World Family History Day
May 15th is World Family History Day (WFHD)
World Family History Day (WFHD) is celebrated by family organizations who encourage their members to discover and post new information about their ancestors and deceased relatives, and by family history centers, historical societies, educational institutions and genealogical companies who encourage their patrons to participate in family history activities on or about May 15th each year.
Today millions of people worldwide research and share their family history. Discovering family connections and history brings meaning and understanding into people’s lives. As stated in 1966 by the Genealogical Society of Utah: "In discovering ancestors, individuals seem to discover themselves and are better able to define their own goals and know what they want and expect out of life."
Family organizations celebrate WFHD through the following ways: holding an indexing challenge between individuals or family organizations; using available apps to photograph and upload photos of headstones in cemeteries not yet documented; scanning and digitizing old family photos and documents and uploading them to public databases; starting a history about a parent, grandparent or ancestor; organizing a volunteer effort at a local courthouse to index or digitize appropriate stored records; holding a fund raising activity and donating proceeds to a family organization for research purposes; or holding a worldwide video conference where selected individuals share a story about an ancestor or an interesting event in an ancestor's life.
History of World Family History Day (WFHD)
In January 2017, LDSAFA officers suggested that a World Family History Day (WFHD) be observed and celebrated worldwide. On November 1, 2017, LDSAFA officers and member organizations declared every May 15th as World Family History Day (WFHD), which is the same day that the United Nations observes its International Day of Families.
During the 2018 RootsTech Conference, which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, between February 28 - March 3, 2018, LDSAFA encouraged family organizations, family history centers, historical societies, educational institutions and genealogical companies to celebrate World Family History Day by encourage their patrons to participate in family history activities on or about May 15th each year.
It’s World Family History Day! World Family History Day is celebrated on on May 15 of each year and it falls on the same day that the United Nations observes its International Day of Families. This is the perfect day to dive into your genealogy research and share with your relatives all of the amazing things you have uncovered about your family history.
In honor of World Family History Day, check out our list of fun ways you can make the most out of the day:
1. Interview Relatives
Your greatest resource of family history information are your relatives. Make an appointment to interview your relatives now before it is too late. Once a relative has passed away, an entire library of information vanishes with them. Take a moment to talk to your relatives about what they know about your family history, especially your older relatives, and record their memories so future generations can share in them too. Check out some tips on how to conduct family history interviews.
2. Work on Your Family Tree
Have you made time to work on your family tree on Geni? Many times when building our trees, we tend to quickly add information and relatives to the tree and forget to add more details to their profiles. Take some time to add more details to each of your relative’s Geni profiles to share with your relatives a more complete view of who your ancestors were and what they may have experienced. You can fill out the About sections with a short biography or add and expand on important life events in their Timeline.
3. Visit the graves of your ancestors
Visit the graves of your ancestors or take a walk in a local cemetery. Plan to take some photographs of your family’s gravestones, which can hold important information or clues for further research. You can also make some time to photograph surrounding gravestones with apps such as the BillionGraves app, so that you can share your discoveries with other family history researchers. Your picture could very well be a vital piece of someone else’s genealogy research.
4. Get your relatives to take a DNA test
If you have already taken a DNA test for genealogy, you may want to reach out to your relatives to see if they would be willing to take a DNA test too. DNA testing is an informative complement to traditional genealogy research. It can help confirm your paper trail or reveal a surprising or unexpected discovery. Once you and your relatives have your results, upload them to Geni!
5. Digitize and share old family photos
Do you have a box of old family photographs sitting in a closet? Now may be a good time to scan those photos into your computer. Not only will you be able to have a digital copy of these precious family mementos, but you will also be able to easily share them with members of your family. Pictures always help bring family history research to life, so remember to upload those photos to your relatives’ profiles that way all of your relatives can put a face to a name and share stories and memories with each other.
6. Visit someplace important to your family history
Genealogy field trips are a great way to engage relatives in your family history. If there are locations that had significance in the lives of your ancestors that are local to your area, plan to bring some family members on a visit. It could be a school, the location of a former business, or even the old family homestead. Share stories about what you know about your family’s connection to that location. And don’t forget to take photos of the places you visit!
7. Plan a family meal with old recipes
Nothing beats home cooking! Plan a meal with your entire family that consists entirely of old family recipes. Dive into those old family cookbooks to see what meals may work best. Try to choose dishes that will evoke family memories that you can all chat about while you eat.
8. Get your kids excited with fun activities
Create fun activities with your kids to get them excited about your family history. Plan arts and craft activities, such as drawing the family tree, or get them talking to older relatives by having the kids do family history interviews, World Family History Day is the perfect opportunity to ignite your children’s interest in genealogy.
9. Document your research
Have you taken time to cite your sources? Documentation is very important to family history research. If you are building your family tree on Geni, go back and make sure you have added all of your sources to the tree. You may even want to take a second look at any documentation you have found. You never know if you missed something the first time around!
10. Share, share, share
Share what you have discovered with others! Invite your family to Geni, so they can see all of the amazing work you have done to find and preserve your family history! Perhaps they may be inspired to dive in and help, too.
Additional Activities for Families on World Family History Day
World Family History Day (WFHD) is celebrated by family organizations who encourage their members to discover and post new information about their ancestors and deceased relatives, and by family history centers, historical societies, educational institutions, and genealogical companies who encourage their patrons to participate in family history activities on this day. Some ideas include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Hold an indexing challenge between individuals or family organizations.
· Use available apps to photograph and upload photos of headstones in cemeteries not yet documented.
· Scan and digitizing old family photos and documents and uploading them to public databases.
· Start a history about a parent, grandparent, or ancestor.
· Create a story or picture book containing several ancestors.
· Organize a volunteer effort at a local courthouse to index or digitize appropriate stored records.
· Hold a fund raising activity and donating proceeds to a family organization or genealogical association for research purposes.
· Hold a worldwide video conference where selected individuals share a story about an ancestor or interesting family event.
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