EXPLORE YOUR OWN FAMILY HISTORY
Make A Family Tree
A family tree is a chart that shows how the members of a family are related over many generations. (A generation is the average amount of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their children —about 30 years.) Write down what you know about your immediate family, starting with yourself: your full name, date of birth, and the place where you were born. Then do the same for your parents, including your mother's maiden name. Add your brothers and sisters. And your grandparents. And their siblings. And your great-great grandparents. You might be amazed to find out how little you know about your family members — even going only a few generations back. With relatives who are no longer living, write down the year and the place where they died.
Be A Detective
How many generations has your family lived in America? What's your Grandmother's maiden name? Where was your great-grandmother born? When did she come to this country? Why did she come here? Ask a lot of questions. Gather as much information as you can from your mother, father, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Look at family albums, journals, letters, obituaries, or other records. Old photographs are great sources of information and inspiration.
Interview A Relative
A fun way to find out about your family is by interviewing an elderly relative or friend. What did your ancestors do for a living? Were they farmers? Merchants? Carpenters? Were there any artists in the family? Musicians? Great athletes? Use a tape recorder or a video camera, if you can. Or just take lots of notes.
Make A Scrapbook
With an ordinary notebook, you can create an album dedicated to a relative or several relatives and filled with facts about their time. How much was ice cream back then? A movie ticket? What was the latest rage? The coolest fashion? The most popular car? What did teenagers do for fun? Record your findings. Decorate your album with drawings or pictures cut out of magazines, copied from books, or downloaded from the Internet.
Share Your Discoveries
Your friends and family will be fascinated to discover what you've learned about your relatives — and about yourself.