Our holiday celebrations today may be rooted in family traditions of yesteryear. For instance, did you know during the late 19th century into the 20th that towns would order train cars of citrus for Christmas?
My grandparents lived in snowy Minnesota. Parents in their village collaborated to order crates of oranges sent on trains each Christmas season. Children would get so excited to find a single orange in their stocking. Sometimes the only present they would get during tough years.
Through the generations, this tradition has continued. I found an orange each Christmas in my stocking, too! My Swedish grandmother would tell me how joyful they were to get something so precious. I felt her joy and loved my annual orange just as much. The citrus also helped avoid rickets and illness until fresh foods could be available again. So, the tradition was about more than a yummy piece of fruit. It was also part of survival. But the light in her eyes shone each time as if she were living it for the first time. I basked in the exuberance and warmth of her emotion. My grandpa would nod and smile at the memory, too.
Fast forward to my children and grandchildren now. A few Christmases ago, my son asked why we get oranges when they are so basic and not everyone likes them. I realized my error. I had passed on the tradition without the social story surrounding it. So, I now tell the story of how precious oranges came on trains so parents could give them to children who had so little; no fresh foods because there was not a way to get them, and how the whole town would meet those trains with utter celebration, passing oranges to each other to surprise their children. How a juicy orange was a deeply hoped for and appreciated gift.
Our oranges morphed to chocolate oranges a few years back, too. But I am making sure the next two generations know why we give oranges at Christmas. Why do we light Advent candles? This tradition comes from my Swedish ancestors and the faith they displayed. It is all about the stories!
The best gift you have to give is not the next best video game. Give a sense of belonging and understanding, and celebrate those traditions that connect you and your family through the centuries. Genealogy is not just finding a name and the record proof. It is about connecting, belonging, learning both heroic and cautionary tales, and giving those to future generations. Genealogy is a bridge to relationships using the art of storytelling. The facts you discover along the way prove the stories to preserve the memories, actions and experiences of those who made it possible for you and your children to exist today.
If you or your family are feeling disconnected, or maybe need a deeper bond, learning and sharing your family stories can help reconnect and engage all ages.
TIP: As you prepare your festivities, think about each meal, activity, or even specific decorations. Why do you eat those foods? Why do you do certain activities (like lighting Advent or Menorah candles)? Who taught you the recipe, or gave you the ornament? What stories did your parents and grandparents tell you that you can pass on? Is there a story in how those traditions have evolved like our oranges?
As you intentionally think through your holiday actions and memories, tell those traditions to your family around the table or the tree, and invite others to tell theirs. Your family and you will have a season of significance, belonging, and joy.
Our students at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies /International Institute of Genealogical Studies are preparing for the last month of courses for 2022. December is an extremely busy month for some students. Schedules and outside expectations compete for our attention and demand action. Be sure to plan your month very carefully. Self-paced education takes discipline, perseverance and focus. We are here to help you succeed in meeting your genealogical education goals. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a problem.
The Holiday season is upon us – filled with Family Time, Traditions and Memories. It is a time to gather with extended family members and share memories of years gone by. There will be well-known family traditions mixed in with new traditions – welcoming new family members to our celebrations. It’s a good time to take note of changes in our families over the past year of 2022. As family historians, we record the BMDs as we receive the news, but the holidays are usually a time to welcome those new cousins and in-laws into your family circle.
It’s a time for stories of, “Remember when….?” and photos! Take lots of photos, especially of family groups and elderly family members. And then there is the food! Traditional recipes with Grandma’s chocolate fudge – made only as she does, and Great-Aunt Mable’s dressing recipe. Be sure to record these. Find out why certain foods are served, and why these traditions were formed, and carried on year after year. Record them and preserve them as the treasures they truly are.
Make this December a month to remember! Prepare for Family Time, for sharing Memories, and for exploring your holiday Traditions. Record what you learn and document the new stories. The online education you are pursuing to preserve your family history will not only benefit your immediate family, but it will bring together extended family members as well. You may even discover some new cousins!
DECEMBER COURSES For those who have registered for December courses, if you have discovered that you will not be able to work on your courses this month after all, you can still easily change the start date.
