Thursday, May 29, 2014

Family History Spotlight Pages

I have been trying to get to know my family better. And not just my immediate family members. I am talking about the ones that I never got to meet in person, but that I have heard stories about. Or the ones that for my entire life have only been names on our family tree--who have lived an entire life that I know nothing about. But who are a part of me because I am literally here because of them.

Abraham Lincoln apparently said, "I don't know who my grandfather was, I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be."

I think there is a lot of truth to that. BUT, I have to say that knowing both my grandmas and grandpas and what they lived through and what they lived for has certainly increased my desire to make my life worthwhile. That being said, I have been thinking about how to help my children get to know the grandpas and grandmas that came before them. And this is what I decided to do:

Family History Spotlight Pages

Okay, that is a horrible name, but I couldn't think of what else to call them. The idea is to create a 3-ringed binder full of one-page (front and back) spotlights on each of your ancestors.  Since this is to help your kids know where they came from, keep the text short. Use any pictures you can find. Make the graphics colorful and engaging. And find stories that a kid will find interesting and that show the gifts and strengths and personalities of the relative.

In the example below, I did a spotlight page for my maternal great-great grandmother, Marinda Allen Bateman. I knew virtually nothing about her; but lucky for me, her youngest daughter wrote a book about her. The first thing I made was a graphic that shows how I am related to Marinda. Then I added a few pictures, found a fun story that shows how brave and determined she was, and a few quotes about her home life and beliefs. I also made a timeline that outlines her life quickly and added a family picture. In hindsight, it would be really cool to add some interesting facts into the timeline that would give context to the time period that she lived in. For instance, I could put who was President of the United States at the time or note when something was invented during her lifetime.

If you need help getting started and researching your ancestors, try this website.

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