Tuesday, April 5, 2016
D is for Draw
Draw your family tree on poster board. Hang the completed drawing in the main dining area where guests congregate. Circle the names of people on the family tree who are in attendance. Underneath the various family units, write down addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Stack paper and pens nearby in case someone wants to write down contact information they don’t have or need to update.
This is a great visual of your family history and something to get conversations started. Enlist the help of your siblings and anyone in the family who has previously completed a family tree for the information you’ll need. You may have to make a few attempts at drawing your family tree in order to get it just right, especially if you have a large family. Somehow there’s never quite enough space at first for all the grandparents, children and grandchildren, spouses and stepchildren, etc. You’ll get it just right eventually and then proceed to drawing and finishing the final product.
Decorate the poster with colorful embellishments, stickers or even photos. Have your children assist you in the designing and coloring of the background and artwork.
How many generations will be in attendance at your reunion will inform how large and in what direction you need your family tree to spread. Let’s say that your family reunion is mainly siblings, their spouses and children. You would begin with your parents at the top of the tree, and then list the generations one by one from there.
But if your reunion includes your cousins for example, you would need more space. You’d begin with your grandparents at the top of the tree, then your parents and their brothers and sisters, their spouses and children who are your cousins, and finally, you and your cousins’ offspring. That’s at least four generations in this example, so have lots of paper to practice on and for the final drawing.
Once you have the completed family tree hung up, supply markers for those in attendance to circle who they have brought with them. Have many different colors so each nuclear family can have their own color. Also have room for writing down contact information. Most will be able to enter addresses, phone numbers and email addresses directly into their phones or laptops, but some older folks may prefer paper and pen to make their notes.
Announce to each family as they arrive to take the time over at the family tree to “sign in” and leave their information for others. Remind them during the event to check back frequently as guests may arrive at different times and the information may thus not be complete during the first day.
Take photos of the family tree at the end of the reunion, as it will help to preserve the information entered. If family members would like to add birthdates, anniversaries and other important dates to the poster, it will help future genealogists in the family keep track of family data.