Holiday Memories are here. Whether you are “zooming” to stay connected with family or friends or social distancing through a window or six feet away with masks, we will all have tales to tell this year because of the pandemic. Let’s look at some tools for capturing these precious memories as we close out this crazy year.
I planned to write about some research ideas this week but really our focus this month should be about our memories and shared memories with our families and friends as we end 2020…a memorable year for all kinds of reasons. Here are some ideas for capturing information.
If you are like most, you’re likely trying to figure out what you’re going to make/eat during the Holiday meals. Often this is a time for traditional food. Perhaps your family always has a goose for Christmas or pasta or a special dessert that grandma always made. Ask your older relatives to tell you a favorite food from past Christmases or other Holidays. Now would be a great time to capture those recipes. One site that allows you to upload your family’s favorite recipes and share a link with loved ones is GetRecipeBox.com. While it is free to join this site, they do require you to register and there are products for sale to purchase. You also can search for recipes. (I have not joined this site myself so cannot speak beyond this.)
Another idea for sharing recipes is to create books in sites like Snapfish or Shutterfly or one of the many others. You can create a book by uploading the recipes as pictures and ordering a book. There are companies who will print recipe books too. The key to all of this is to jot down the memories associated with a particular food or dish. Here is an example. I plan to make an easy treacle toffee pudding (cake) for Christmas, and this triggered a memory from a relative who said that my Grandma (not British) used to make a date cake that sounded remarkably like treacle toffee pudding. I doubt very much that any of us would have remembered this without discussing the toffee pudding recipe.
Some folks prefer videos when sharing Christmas memories. The site SmileBox.com provides a way to do videos of pictures and cards and other items that you would like to share with family, including the addition of music and captions. While not conventionally designed with family historians in mind, there are opportunities to capture shared memories such as anniversaries, holidays and more.
Another site that may interest you is called Weeva. They specialize in creating books, but you can join for free and upload memories, photos and copies of recipes or stories as you work to create your story. You can choose a theme that reflects the type of book you are creating. You then could have others from your family have access to your book, and they can add additional stories, photos, and memories. Then if you decide to have a printed book created, Weeva will take your material and create a book for you. They have their prices and publication information available. It is an interesting concept if you don’t want to do the editing etc yourself.
Once you have gathered the family stories and memories, if you are interested in a book option, you can also explore offerings from some of the major genealogy sites such as MyCanvas (linked on Ancestry). Explore to see what is available and is the best option for your project.
If you are wondering what to ask your family. StoryTerrace has some good ideas to trigger memories and ways to capture them. ThoughtCo also has this article ‘50 Questions to Ask Relatives by Family History’ by Kimberly Powell. The key is to not inundate people with awkward or a barrage of questions while they are eating their Christmas dinner. Instead, just ask a couple to the family and capture their answers. If you cannot be together in person, try email or Zoom or one of the other technologies to connect.
I hope you make wonderful memories this Holiday Season and share them with your family and friends. Happy reminiscing!
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.