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It's Family History Month!

Family History Month gathering of people High Fiving!

Who knew we had a month-long celebration as Family Historians? This Family History Month designation became official just after the attacks of 9/11/2001, when the US Senate's passed bill said, "Whereas individuals learn about their ancestors who worked so hard and sacrificed so much, their commitment to honor their ancestors’ memory by doing good is increased; Whereas interest in our personal family history transcends all cultural and religious affiliations..."

*****We interrupt this blog post for a special news bulletin*****

If you have not uploaded your DNA results to MyHeritage yet, they have a special deal going through Sunday, October 8. Do your upload and get access to "all advanced DNA features, including the Ethnicity Estimate, absolutely free — forever!" I love free stuff! Link to the info page about this special at the bottom of this page.

colorful DNA helix

We now return you to your regular weekly blog post.

Since I have never celebrated this momentous annual occasion due to ignorance for over 20 years, I feel like I need to make up some lost time! Courtesy of, here are THIRTY ONE ways to celebrate Family History Month, and these do not all involve burying your head in the computer, there are some great ideas for involving friends and family:

  1. Go to FamilySearch, and read about the origin of your last name.

  2. Make a beloved family dessert, and share it with someone.

  3. Record a story on FamilySearch. This simply means talking into your phone for a few minutes and saving the recording.

  4. Send a text message to a relative in your family who you haven’t talked to in a while.

  5. Display a new family photo some place in your home.

  6. Create a digital family tree. If you already have a family tree, add at least one photo or story to the people in your tree.

  7. Find a historical record with your ancestor’s name on it.

  8. Spend 5–10 minutes on Google Maps looking at street views of where one of your ancestors lived.

  9. Write in your journal about a relative or family member who has been an important influence in your life.

  10. Record another story on FamilySearch.

  11. Plan a new family tradition for an upcoming holiday.

  12. Ask one or more friends to tell you where their last name comes from.

  13. Look up one of your ancestor’s homelands on Wikipedia, and learn something new about it.

  14. Go to FamilySearch Get Involved, and review at least one name from a historical record. Reviewing names makes it so other people can search for and find the record.

  15. Look through some family photographs that are at least 5 years old, and share one with someone in your family.

  16. Call one or more of the oldest living relatives in your family, and ask them how they are doing. Ask them something about their past.

  17. Learn something new about the year you were born.

  18. Find out which of your ancestors you look like (this activity works best if you already have an account with FamilySearch).

  19. Record another story on FamilySearch.

  20. See if you’re related to anyone famous.

  21. Use FamilySearch, BillionGraves, or Find a Grave to find a relative’s or ancestor’s headstone.

  22. Learn more about a relative or ancestor by reading his or her obituary.

  23. Take a picture of a favorite family recipe, and save it to FamilySearch. You can tag the photo to yourself or to the relative who made the recipe famous.

  24. Watch a short family history class from RootsTech 2022 about discovering and sharing your family stories.

  25. Take a few minutes to enjoy a family heirloom. Tell someone in your family the story of where it came from.

  26. Armistice Day is coming up. See if you’re related to anyone who fought in World War I by searching draft cards and other service records.

  27. Try a new recipe for a food item from an ancestor’s homeland. Cook it up, and see how it tastes.

  28. Take a walk outside with a family member and share a story or 2.

  29. Ask your parents or grandparents if they have any old photo albums you could look at. Schedule a time to look at the photos together, either in person or on the computer.

  30. Go on a mini-pilgrimage to a place that has special meaning to your family. Be creative. The journey could take 10 minutes or a couple of hours.

  31. Explore how people in other countries celebrate Day of the Dead and All Souls’ Day and choose a new tradition for yourself or your family to participate in.

The study of genealogy and families is not just about the past anymore, if you think about it! The gathering of DNA information is shaping the future of the world. Scientists learn more every day about how the human body works, how diseases can be cured or prevented, and how we are more alike than we are different.

Family in a pumpkin patch with pumpkins and corn

As the weather gets cooler we'll be spending more time inside. Take

advantage of gathering times to share memories and family traditions. I fear sometimes we spend so much time researching those who have already gone before us that we miss opportunities with those who are still here! Celebrate the new Fall and Thanksgiving seasons with friends and family. Life can be too short. Seize the day! Grab that opportunity! Not just for Family History Month, but for every month.

If you've made a new discovery you'd like to share or if you would like some help with your Family Tree please send me an email at the address below. Always a free peek and consultation!

Wishing you a fruitful harvest of family discoveries,

Leslie Ryan



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