10 Genealogy Projects for the Holidays

Holiday time often means spending time with the family and remembering past family events. Do you have a list of genealogy projects you’ve been putting off or need help with and you have family coming over for the holidays?

Here is a list of 10 things you can do with your family with your genealogy projects during the holiday season.

    1. Get out the old pictures, home movies and other family memorabilia. If you are having people over this year or traveling, other family members might enjoy looking through these items. It might be the first time a family member is seeing these items or some may have forgotten that they exist.
    2. Update that family tree for any births, marriages, or other life events that happened this year. There are 365 days in a calendar year with each day holding an opportunity for something to happen. What happened in your family this year? Write it down! Document it! Share it! Don’t forget about the little things.
    3. Make holiday decorations out of copies made of old family pictures. Check out this Facebook post from ICI vos origines that provides an awesome and easy-to-make Christmas wreath using copied pictures of ancestors. What a great and festive way to remember them during the holidays!
    4. Digitize those family photos and home movies! From this blog: Using Today’s Technology to Save Yesterday’s Treasures, there are a few companies that specialize in digitizing family photos and home movies. With digitizing your old photos and home movies, you now have digital files that you can easily share as many times as you want with a CD, thumb drive or file transfer over email.
    5. Back up your computer’s hard drive. It happens and you may never know when or if it’ll happen but hard drives fail. They will fail with no notice and most likely before you’ve had a chance to back up those files. Read the blog that tells you how to handle a hard drive gone back and provides tips on how to backup your data.
    6. Sit down with your parents, grandparents or aunts and uncles and ask them about their lives and genealogy. As we get older, we forget about things in our past or family members that have passed away. We never know when people will pass on so it’s important to have conversations with them to preserve their memory. This article from the Deseret News provides a nice list of 150 questions to ask your family before it’s too late. Who knows where a conversation with them can go. You may learn some interesting stuff you never knew about your family member.
    7. Get your family to do a genealogy DNA test. There are many sales going on during the holidays with the various DNA testing kits from 23andme, Ancestry.com and National Geographic. With a DNA test, you never know what you may discover hiding in the genetics that has been passed down through your ancestors. You thought you were 100% German but your DNA says you have a small fraction of Russian, Irish and Native American? Ok….so now what? Let the puzzle solving for the New Year begin!
    8. Cook a dinner from an old family recipe. Do you remember going to a relative’s house and eating something they cooked from scratch or have a recipe card that’s been handed down? Create a new dinner family favorite while visiting memories.
    9. Organize your materials. While going through boxes of photos and home movies, take a moment to properly label them. Write the dates and the names of people involved down on each item. Organize them by name, family or date accordingly.  You’ll thank yourself later when you need to go back and find something or send them off to be digitized.
    10. Bust through those brick walls! Do you have an ancestor that you’ve been trying to find information on and just can’t? You know that the information is out there but you just can’t find it? That’s called a brick wall. Take the time to break through it by partnering up with a fellow genealogist on one of the many Facebook groups dedicated to genealogy research. Genealogists love to help others break through walls. If you break through your brick wall, tell the story of your ancestor’s newly found information with your family.

The list may seem daunting but don’t worry, setting aside the time or asking your family to help will make these projects fun and you’ll feel good to get them done.

Do you have a a list of todo genealogy projects that isn’t on this list? What are they and do you plan on completing them this holiday season? Tell us about it in the comments!