The 4th of July is a time when friends families gather together to BBQ, watch fireworks, and good summertime fun. We celebrate and remember the sacrifice and service of those who fought for the freedoms we have today. On this historical day of fun, don't miss an opportunity to discuss family history! It's so easy, just start asking questions! You will most likely find your grandparent, aunt, or whomever will be very forthcoming with anecdotes and details. I find when I start a conversation with anyone about genealogy and family history they share their token family story or famous ancestor. You might think you've heard all the stories, but you never know who might have a new twist or different side of the story!
1. Take notes and retype them TONIGHT! Don't wait too long.
2. Email the notes from your discussion to those who gave it to you to make sure your notes are accurate. This not only helps fix mistakes, but could spark new forgotten details.
3. Ask if anyone with old family pictures would be willing to send you digital copies.
4. Record your conversation if you can, hard to write down or remember every detail
5. Have an Ipad, laptop, or smart phone? You can start building a tree on Ancestry.com with the family all gathered around the table.
Make sure your family knows you are interested and want to learn more. Hopefully this will inspire them to go home and look for this documents and pictures they have! You will be amazed at the random and amazing "old" things people save but never look at.
I am en route to Philadelphia to celebrate the 2011 4th of July with my college roommate Lindsay. A first time celebrating such an occasion in Philly. I hope you have a safe and happy holiday!! If you chat up the family, I'd love to hear any new or interesting things you learn!