Are you going to take this Thanksgiving for granted?
On a day filled with delicious food, fantastic parades and great football games, it's easy to forget the true meaning of the holiday. Of course, Thanksgiving is the day we give thanks for all that's good in our lives - and we hope there is plenty for you to be thankful for!
But it's no coincidence that we traditionally spend Thanksgiving with our families. As we gather around the table to give thanks, we should be especially thankful that this holiday brings us together with our closest loved ones.
In this age of distractions, what can we do to ensure our Thanksgiving gathering really brings our family closer together?
Now is the perfect time to start your Family History journey
For many families, Thanksgiving is the only time of the year that everyone is in the same place. And as we all know, things can change a lot in a year - people pass away, move to other states, or even fall out of touch. Of course, we hope that your family stays connected year to year, but there's no time like the present to connect with your loved ones by preserving your family history.
Though we think of our family in immediate, present terms, family is also a thread that connects people through time. Your family is more than just those that you're around on Thanksgiving - past generations have contributed immensely to who you are today, and that chain will continue indefinitely into the future.
So many families today struggle to find their identity because they just don't know where they came from.
If you don't know where you came from, it's hard to figure out why you are where you are, and it's impossible to determine where you're going.
Sometimes it can be a struggle to find something in common with your relatives, but family history is one thing that can open up that reserved uncle or a quiet aunt.
When we're all together, the conversations can really get interesting
If you're a seasoned family history researcher, what better time than Thanksgiving to show off your handy-work to the people that matter most? And if you're new and are looking to get started, you absolutely must take advantage of all the key players being located in the same place. There is still plenty of time to begin some family research right now so you can bring the results with you next Thursday.
Not only will you impress family members, you'll kick-start conversations and stories that teach you tons about your own past. You'll come away with more information to build off of, and a better idea of who you really are.
Even if you've never looked into your family history before, come to Thanksgiving with something to show off. Your family will be touched that you made the effort and the stories it prompts them to share will help you keep your research going.
Here is a nice collection of resources to help you in your hunt for family history over the next week:
Advice straight from our genealogy experts:
What the census can tell you: Census records are perhaps the best place to jump off your family history research.
Searching passenger lists to find our immigrant ancestors: Bringing evidence of your first family member to set foot on American soil will be a touching discovery to share with your family.
Tracing the lives of women during World War II: Many families know the contributions of their male ancestors who were part of the "greatest generation", but what about the women? Discovering the story of the female members of your family during World War II can be an inspiration to the women in your family.
Books, periodicals and almanacs: Alternate sources for Family History research: Once you've sifted through the standard genealogical records (census, birth/death records, marriage records, etc) it's time to expand your search and begin to color in the lines that you've drawn.
Breaking down brick walls: At some point in your family history research, you're bound to encounter a "brick wall" -- a seemingly impossible end to any information about an ancestor or family line. Don't be discouraged! They can be broken down with some savvy know-how, and boy is it satisfying to smash on through!
10 fantastic resources for family history education: If you're feeling a bit lost and want some help getting started, check out these resources to help you brush up on your skills or introduce you to best practices.