Celebrate Mother’s Day By Making A Family Tree (+ Free Printables!)
As Mother’s Day approaches, we find ourselves reflecting on the importance of family. Family — blood or chosen — ties us together and helps us develop meaningful relationships with the world around us.
But what should you do if you want to learn more about your family history? A family tree is a great place to start. This is a diagram that illustrates generations of a family in a tree shape, with each branch representing a different family member.
For historical context, the first family tree recorded in history is the Tree of Jesse, which traces the ancestors of Jesus back to the father of King David. The most populated is that of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, whose family tree traces 86 generations and spans 2,500 years!
Most modern family trees don’t try to tackle hundreds of years, but rather stick to a few generations. Completing a family tree is not only a fun, interactive project, but is also a sweet way to feel more connected with your family, both close and distant.
What is a Family Tree?
Family trees are traditionally popular crafts for school-aged children, but with the rising popularity of genealogy programs like 23 and Me and Ancestry.com, adults have begun to enjoy these projects as well.
Creating a family tree involves researching generations of your family history, which has become easier to do with the assistance of the Internet. There are many programs and websites available online that can help you get started.
How to Research a Family Tree
It might seem like a big undertaking to research generations of your family history, but luckily there are many programs that can make this investigation a breeze. As a bonus, completing this project may just make you feel more connected to your family — from those who live with you at home to those far away.
Ancestry is a popular resource for tracing genealogy, and offers both paid and free versions. In addition to free vital, census and military records you can search through, Ancestry offers paid DNA testing and family tree builder services that build off preexisting knowledge you have about your history to find even more connections.
FamilySearch is a free resource that provides access to census records from the comfort of your home once you sign up for an account. All you have to do is log onto the site and input any information you know about existing family members to find others.
On Chronicling America, you can search for newspaper articles written in the United States of America between 1789 and 1963. This is a useful, free resource for people looking for more intimate details of their family’s lives, as newspapers provide information about marriages, deaths, and family happenings throughout history.
The National Archives
Those who wish to conduct in-person research may need to take a trip –– the National Archives can provide access to many civilian records, including census data, military records, and land transfers. There are many National Archives locations in the United States, so there may be one near you.
With a library card, you can get free access to the library’s genealogy search resources, which are usually comprehensive. Call your local library to see what resources they have available, then take a trip down to scour the resources for your family history.
Talk to Your Relatives + Search Scrapbooks
The best family history information comes from those who actually lived it! Ask your older relatives for scrapbooks, stories, or mementos from their childhood that you can use as a jumping off point for your research. An added bonus: this is also a great way to connect with your family members!
How to Make a Family Tree (+ Templates)
Family trees are fun projects that can be completed solo or as a family, and can make you feel more connected to your ancestors.
The first step is collecting information about your family history. It’s important during this stage to keep an organized account of your family’s historical information, and use all of the resources available to you. Once the information is collected, simply open the attached, interactive PDF and input information about your family! Then, print out to discuss or display in your house.
Here are some free printables that can help you start on this fun endeavor.
Once you learn fun facts about your ancestors, you can use these character cards to write down important facts about their lives. These cards can be used to elaborate on your family tree and make you feel closer to each name on the branches.
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, you can also use this questionnaire to connect with your children and revisit fun memories you’ve shared together.
5 Ways to Stay in Touch With Family
Our family, either directly related or chosen through close connection, provide us with unconditional love and support. It can be easy to get caught up in life’s details and forget to reach out to family members, but it’s important to nurture these life-long connections with the people who love us most.
Make a Phone Call
Not only is it good to catch up with your mom, but a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Child Emotion Lab reported that hearing your mother’s voice has the same stress-reducing effects as a hug.
Tip: Plan a weekly call over Bluetooth during your commute, or at another convenient time for both of you to maintain a routine and make sure you keep up communication.
Send “I Miss You” Cards
The greeting card industry is big business — Americans buy about 6.5 billion of these cards per year. Despite the onset of social media and online communication, the greeting card industry hasn’t slowed, and young people are still acknowledging the importance of sending them. Sending your loved ones a card can make them happy and let them know you’re thinking of them.
Tip: Don’t wait for a birthday or holiday to send a card, a simple “I Miss You” card is thoughtful and will make your family feel special and loved. Here are some cards that you can send to your loved ones to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Host Family Reunions
Family reunions are a fun way to get the family together, and an opportunity to catch up with family members you might not see very often in a fun setting. Most family reunions include three or four generations, but 16% go all the way up to five!
Tip: Start early — almost half of those planning a family reunion start 13–18 months before the event actually begins.
Record and Share Special Memories
For extended family members, traveling for holidays or special occasions isn’t always an option. You can make your loved ones feel included in birthdays, graduations, dance recitals, and other special moments by recording a video of the memory and sending it their way.
Tip: YouTube has an “unlisted” setting, where you can upload a video but hide it from anyone who doesn’t have the link. This is a good way to upload longer videos and give your whole family access to view.
Create a Family-Only Facebook Group
With 2.5 billion active users, Facebook is a proven way to stay connected with family and friends. If you want to share family content but don’t want non-family members to view it, you can create a private family Facebook group and only invite family to join. Here, you can start discussions, post photos, and share memories with family members from around the globe.
Tip: Visibility settings for Facebook groups differ. If you select “Visible,” anyone will be able to see the group and request to join. For more privacy, select “Hidden,” which makes the group only viewable to members personally selected to join.
By building a family tree and putting more focus into our relationships with our family, we can feel more fulfilled in these connections. As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s a great time of year to start down this journey.
And as you realize the importance of connection and fulfillment, Bestow is here to provide you with a free life insurance quote.