Make Use of Family Reunions and Holidays.

Summer is often the time for family reunions; it’s when we may catch up on news and old stories someone else knew in our family and they often make us laugh. You could easily use a family reunion to ask a relative about some past events or people you feel you should know better. You may also find out more when you stay with a relative. Speaking to an older relative in particular might be rewarding

So, I’m suggesting to you– ask your older relatives while they are still around. I found out so much later from censuses and wish I’d known to ask about the people shown there. For instance, I thought my father was one of two children and then I discovered that his father had first been married to another woman who had given him four children and died in childbirth in 1884. It took my grandfather 6 years to find another wife, my grandmother, to care for his young children. His oldest may have been about 16 when my father was born so maybe they did not know each other. I wish we’d had a family reunion at which I could have met these four older siblings when I was much younger.

When I was on holiday in Wales 3 years ago, I met a second cousin and discovered loads of information about my grandmother’s sister. I saw that pictures of her children revealed likenesses to my mother’s sisters. It was an exciting find. The stories I was told too confirmed how hard life was in the early 20th century for miners’ families.

Through my interest in genealogy, I met a third cousin in USA. We corresponded for a while and I was given pictures of her grandfather, my paternal grandmother’s brother. It could have been my own father- the same shape face and just as small strays of hair left. I not only discovered how adventurous my great uncle was in coming to America with two other brothers, I also met my new cousin. Later I had a holiday with her and her husband in Florida. That correspondence has been a source of joy then and now. You never know what might happen if you follow through an interest in your family.

I wish you success and fun in discovering more family stories this summer. Summer is certainly a time to cement family bonds and learn facts and stories that can add to your own life story writing.

4 Comments on “Make Use of Family Reunions and Holidays.

  1. Hi Jane, what a coincidence! I too just had a bench mark birthday and met with several family members recently. One cousin gave me a letter she received from a cousin in Ireland with whom she had been corresponding with over the years. I knew of this cousin but she was just a name to me. I intend to write to her and send her Wilma’s book and tell her my side of the Canadian family.
    Last Saturday my daughter and her cousin put together a family reunion which was held at my place. Nieces, nephews and cousins as well as my children and their children.
    I had a good talk with my eldest cousin who is 93 and she told me things about my parents I never knew. I intend to visit her with my recorder soon and get as much information as possible.
    Thanks for prompt. Jim

  2. This is such good advice. I am working on a memoir of my father-in-law, who served in the Soviet Red Army in World War Two,then after the war literally walked out of the Soviet zone of control to make his way to Canada. He passed away seven years ago, and while I spoke with him a lot about his memories and have copious notes, it’s still difficult to write this.

    It’s essential to gather the information while the subject is still alive, obviously; but the exercise brings you closer to your family and teaches you so much about yourself, while enriching and deepening all your relationships.

    1. Thank you, Scott. I am pleased to hear from you. We can learn from each other. At 75 years of age, I am still writing other people’s life stories and know I should be working more on my own!

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