The box of old letters that unlocks a family connection … an anniversary party photo showing multiple generations … documentation like this can provide priceless clues in tracing your family lineage. People tend to view genealogy as a look back in time, rather than a piece of the present.
In the August 2018 edition of Viking, members can access an article about two brothers and learn how six decades of their transatlantic letters became not only a chronicle for their descendants, but a fascinating snapshot of daily life in South Dakota and Romsdal.
Below are a few ways to preserve and circulate the family information you may already have, to record your own history in the making, and encourage others to share their knowledge.
When visiting relatives (whether at home or across the Atlantic), bring copies of your shared family’s records as a gift. This may take months to prepare, but even partial information is helpful. If you are hoping that they will reciprocate, allow ample time for them to prepare.
At family reunions, be sure to mark the occasion with a group photo. List everyone who is present and how they are related. Encourage attendees to exchange copies of their family tree. Some people may have already shared this via genealogy websites, but paper copies are helpful for those who aren’t online.
If you keep family photo albums, make notes on who or what is pictured, so that the information is preserved. Bring photo displays to family events to spur storytelling and keep the collective memory circulating.
Know anyone who has caught the genealogy bug? Give them a gift membership to Sons of Norway to foster their interest. Our Cultural Skills unit on Genealogy is a great launching point for members interested in tracing their Norwegian roots. If you are already a member, you may be surprised at how much you can find through online research.
Keep family lore alive by posting stories online, like Sons of Norway member John Moe, who recently related a larger-than-life family memory on Twitter. Create a Facebook group with your extended family to preserve tales of the generations that have come before.