Another year has passed, and Thanksgiving is once again upon us. It is a time for gathering with families of birth and families of choice to share and reflect on times past, and to enjoy and make new memories for the future. Holidays like this are an opportune time to share your genealogical research, and to pry more information from the memories of family members.
In addition to the specific genealogical questions (e.g., where was great-grandmother born?), take the time to gather information that will help you understand the stories of your family better. Here are some questions to ask family members when you are gathered around the table:
- What is the first Thanksgiving that you remember?
- How did you celebrate Thanksgiving as a child?
- Where did you spend the holiday? Your house? Your grandparents’ house? Other places?
- What foods did they serve?
- Was there any special traditional food handed down through the family? [see this week’s survey question below].
- How did you celebrate your first Thanksgiving together after you were married/started living together?
Every year at Thanksgiving I think back on all that has occurred in the last twelve months; how things have changed and what I have learned. There are so many things I am grateful for:
- My colleagues and friends in the United Kingdom and in Canada who have helped me with my research, and taught me new skills;
- The participants in NEHGS education programs, who listened and learned how to break down brick walls, and who challenged me to improve my own skills as I helped them find new resources;
- The people who work in the genealogy field, who have brought incredible new electronic resources, books, software, programming, and other tools to help us in our research;
- The people at NGS and FGS who put on massive national conferences, each year improving up on the last;
- My colleagues and friends at NEHGS, working together to help each other and our members, sometimes frenetic, sometimes laughing, sometimes pulling our hair out, and always appreciating the way we help each other;
- The readers of eNews and The Weekly Genealogist, who have provided so much constructive and positive feedback, and make the work worthwhile;
- Most importantly, I am grateful to my family and friends who support me in this crazy field of genealogy where I have been working for so long (even when they don’t understand why I’m so obsessed with dead people).
To each and every one of you, I say thank you for what you have brought to me this year. Enjoy the holiday, and pick up lots of good genealogy information this weekend!