While cooling off in my comfortable air-conditioned home, I wonder what summer was like for my ancestors. How did they attempt to keep cool during intense heat waves without the modern advancements we enjoy? How did they make the most of their summers?
During summer vacations, many parents scramble to find fun and enjoyable things for their children to do and keep them occupied. For many children, the beginning of September means the sad end to their summers.
Most people find they have more time for hobbies and interests during the summer than the rest of the year. Perhaps it's the long days and nice weather that give us more energy to broaden our horizons and inspire our creativity.
Whatever the reason, summer is a great time to focus on family history research and unlock new clues into your family's past.
Here are nine ways to ramp up your family history research and make the most of those long summer days:
1. Spend quality time with family: Close or far, it's important to strengthen family bonds. Encourage sharing memories, photos and family heirlooms. Use the MyHeritage Mobile App to add photos while you're on-the-go.
Long summer days are the perfect time for family gatherings and a great opportunity to ask questions of relatives to discover more about your family heritage.
Here are some hints and tips for furthering your family history research this summer:
1. Visit close family members. Encourage the younger generation to record relatives' stories and anecdotes to learn about earlier generations and preserve those memories for future generations.
2. Plan a vacation to meet distant family members. Come prepared with questions about their branch of the family and use the MyHeritage Mobile App to fill in gaps in your family tree and to add photos while you're on-the-go.
Summer is a perfect opportunity to dig out your stash of old family photos and get children interested in their own family history.
A fun activity to help fill time during the school break, learning about family heritage is an excellent way to bond and do something meaningful with the younger generation.
As part of our “Treasure Family Photos” initiative, here are some fun ways to get creative with those old family photos to make beautiful additions to your home that showcase your family legacy.
Photo Time Capsule
A photo in a jar creates a time capsule. In a jar, get the kids to add some of their small personal items that remind them of family fun times such as movie stubs, notes and souvenirs from family vacations.
Once all the "memories" are added to the jar, put in a recent family photo and close the jar. Choose to display it on a shelf or bury it in the yard with instructions to not open it for at least 10 years and look forward to the memories you’ll look back to!
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) blog - The Weekly Genealogist - posts an interesting survey each week.
A recent post focused on the genealogy summer plans of its readers.
MyHeritage would also like to know about your summer plans. Will you visit your family's ancestral homes? Interview senior relatives? Attend a gen conference?
In the US, ice cream is a popular go-to choice, while some like nothing better than a well-chilled slice of juicy, sweet watermelon, or even an ice-cold beer.
Elsewhere, people prefer foods with their own heat - hot, hot peppers - and claim adding that heat makes them feel cooler!
A favorite Persian drink is sharbat, made with fruit syrup mixed with water and served in a tall glass filled with ice. My favorite is sour-cherry, although there are many others, including rose. And you will likely connect the word sharbat to today’s ice confection called sherbert.
So take a few minutes, think back to what you ate or drank to keep cool this summer. Did your parents or grandparents have other favorite beat-the-heat remedies?
Share your comments below.
Our very own US genealogy adviser, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, coined a wonderful term: genea-journey.
What is a genea-journey?
A genea-journey could describe a journey to research your family history and discover new relatives and information about them, or it could be an actual physical trip to the places your ancestors lived.
Whether it is a journey confined to books, archives, online websites or family interviews, or a journey "home," the goal is the same: Learning more about your family.
The summer months are prime time for pursuing such hobbies, or going on vacations. Have you taken a genea-journey this summer? Or, are you now planning one for the future? Where has your genea-journey taken you in the past?
Let us know by answering the poll below.
Aaron wrote this post from the UK where, after what's been called the wettest June in a century, he reports that it looks like summer has finally arrived!
Summer's a great time for meeting up with friends and family. Many of us have relatives scattered in a specific country, if not abroad. When summer comes, it provides an opportunity to reconnect and get together with family.
If we have school-age children, we tend to use some the summer holidays to reconnect with family.
When the family gets together - especially for extended time - it's a great opportunity to informally discuss family history.
We can help by bringing out old family photo albums and scrapbooks. We can encourage senior relatives to share their stories and memories.
These activities can inspire the younger generations to investigate their family history.
Are you planning to organize or attend a family reunion this summer? Tell us more in the comments section below.
Although the summer is now coming to an abrupt end, it’s nice to reminisce about summers spent with our families throughout the years. We all have fond memories, but those that tend to evoke the most vivid recollection are usually set in summer. And this should come as no surprise really, given that even a glimmer of sunshine is excuse enough to don sunglasses, flip-flops and shorts - we’re mad about the summer and even more determined when it comes to the summer holidays with the family.
For example, I remember being pushed around the back garden of my family home in what could only be described as a mini plastic police car. My sister, then eight and myself five years old, insisted that whilst the family barbecue was heating up we would explore the garden in the searing summer heat. That very day was my initiation into the wonderful world of sunburn.