Do you remember in Coco when he meets all of his family members who had passed away and they talk about how important it is for their ancestors to remember them? With the advent of ancestry.com and other DNA tracking tests, some people are really into chasing down their relatives and learning about their genealogy. Having been named after my nine-greats grandmother, I never had the opportunity to NOT know who I was descended from – but not everyone is into that kind of thing. Even if you’re not looking to meet your cousins sixth-removed, here are some fun ideas to help you and your family connect with your past:
Look at photos of your ancestors. Pull out the old black and whites of serious-looking folks and see if you can find the family resemblance. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find silly snapshots of people you only vaguely remember – I love a photo of my Grandfather from his military days, goofing off by showing bare legs with some of his buddies. It makes me laugh and remember his warm and silly sense of humor. Even those you never knew can be an interesting window into your family’s past.
Ask for different perspectives on the old family stories. You know the stories, the ones you tell every Thanksgiving. Or the one you’ve heard from the same person a million times. Only this time, ask someone else who was there to tell the story from their perspective. It’s amazing how, “Dad, I’ve heard from Mom a million times how you proposed, but how do you remember it?” can lead to some very interesting conversations! Also, as much as you roll your eyes when someone starts telling the stories, they are a great way to reconnect and remember who you are as a family unit!
Make a connection. Ok, the people in those photos are wearing weird outfits and strange hairstyles, and they look so stodgy. Why would a teenager have any interest in learning about her great-great-aunt? Well, maybe they share a love of horses! Or stodgy old great-great-aunt was very popular with the gentlemen and went on a date with a different guy every night, and turned down eight proposals before she married great-great-uncle? Now, that’s an interesting story!
How can you make a connection between the past and the present for your family? Do you think it’s important to remember long-passed ancestors? Share your thoughts with us!