In your Student Briefcase, scroll down to Future Courses. #1. You will see a list of your registered courses with the dates they are scheduled to open. #2. To change your start date, click on the date (December 5, 2022). A new pop-up window will open. #3. Click on the scheduled date. A drop-down menu will be displayed with additional start dates for this course. Choose a new start date (February 6, 2023). Please Note: The scheduled date has NOT been changed yet! #4. You must click the Change Date button to actually change the start date. Now you can close the pop-up window and your new start date will be displayed beside your course.
Make preparations to enjoy your holiday season, and be purposeful in your visits with family members. Ask if anyone has taken a DNA test. Then work to preserve your family history by documenting your discoveries! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We offer quality online education with over 225+ courses to choose from. Some of our courses are topic/country-specific, or provide insight into research methodology, while others are skill-building courses to maximize your research time. The first of a new month means another rotation of courses will start. Most courses feature 6 modules over an 8-week period, easily adapted to most busy schedules. Many courses have been bundled into packages to provide discount options. Take a look at our course calendar and see which courses will accomplish your genealogical education goals. Register today! —————————————————- Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies /International Institute of Genealogical Studies. Check out our Course Calendar. List of Packagesavailable. Follow us on Social Media: Blog, Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, YouTube. *Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.
Black Friday is almost here! Every year, many shoppers anxiously wait for the day after the American Thanksgiving to discover what deals will be included in the Black Friday sales. Some sales will be just on that day, while others will extend throughout the weekend. Exclusive electronic and tech deals may be offered on the following Monday. Cyber Monday often offers its own exclusive deals. In recent years, many organizations are also offering Early Black Friday sales or Pre-Black Friday deals. Start watching for discounts and be sure to take note of the expiry dates. For many, Black Friday shopping has become a holiday tradition.
So, what does this have to do with genealogy? Black Friday sales are being offered by many genealogy and family history organizations right now. Be sure to check your favourite websites and their social media posts for exclusive offers. These discounts are frequently the lowest prices to be offered for the year. From DNA testing kits to memberships and subscriptions to software to various genealogy-related products, this is a great time to take advantage of Black Friday savings.
What are your genealogical goals for 2023? Thinking about them now, while the sales and discounts are on, will give you the opportunity to save on your 2033 budget. Which memberships or subscriptions will you need? Do you know the supplies needed for your educational goals? Do you need to upgrade your technology equipment? Are you planning to do further DNA research that requires more DNA testing? Watch for your best economic opportunities. There will be a flurry of sales. Have your wish list ready!
Have you shared your genealogy wish list with your holiday shoppers? Let your family and friends know about the sale items of interest to you and help them contribute to your genealogy research projects. Remember, Black Friday is November 25th. Don’t miss out on the savings!
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. For some, it is just another long weekend. As family historians, we need to dig deeper to learn the history behind it. Why does it merit a federal holiday and how does it relate to your family? If you have any connection to military personnel, you fully understand the significance of this day. It is to remember and honor those who have fallen while serving their country.
But did you know that it is not a modern holiday? It was first celebrated on May 30, 1868 and was originally known as Decoration Day. Here are a few resources to explore:
It is time once again to honour Mothers and celebrate this special day. Where would we be without all of the Moms on our Pedigree Charts?
Tracing the women in our family tree may be relatively easy now, but the farther back we go, the more challenging it is to find their day-to-day activities being recorded. The valued records that were preserved tend to be about the legal issues within the family rather than the social aspects of their daily routines. Yet, her role was so important.
Grandmothers, Mothers and Daughters
Our female ancestors not only played significant roles in our lives; they played their part in historical events as well. Researching at times can be a challenge, but we need to ensure that we persevere and tell their stories. Their voice must be heard.
Start with home resources, family heirlooms, and treasured mementoes connected to milestone events. Such items remind us of the connections we have to the past generations, and they provide great clues to pursue in our research. What were her interests? Did she belong to a volunteer organization? What were her accomplishments?
This course is designed to guide you through the process of researching your family’s history by covering strategies and key sources you will need to access in order to overcome common challenges when tracing female ancestors. It will show you how to document “her” story and reveal the often-hidden aspects of their lives.