Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advent Calendar - Day 8: The Family Journal

On the 8th day of 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 22nd 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:

* 2009 Family Search - page 1
* What's Inside? - page 1
* The Ancestry of Fred and Bessie (Richmond) Seaver Book Project - page 2
* Seaver-Richmond Ancestry on the Internet - page 2
* Seaver Y-Chromosome DNA Tests
* Seaver Family Photographs from Aunt Gerry's Collection - pages 3 and 4
* Geraldine (Seaver) Remley's Autobiography - Part 2 - pages 5-7
* Immigrant Ancestors - Giles Slocum (1623-1683) of Portsmouth RI - pages 11, 12
* Immigrant Ancestors - Simon Stone (1586-1665) of Watertown MA - pages 13, 14
* Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) of Leominster, Massachusetts - pages 8-10
* The Blanchard Cousins of California - page 11
* Immigrant Ancestors - William Carpenter (1605-1659) of Rehoboth, Mass. - pages 12-13
* Newspaper Articles - pages 14-16
* 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 the cousins last Monday. I have copies at home for my brother, my niece and 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.

1 comment:

Mel said...

What an amazing effort! I am sure your relatives appreciate it.

I do a 4 page Pacheco-de Braga family events and genealogy research newsletter. I run into a similar as you. I need people to send me their family happenings (birth, deaths, new jobs, marriages, etc.) but many don't respond unless I hound them repeatedly. I suspect it's because they don't feel their life is interesting enough to share with the family. --Keep up the good bloggin'!