Start Spreading The News: Family Newsletters
There is considerable information available relevant to securing knowledge about the past, but what about the present and making sure you are recording current events for future remembrance. Incidental details of family occasions, events, and accomplishments will be the source of enjoyable family memories in years to come.
As you expand the narrative of sharing the family history and genealogy, consider creating a newsletter that not only informs everyone what you are discovering about the past but spreads the word about what’s happening here and now with family members. It’s also a great way to introduce family members to other relations they might otherwise not know.
In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to create a family newsletter that announces births, anniversaries, and shares family tidbits that eventually will become the stories of the past. They will become the archives and memories that are time capsules for future generations.
A family newsletter does not need to be overly complicated or excessive. Writing a quarterly bulletin of two to three pages should suffice. It can announce births, new jobs, retirements, engagements – anything of interest or anything a family member wishes to share. Set up guidelines for family members to follow and make it easy for them to contribute stories. Be sure to let them know the:
Length of articles or topics
Rules regarding sensitive material or content
Use of pictures
Sections of the newsletter that are pertinent to specific groups such as a youth section
Other Things to Consider:
Determine if you will have rotating editors, or if it will be one person’s responsibility. Sharing the work gives the newsletter a higher probability of sustainability.
Begin the first edition with the family history and invite members to contribute by tracing their lineage to the first ancestors you trace your family to.
Ask those who receive the newsletter to make others in the family aware of its existence so that you can engage as many family members as possible in articles and information.
Periodically, publish a single-topic issue that everyone can contribute to such as identifying a favorite relative or ancestor and writing why that person is their choice. Use this as a teachable moment about family lore.
Remember the non-tech family members. If you send your newsletter electronically, be sure to have hard copies for those seniors who are not computer savvy.
Consider a feature story about a family member and his or recent accomplishments, particularly the youth.
Engage the younger generations in the Newsletter. One sure way to get them interested in family history is to demonstrate how they are a part of the story and will one day be the ancestors about whom future generations will write.
The most important thing to remember is that nothing is too trivial to share or celebrate. At its core, our family is where our story begins, and it is a story worth preserving and sharing.