If you or someone in your family has been compiling family history data or you already have a record then a family history reunion is a great place to showcase this priceless information.
A family history reunion can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. A simple family history reunion could consist of a program where different family members read about ancestors. When choosing stories to share try and chose stories with a multi-generational appeal, don’t make the stories to long, and focus on the most interesting parts. As a child my favorite stories dealt with the childhoods of my grandparents and ancestors.
You could decorate your family history reunion with pictures of your ancestors make sure that you label each picture so people know who it is. You could also include objects that were owned or made by your ancestors. These could be quilts, furniture, clocks, books, clothes, toys, or other items that your family still owns.
If you have more time you could create a collage of each ancestor and present it at the family reunion. The collage could include: your ancestor’s picture, other pictures you might have, an example of the type of home they lived in, something to represent a hobby or interest, a boat if they came by sea, a covered wagon if they crossed the plains, or words that represent their personality.
A different approach is to assign each family a different ancestor (you might need to provide the information). Ask them to create a collage or find a picture or objects owned by the person. Each family would also be responsible for presenting information about their ancestor. Their presentation could include:
- reading a story about an event
- acting out an event in the ancestor’s life with a skit
- singing a song about the ancestor or a song loved by the ancestor
- reciting a poem written by the ancestor or about the ancestor
- performing or teaching a dance from the ancestor’s country
- presenting a choral reading about the ancestor’s life
- playing a musical instrument that was played by the ancestor
The risk with this is that some families might not have a presentation ready, but with enough advance notice and lots of reminders this could be a great program.
For the children you could have some games and crafts ready for them to do. Some ideas include:
- Play a game that originated from your ancestor’s country or that your ancestor might have played.
- Make a simple item of clothing that an ancestor would have worn like a bonnet, coonskin cap, tri-corner hat, pilgrim hat, apron, or suspenders.
- If your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary or Civil War let them reenact a battle with water guns.
- If your ancestors hailed from Ireland have them go on a treasure hunt and find the pot of chocolate gold at the end of the rainbow.
- You might also do something that represents an ancestor’s occupation or hobby like carving, quilting, cooking, riding a horse or stick-horse, planting a plant, or drawing.
- If they crossed the plains let them pretend to be pioneers and go on a trek around the yard or park. You could have clothes to dress up in, wagons to pull, or stick horses to ride.
- Locate on a map where your ancestors came from and learn something about the country.
- If your ancestors sailed across the sea provide a large refrigerator size box and let them pretend to go sailing.
- You could make a toy that an ancestor might have played with like a corn-husk doll, fabric doll, or old-fashioned toy.
- Create a family tree.
Serve food that is traditionally from the country where your ancestors came from. You might also serve dishes that were particular favorites of your ancestors.
A family history reunion is a fun way to get to know a little more about your ancestors, their lives, and where they came from.