genealogy of the family history. You want to decide whether you are going to focus on the whole extended family or just one or two names. Depending on the lineage, you might want to start with one side of the family, say the mother only or do both at the same time.
Many history projects focus on a select number of great-grandparents, which gives a clear view of immediate ancestors. By the time you go through these lineages, you will have found several interesting things that you want to focus on. For instance, you might now decide to talk about marriages in the lineage.
Some families are harder to investigate while others are easy. You can start with the easy ones then go to the harder tasks.
The Starting Point
There is always somewhere you need to start when coming up with your project. You can begin with an insightful conversation with one of the older family members such as your father or grandfather. From this information, you lay the foundation for running the project.
Right from the start, you need to organize and record every information in a logical fashion. This makes the research easier and gives it a flow.
You need to have someone to work with, say a relative. You can enlist the help of a relative who is also interested in the history. This makes it easier on you and the task goes faster.
One of the best ways to get the information you need is to perform interviews. The interviewees, in this case, are your relatives, both the old and the young. The trick is to interview them about the same event and see what they say. Truth be told, each person you interview will remember something totally different about the event. By interviewing a large number of people, you get some facts right and allay any statements that need verification.
When performing the interview, you need to follow all the interviewing skills that are common to media. Armed with the little knowledge you have about the family history, you can steer the interview any direction you want. What you need to do is have a list of questions pre-determined depending on what you wish to know.
You can have several questionnaires for the different age groups, starting from the eldest to the youngest. Tailor the questionnaires in such a way that at the end of it all the questions you ask can make up the story you are looking for.
Organize the Heritage Trunk
The first step is to check out what you already have. You can get these from your existing relatives. The trunk can have CDs, images, books, files, notes, maps and a host of heirlooms.
Next, you need to organize this collection into different categories. You can do this using the help of worksheets.
Build on What You Have
As you struggle to make sense of the past, you need to make sure you are adding more content to what is happening currently. For instance, you want to document everything that is happening at the moment ranging from weddings to births.
One big event that you shouldn’t miss out is the weddings. These form a major part of any history and can help you fill in the missing pieces later on. For weddings, you need to document the date of the wedding, the couple who are wedding, and the venue and so on. Blue Bend Photography can capture these special moments for you and help you document them so that you don’t have to do it by yourself.
Your family history is vital to the way you live and helps you know where you came from. One of the ways to make sure you capture the history is to come up with a family history project.