Saturday, April 14, 2007

SDGS Speaker - Family Newsletters

The second half of the San Diego Genealogical Society program today was Mary M. Card on "Writing and Publishing a Family Newsletter." Mary started her newsletter "Card Chronicles" 11 years ago after the attendance at the family reunion back in Hope, Michigan (started in 1935) began to dwindle - apparently because nobody knew who was related to who. She publishes 6 pages twice a year and features mainly family news with some history of the Card ancestors up to Leander Card. The target audience is the descendants of her grandfather, Leander Card, who had 11 children. Mary sends out about 140 newsletters each issue.

Mary listed a number of items that she tries to include in her family newsletter:

* Births
* Deaths
* Marriages
* Anniversaries
" Adoptions
* Graduations
* Military service
* Reunion notes - past and present
* Memories of people
* Recipes
* Items of historical interest
* Family History of ancestors
* Tidbits of info about family members

She also listed items that she does not include:

* Engagements
* Divorces
* Criminal activities or sentences
* Rumors, speculation or unproven stories.

Mary contacts key members of her extended family to gather the news before each issue.

Mary's talk was interesting and humorous - she told several stories about her experiences with the items that she does not include. She said that she is preserving the newsletter by putting copies on the library shelves in the Michigan home town.

I share the first three generations of Mary's Card ancestry - Richard Card who settled in colonial Rhode Island, Job Card I and Job Card II. My Phoebe Card was the daughter of Job Card II and married Elijah Champlin. Mary's Leander Card was a 7th generation descendant of Richard Card. so that makes Mary probably my 6th cousin or thereabouts (Job II and Judith (Greenman) Card are probably our Most Recent Common Ancestor).

Programs like this are important in the life of any genealogy society - it's a great example of what a society member has done to preserve and enhance her ancestral knowledge while creating a family bond. Writing a family newsletter can seem like a burden and a chore - Mary made it sound fun and definitely a labor of love.

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