My New Year’s Resolution: Family History

 I saw a funny flier at a local LDS chapel. It read: "Do you get the feeling some dead person is waiting for you?" It was a flier to attend free family history classes at their building. The question certainly caught my attention- it was weird but also true. When we talk about genealogy or family history, we are talking about the search for dead people. This flier and other experiences have prompted me to add another resolution to my always-long list of resolutions: to do more family history work.

I want my kids to know where they came from. I have a vague idea but not enough to give them any definitive story. The more I look into it, the more I realize I don’t know, even in the more recent past. I don’t have the photos or the names of towns. In short, I have a lot of work to do. 

So I’ll be looking for dead people this year. I’ll be spending some time at the local family history library and talking to the older generation in my family. Hopefully, at the end of 2010, I’ll have a better idea of where I came from.



Family Holiday Traditions

If you think about it, the holidays are all about traditions. Traditions keep the whole thing going. Some families get together to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Others gorge themselves on ham and football. Still others go hunting.

What traditions does your family carry on year after year to make the season special?

In our family, we make and deliver treats to our neighbors. Cookies, brownies, that kind of stuff. When I was a kid, we would dress up like ninjas, place the goodies on our neighbors’ porches, ring their doorbell, and then run like mad. We called it elfing. Maybe we’ll try out elfing when the kids are a little older. 

We re-enact the Nativity story by reading from the Book of Luke. Then we pull out a box which is decorated in brilliant silver wrapping paper- this is Christ’s present. On little slips of paper, we write what gifts we are going to give to Christ in the coming year. Then we insert those slips into the box. It’s our way of remembering what we are celebrating. Of course, then comes the presents and the food- oh yes, the food-, and the board games. There will likely be hours spent on video games and sledding and drinking hot cocoa. All of that. 

Make sure your holidays come with some kind of holiday. And make sure you spend it with those you love the most.

 



Ancestry.com proves Obama and Buffett Cousins

When Warren Buffett was promoting Obama for the presidency, neither of them could have imagined that they were actually related.

That’s right. Reuters released a report today saying that Ancestry.com has found that President Obama and super-investor Warren Buffett are cousins… er, seventh cousins three times removed. Apparently, waaaaay back, their family trees meet at a 17th-century Frenchman named Mareen Duvall. The discovery was made by accident on Ancestry.com by researchers doing work on Obama’s roots. It is just another cool example of how Ancestry.com’s tools can help us learn unexpected things about our family histories.

Ironically, these same researchers found that Obama is also related to Dick Cheney. But something tells me they won’t be having a family reunion anytime soon.