Create a family tree

Create a family tree

Tracing and mapping out your lineage is important, not just for the current iteration of your family, but for future generations. It will help you to preserve and share your immediate family’s memories as well as learn about distant relatives and how their actions and influence shaped your family’s history.

Many online resources exist for family history research, from subscription-based services like Ancestry.com and WorldVitalRecords.com to free sites like FamilySearch.org. Remember, a family tree can be updated throughout the years as new family members arrive and branches are rediscovered.

Create a family memories book

Create a family memories book

A heart-warming way to recount cherished memories with loved ones is by creating something tangible, like a hardcover book of treasured photos. Today, everyone has hundreds of high-quality digital images on their mobile devices and scanning old slides or photos is easier than ever.

Companies like London Drugs and Apple have made it easy to transform snapshots of family events, like birthdays, weddings, reunions, vacations and far-flung adventures, or simple everyday moments into beautiful books that can be shared for generations.

 

Preserve your voices with a recording

Preserve your voices with a recording

Hearing the sound of a loved one’s voice—whether on an endearing voicemail message or a digital recording—can preserve fond memories. Take, for example, a Prince George, B.C. resident who wanted to switch mobile service providers, but worried she’d lose a stored voicemail from her husband, who had passed away a month prior.

The Telus team member she spoke with confirmed that the voicemail would still be accessible online, but the potential customer, 71, confided she was very unfamiliar with the Internet and how to access voicemails online. With the woman’s permission, the rep created an online account on her behalf, and then went above and beyond, by downloading the voicemail onto two CDs and mailing them to her. Now, she is able to cherish her husband’s voice for years to come.

Document “famous” family recipes

Document “famous” family recipes

Recipes are a wonderful kind of family heirloom, because a) they’re so shareable and b) it's a fun challenge to try to recreate the original, master version of the dish. Recipes are often as much about family traditions and histories as they are about the actual ingredients.

Ask your Dad to make his famous burger recipe or bake Grandma’s famous cupcakes with her and the kids while you document the process, step-by-step. You could write it down, or record it as audio or video. You could expand on this idea by creating a family cookbook that includes signature dishes from extended family members, including any special foods associated with family get-togethers, birthdays, and holidays.

Share the stories behind your family heirlooms
Credit: Flickr: Kayla Kandzorra

Share the stories behind your family heirlooms

For most people, looking at and discussing family photos is a favourite way to access wonderful memories; and many family heirlooms also have great stories attached to them.

Talk to your family members about these often overlooked items. Where did your mother get that set of vintage bone china teacups? Which book on her bookshelf is her favourite? Is there a story behind that old watch your father still wears? Finding out why your family members decided to hold onto these items can be a great way to learn something new about them, and will call to mind happy memories in the process.

Remember: There is no wrong way to preserve your family's memories, and the more involved your family is in the process, the more fun it will be!

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Family legacies are extensions of the lives we share and the bonds we forge with those nearest and dearest to us. Sharing these traditions and preserving memories for future generations is a great way to bring family members young and old closer together. Here are some great ways to preserve cherished family memories for years to come.