Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twilight to New Moon…How does your family fit in?

Twilight to New Moon? What does that have to do with family history? Well, take a mini-break from plowing through your family photos. Consider how you can encourage the next generation to understand family history.
First, you need to talk their language. And what better way than to use one of the icons of teen life, that is, the Twilight saga.

Everywhere you look this holiday season, you see the books, the commercials and the movies of the Twilight saga.

Whether you or your teen are Team Jacob or Team Edward, you can bring the Twilight experience closer to your own family without putting any lives at risk. Here’s how.

My favorite part of the saga is when Jacob tells the stories and legends of the Quileute tribe. Storytelling is not unique to Jacob’s family. Oral traditions are the basis of family history from the beginning of time. What is unique about his family’s tale is that it explains how Jacob became Jacob.

We can learn about our own family by using some of these same techniques. And, the holidays create the perfect atmosphere to uncover your own family’s legends. As relatives gather together, you can be the catalyst for igniting the conversation about your family’s history. Sit with some of the oldest family members, perhaps a grandparent or aunt or uncle. Make sure they are at ease and comfortable. Most will be delighted to talk with you and you can guide their stories with your questions. Just ask a few of these thought-starters below and you can learn more about your family than you ever realized.

*What is your very first memory?
*What was Christmas like when you were a child? How did your family celebrate?
*What was the best present you ever received at Christmas? Why?
*Tell me about your grandparents. Where did they live? What were their jobs?
*What was a typical day like for you as a child?
*What was my Mom/Dad like as a child?
*What do you remember about the day I was born?

There are many, many more questions you can use. Be sure to ask good follow-up questions to gain a better understanding. Don’t forget to say “Why?” to flesh out details which may have been forgotten.

Jacob understands the value of his family’s history and he keeps the history alive by sharing it. You can do the same thing. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where your family has been. And, most important of all, your family history tells the story of how you became you.

Now get back to plowing through your photos, email the best one to, and you might win two tickets to the Mesa Family History Expo. Perhaps you can take someone from the Twilight generation with you. Or, register now to be sure you attend at

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