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Volume 3, Number 11 Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369 July 6, 2011
As we celebrate the 4th of July this week, I thought I would write about family reunions. Even though many of these suggestions require work and planning, it hopefully will help pass the family history onto a new generation. My wife comes from a large family, so many of the ideas are ones we have used over the years.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me at email@example.com.
James L. Douthat
Summer is upon us and that usually brings a rash of family reunions. If you are the one to plan the reunion, it can be a challenge to say the least. We share a meal, catch up with our relatives, maybe take a group photograph and everyone leaves for another year. However, is that all there is to a family reunion?Perhaps this year you can introduce some things into the festivities that will spark a little interest in the genealogy of the family. We have a large family reunion with my wife’s family whose grandparents had eighteen children. When we get together, there can be dozens and dozens. Each year there are plenty that are new to the family and more that have come for the first time. Who are they? Where did they come from? Here are some suggestions that may help relatives to share their family stories and become part of the larger unit.1. Make sure you have name tags for everyone as well as a sign-in sheet to get their names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. We like to have them put their name on the name tag as well as which one of the eighteen children they descended from. 2. Choose the location carefully. Is there a place that is important in the story of the family or is it just a site with the right accommodations? Is there a place for all ages, like a playground for children, ball court for teens as well as plenty of shade and chairs for those of us mature persons. You could also arrange a tour to a cemetery, farm, or homes of ancestors. 3. Create a display of old photographs as well as the new ones. Many of the younger generation may never have seen pictures of the older generation in their younger days. One idea is for members of the family to bring their baby pictures and let others match the picture with the present generation. Other ideas could be asking for pictures at age 5 or teenage years or even wedding pictures. It is interesting to see the family resemblances at each stage of life. 4. Create a Family Reunion photo album. It is always interesting to look through the pictures from previous years. You can see who attended through the years, children as they grow up and faces that are not longer with us. 5. Create a large family tree for the younger generation to understand the genealogy of the family. Many years ago, one of my wife’s cousins drew a posterboard size family tree of the eighteen children. The children at the reunion were fascinated by the tree and where they fit on the tree. 6. One game that is interesting is to find tools or objects that Grandma or Grandpa would have used in their daily life. It could be a tool or object from the kitchen, used around the farm or even in a trade. Have everyone try to guess the function of each object. The children love this game as most of them are not familiar with things like a fro and mallet, plunger from a butter churn, or a cabbage cutter to make sour kraut. Each family will have different items from their culture, so be creative. 7. Create a family cookbook. Every family has recipes that have been passed down from the older generation. You could ask everyone to cook a dish that is important in their family and then share the story behind it. 8. Start a family newsletter. I began writing a semi-annual newsletter for my wife’s family. I began with an article on the family history of her grandfather, then her grandmother and followed it with an article on each of the eighteen children. The stories and pictures gathered on each family member have been interesting and everyone looks forward to getting the newsletter at the family reunions. I also incorporate current news such as births, deaths, weddings, etc. 9. Plan a family reunion weekend trip. It could be a location special to the family history while some gather at the beach or take a cruise. My wife’s family plans a fall weekend away and this year we will be going to my wife’s grandfather's hometown. A weekend away really gives everyone a chance to visit as well as share family stories from many years ago. 10. Start a family website or facebook page where you can share photographs and keep everyone informed on events during the year.With just a little creativity, you can make your family history come alive for a new generation.
Montgomery County, Virginia - The First One Hundred Years
213 Pages, Index, Soft cover, VA-0685, $45.00
Montgomery County in southwestern Virginia is one of those important counties created in 1776 out of Fincastle County. This volume contains a great deal of information about Fincastle and very early Montgomery County. There are listings of the Revolution officers and soldiers and early court records.
Sequatchie County Tennessee Families
111 Pages, Index, Soft cover, TN-0024, $$15.00
This publication contains biographical sketches of early Sequatchie Valley settlers and includes the largest collection of marriage records in existence for Marion and Bledsoe Counties (prior to 1880).
Adair County, Kentucky Biographies
45 Pages, Full Name Index, Soft cover, KY-0199, $12.50
Adair County, Kentucky created in 1801 out of Green County was the forty-fourth county erected. The information for this book comes from two sources. The first is History of Kentucky by Lewis Collins in 1882 and the second source is KENTUCKY: A History of the State by W. H. Perin, J. H. Battle and G. C. Kniffin written in 1885. Most of the Biographical material was submitted by the individuals and therefore, should be more accurate than other sources.
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