It’s quite an honor to be known as the Family Historian, and whether you cherish this role for yourself or have somehow been designated by others to be the ‘keeper of family memorabilia, old paperwork and dusty mementos’ – it’s an important role and one that has actually been vital to the preservation of history through the centuries.
Being the historian of the family has little to do with age. It has everything to do with understanding the importance of finding, preserving and sharing the history of the family so that your children (and their children) will have a sense of who they are and the people that lived before them.
To keep it simple, here are three things to consider when putting your signature on the role of Family Historian:
Love – You’ve gotta love your family. Sounds trite and pretty obvious. But loving your family means all of your family. Love your ancestors so that you can search for them and find them, love your family members today so that you’ll stay in touch with them, share what you’ve learned and pass it on.
Share – Collecting family history is only of maximum value when you share it and make it interesting to others. Share the information you’ve gathered in ways that will be relevant to other people’s lives. Yes, you can do the scrapbooks and photo albums. But sharing is more about bringing your family history alive – begin an email list of family members and do a broadcast newsletter periodically, start a family group on Facebook, scan photos or documents into your computer and send them out to appropriate family members, frame vintage family photos and give them out as gifts, start a family blog and ask others to contribute to it.
Plan a family reunion and Twitter about it!
One last tip: as the Family Historian, you want to be less museum, and more living history. Love – learn – share.