As I write this post, America, and a lot of the rest of the world, is experiencing something I’ve never seen before in my lifetime—the threat of a pandemic and the request from government to stay home except for necessary outings. Staying home is even more important for people over 60 or anyone who has a pre-existing medical condition.
Charlie and I fall into that category for sure, and we’re staying home. If you’re staying home, too, what are you doing with all that extra time?
May I make a suggestion?
Why not work on family history?
Think about it. When we’re forced to stay at home it’s unlikely we’ll be able to use the “I Don’t Have Time” excuse. At least for awhile. There are lots of ways we could fritter that time away or we could take this as a golden opportunity to make significant progress on our family history.
Here are the five things that I’m going to be working on as I stay home.
#1 Organize A Box Of Photos
“What?!” you might say. “You still have boxes of photos left to work on?”
Oh yes! I inherited a PILE of boxes from both sides of the family, and while I’ve made it through some of them, I still have a lot to go.
That includes boxes of photos and memorabilia about my own family. Charlie and I have collected more than anyone else in our family line, and someday we need to deal with it. Although I’ve already scanned most of the photos I did it years ago before I figured out it was far better to organize photos before scanning them, so I have some physical and digital organization yet to do.
I’ve picked a smaller tub to start on so I can ease into it. It’s a tub with a pregnancy memory book from my first pregnancy, old Creative Memories scrapbook pages with photos on them, school papers and art by our kids from when we were homeschooling, and more.
That’s not the only box about our family, but it’s a good one to start with.
#2 Scan Photos And Documents
I have a pile that I started scanning awhile back and never finished, but I whittled it down enough that it feels manageable. That’s the key—choose something that feels doable so you don’t feel overwhelmed before you even start.
#3 Fix Some Photos
I have quite a few photos that I need to fix before I can make an album about my parents from marriage to retirement, including the four of us kids growing up. So this makes a great project to do during down time. I want to finish the album by Mother’s Day, and I know myself. If the photos don’t look good I won’t make the book and then I won’t reach my goal. So that’s what I want to work on during this time.
#4 Record Some Family Stories
I can use the recorder on my cell phone to do that. I just press record and begin telling a story, e.g…
“When I was young, I lived in Central America in a little village and across the street there was a hospital. Well, our windows didn’t have glass, they had wrought iron. And so the grown men and the big boys would come across the street and they’d hang on our wrought iron and just look into our house. We felt like monkeys in a zoo. I used to run from one corner to another where they couldn’t see me….”
#5 Call A Relative And Talk About Family History
I don’t know why, but calling relatives, especially if they live far away or in a different time zone, can be one of those family history activities you just keep avoiding until it’s too late.
Maybe you don’t quite know what to say. Or maybe, when it’s a good time for you, they’re most likely in the middle of dinner or getting ready for bed.
With more time on your hands you can afford to tackle this very important connection to your past and learn some things that will make you thankful you stayed at home and just did it!
So that’s what I’m doing while I’m staying home to avoid being with people or in places where I might contract COVID-19.
I’d love to hear in the comments what you’re doing.
And I hope some of your down time will include working on family history!
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