Family photos carry more importance than just being snapshots stashed in a drawer and never looked at again. All your pictures, including portraits taken by professional photographers, the spontaneous pictures shot during a family trip, and those pictures capturing fun and special moments in the home, should be valued because they are a vital part of your family history.
Reasons to Keep Track of Your Family History
You need to keep track of your family history for several reasons. A very practical reason for having adequate knowledge of your family history is that it can help explain any medical issues that may run in the family. Another reason is you can maintain links to your living relatives. It also lets you have a connection with relatives who have already passed on. Knowing your family history gives you a sense of identity and a sense of belongingness. It is this focus on the family history and shared events that glues the family together. Life is so much better when shared with your loved ones.
Ways to Keep Track of Your Family History
Information about family history has been passed down traditionally through oral stories told by one generation to the next. The unreliability of this method cannot be denied. Stories are bound to change as they are delivered from person to person. The sad part is when the stories are forgotten or they stop being passed down to the next.
Sometimes, you just cannot establish an accurate account of your family history several generations back. However, you can start preserving your family history today so at least the future generations will have something concrete to look back to. With the use of computers and the Internet, you will not have difficulty in maintaining a comprehensive record of your family history. The best way to do this is to build a family website. There are many online provides specializing in family websites, which you can easily find by doing a search in your favorite search engine.
With the help of a genealogy software, you can build your family tree and make it available on your family website. Large families spread all over the country or around the world will find having an online family tree most ideal, especially if each family member can add the necessary branches by themselves by logging in on the family website.
If you want to preserve a more complete family history, you will need more than a family tree, such as putting a face to the names. This is where you need those family photos to bring life to your family history. You can create a photo gallery at the family website and upload photos of family members. With this photo sharing capability, family members can access the family website anytime they wish to view the family photo album, and download and print any picture they may fancy. Additionally, you can upload family video clips on your family website so future generations can hear their ancestors and watch them in action.
Other than the family tree and photos, do include a narrative account of the family history on the family website. Be sure to feature your family crest, if your family has one. If your family does not have a family crest, consider conceptualizing one and introducing it on the family website. Bring your family history further to life by adding journal entries written by you and other family members. Accompany photos of family vacations, family reunions and other family get-togethers with personal accounts. If you want these pages to remain private, you can restrict access to your family members only by enabling the “password protect” feature of your family website.
How to Get the Young Ones Interested in their Family History
By nature, man starts looking for his roots only when he gets older. This means that you cannot really expect the younger people in your family to care much about preserving your family history. Fortunately, there is a way to get the young ones involved. You can tap into their already existing interest in computers. The Internet is their world; it is their primary means of communication. Therefore, the family website would not sound so weird when you talk to them about it and you can get them interested in your current genealogy research.
As the younger set use the family chat rooms and share photos with other family members, they are actually helping preserve the family history without giving much thought to it. In addition, a family website gives the younger family members opportunity to feel closer to their relatives as it unconsciously helps them learn the value of family and togetherness.
Preserving family history the conventional way will never get any easier; it is too common to misplace baby pictures, souvenirs from family travels and other important photos. What’s more, oral records of family history can either be incomplete or exaggerated; you cannot really rely on them. On the other hand, a family website with its many features can give you the assurance that your family history will be preserved “as is” for future generations.