Did you know that family history is the 8th most popular thing that people are doing / or would like to do during lockdown?
I hope you find some of the suggestions below useful and fun.
1 – Sort out family photographs
If you’re like me you probably have albums or boxes of old photographs sitting in a cupboard somewhere. Now is an ideal time to have a clear out, work out which ones you want to keep and to label them (who they are, where they were taken etc).
This can bring back lots of happy memories.
You could also do a video conference and ask/show your older relatives some of them and get them to tell you their memories (and note them down).
It’s also an opportunity to do something with your children. They’d love to see photos of you as a child or potentially embarrassing ones as a teenager (This is me and some of my family in the 1970s. Interesting clothes and hair!)
2 – Scan family photographs
Once you’ve sorted the photos I recommend scanning them. Scan the backs too if there are any notes. I also recommend renaming the scanned photos giving details of what they are (who is in it, where it is, what it is etc.)
Saving them into folders by family / people enables you to find them easily in the future.
3 – Sort out family papers
Some time ago I bought some large plastic boxes (thank you Jeremy’s Home Store) and sorted the paperwork within into different family lines/different people. I have used plastic wallets and paper envelopes.
For example, I have a box for any research/paperwork/papers for my Scottish ancestors (my mother is Scottish).
Within this I have an envelope for her, my parents wedding, one each for her parents and separate folders for other Scottish family lines and places they lived (my grandfather was a tea planter and my mother was born in India).
The envelopes and folders contain photos, family trees, notes on discussions and legal papers etc.
4 – Interview older relatives
Now is an ideal time to ask older relatives about the family. Who do they remember? Where did they visit?
I did this with my great aunt Frieda about 20 years ago. We went through the photo albums and told me who they were and I pencilled the names next to the photos. She told me about visiting her grandmother in the big house in Middlesex. Her grandmother was crippled with arthritis and being looked after by her daughter in law. Her grandfather was kicked by an elephant in India, called ‘Parpie’ by his grandchildren. He was an excitable person and they liked him more than their grandmother. Little gems that I wouldn’t have found out any other way.
The health aspect is also interesting. I have a table where I am recording details of what illnesses/conditions people had as a lot of these can be inherited.
5 – Create a family photo book
I created an 80th birthday present for my aunt Jane. It had photos of her as a child, with her siblings and parents. Plus her own children and grandchildren. I used Blurb but there are loads of other ways of doing this.
This then could be a family heirloom to pass down the generations.
What other suggestions to do you have? Please share them with us…