15 November 2011

GIFTS OF FAMILY HISTORY

     With today's technology, it is not too late to begin to create holiday gifts of family history. There are quite a few projects that can help you preserve your family history, create an heirloom, or share family memories. Family history gifts usually generate hours and perhaps days of discussions and memories. I am listing just a few ideas for holiday gifts I have gathered from my fellow family historians.
1) Genealogy charts and reports, naturally.
2) Family history books and scrapbooks. There are a variety of publishers online who do a beautiful job of producing top quality photo and text books. The programs have become simpler to use, and you can create your family photo or text book quicker than you would think possible. If funds are tight, you can take your family history to a local office supply store and copy and bind your pages there.
3) Sharing photographs. One gift that is usually a big hit is a gift of photographs. In many families, one or two members seems to have inherited the bulk of the family photographs. If you are that lucky person, consider sharing those photographs--nowadays you don't have to part with them to do so! There are so many ways to share old photographs today. In an afternoon or two, you can scan and upload those old photos to a photo book publisher and have them bound into a book or made into physical photos for you. Many of these photo publishers, such as Blurb and Shutterfly, have ideas on their websites for other gifts you can create, such a calendars and notebooks. Besides sharing a precious family history resource, your gift will help to ensure that future generations will view and appreciate the old photographs.
4) Create a family crest or coat of arms. I know a few family historians who have created family crests or coats of arms, then placed those creations on gifts such as mugs or shirts or plaques.Some of these creations that are touching stories in themselves, incorporating symbols of family history and unity.
5) Needlepoint, painting, and other arts and crafts. My imagination is perhaps too limited to list all the ways the family history can be incorporated into crafts and art.
6) Movies and videos and DVDs. Many people have given up attempting to transfer the old family movies and VHS tapes into current technology, and families will lose precious memories as a result. Getting these memories into digital form is a wonderful gift. Better yet, if you can learn to edit video (and it is much easier than you would think), create a family history DVD complete with commentary and information. I've found that many family members whose eyes glaze over when I roll out my ancestor charts will play a family history DVD over and over.
     I am sure I am missing many great gift ideas and would love to hear from readers who have created family history gifts of their own.

(Disclaimer: I have not received any payment, gift, or benefit of any kind for mentioning any companies or commercial Internet sites in this post. I have mentioned any such companies only because I have used their services myself).