Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent Calendar - December 17: The Family Journal

This is the 17th of 24 posts for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.  This is a "Grab Bag" post - one I choose to post.

On the 8th day before Christmas,
I sent to all my relatives
this year's Family Journal.

1) What helps you remember Christmases past?

My Christmas gift to my cousins, brothers and children is a 16 page (usually) family journal, called the "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal." This is my 24th year of doing this family journal. I end up sending about 20 copies out every year to the extended family. This is my way of "connecting" to my extended family and sharing some of my family history research.

Fred Seaver and Bessie Richmond married in 1900 in Leominster MA and had seven children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood and married, five of whom had a total of 11 children. This family line is 3/4 New England colonial immigrant (Seaver, Hildreth and White), and 1/4 English immigrant (Richman/Richmond, immigrated in 1855).

The content of my family journal has changed over time. I used to print more lines of descent from famous or notable people, and more lines from immigrant ancestors to my grandparents generation. However, I ran out of these types of articles several years ago - I had covered all of the family lines with 5-generations or more.

In recent years, I've added more family photos - both of the older generations and the new generations - young families with babies and the like. I've also written more memorials as the aunts and uncles have died.

This year, the Table of Contents looks like:

* 2011 Family Search - page 1
* What's Inside? - page 1
* Seaver/Richmond Ancestry on the Internet - page 2
* Online Genealogy Record Collections
* Seaver Family Photographs from Aunt Gerry's Collection - pages 3 and 4
* Geraldine (Seaver) Remley's Autobiography - Part 4 - pages 5-7
* Finding the Parents of Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith (1791-1869) - page 8

*  The Ahnentafel of Elizabeth Horton Dill - pages 9-10
*  Immigrant Ancestors - William Brewster (1567-1644) of Plymouth - pages 11-12
*  Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File - pages 13-15
* Famous Cousins Descended from William Brewster - page 16
* Finis - page 16

The production process is pretty simple. I use last year's MSWord document as a template - but delete the content and save it as a new document. Then I add content over a 7 to 10 day period, based on family papers and photographs, material from my blog, the Internet or my genealogy databases. When the content is completed, then I print off 25 copies (16 pages, in color, two-sided). I save it also as a PDF file to put on CDROMs to give to family members who want one.

It's funny - even though I ask the family for pictures and stories, either by snail mail, email or in person, I never receive anything from them. Maybe they are bored by it all; maybe it slips their mind or they think they don't have anything to contribute. I do get compliments in the Christmas cards I receive, so I think they appreciate the effort.

I sent the Family Journal, along with our family Christmas letter, off to my brothers and the cousins yesterday. I have copies at home for  my daughters and will gift them with it when we see them to celebrate Christmas. Hopefully, we will share stories and memories of our parents and grandparents.


Lauri said...

I love this idea. I do the genealogy for the family and it doesn't seem like many care. This is a nice idea, if nothing else to tell myself what I accomplished for the year.

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

That's a wonderful tradition.