24 December 2010

Follow Friday - World Vital Records newsletter

What did your ancestors eat? What did they wear? What were they likely to do on holidays? The answers vary, of course, depending on the time and place. Your children and grandchildren will find it interesting to read about your everyday or holiday activities. Sometimes the commonplace events of life are lost because they are thought to be unimportant. Yet it is those very events that make up the fabric of a life.

The Information Desk for December 23, 2010, a FamilyLink or World Vital Records publication, had an article that caught my eye this morning. Gena Philibert Ortega posted a Gen Tip that reminds us to include social history in our family history writing. She suggests that we think of a shared experience, one that the reader has experienced as well as the subject of our family history. Compare and contrast is a technique we all learned in our high school or college English classes. We can apply this to our writing. Gena reminds us that our ancestors ate out just as we do and she gives us some sources to look at in determining the menus they may have perused.

Eating is a universal experience. Recipes from the past, holiday menus and food traditions all enrich our family history. We have included recipes right in the history of a great-grandmother. Cooking was a big part of her life. Knitting or crochet patterns are another possible inclusion. What fun for a young mother to replicate something that was made by her great-great grandmother.

Christmas is a one holiday especially replete with tradition. It's time to do a little research. Did your ancestors celebrate Christmas? If they did, what were their activities on Christmas Eve? Or you could take 15 minutes to write about your activities today or in the past and then share that writing with your grandchildren, either today or sometime in the future.

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