Journals and diaries are excellent resources for family history research.
Don't you wish your ancestors had recorded their daily lives and thoughts in a format that has come down to you as a treasured keepsake through the centuries?
I know someone whose ancestor left a journal written several hundred years ago. The writer describes the family's everyday life in difficult new surroundings, how they celebrated holidays, the writer's wishes for her descendants far in the future and much more. It is as if the writer knew it would be treasured and passed down through the generations, as it has been. It is a priceless heirloom.
Put yourself in the shoes of a great-grandchild who finds your journal. What do you think will interest him or her? What is happening in your life now that you want future generations to know about? Do you want to include advice for future generations?
Many of our most special memories come from spending time with our families over the holidays.
We remember the dinners, gifts, songs and jokes we shared. Wonderful testimonials to these unique moments are the photos we will treasure for ever.
The MyHeritage team
As genealogists, we're always fascinated when we discover artifacts that belonged to our ancestors, whether it is the actual heirloom, or an image of it.
Sometimes the artifacts have been passed down through the generations; sometimes, we see them only in photographs.
Until now, this concept has been something in the realm of science fiction. However, industrial designer Tanya Damm Bokobza, the founder of morphe.us.com, is developing a web platform that will allow the use of 3D modeling and printing processes to help people put the pieces of family history back together - literally.
She shared with us an example of what can be done.
Gifts come in many forms, so think of sharing family history as a gift to your family.
Wake Forest University professor of counseling Samuel Gladding and his family have "halls of remembrance" in their home. Every year since they were married, he and his wife, Claire, have created picture collages highlighting that year with snapshots of trips, sports, plays and family outings.
He shared his views here.
Author of several family counseling books, the professor says that sharing family history
... strengthens individuals and it strengthens families. If you know the past, you are much more likely to benefit from it and be inspired or determined to make the future better or at least as good as the past.
When families gather for the holidays, Gladding says it can be the perfect opportunity to share family stories that will benefit younger and older generations.
There are benefits for both younger and older generations.
Whether it was "Leave It To Beaver," "The Cosby Show," "The Brady Bunch" or one of many other sitcoms, past or present, that revolve around family life, the wonderful thing about those shows is how they represented the society and culture of the time.
When I was growing up, a favourite TV family were the Keatons of Family Ties.
I'm not sure why I liked them more than the others - perhaps they fit in better with my middle class understanding of the world in which I grew up - but watching that show was a weekly pleasure for many years.