Want more than a turkey coma and a sink full of dirty dishes after your Thanksgiving dinner? Take three steps to prepare for your family gathering so you’ll come away with some family history video making goodies sweeter than pumpkin pie. By the end of Thanksgiving weekend you could create an Ancestor Story Video that you can share with far-flung cousins and entertain the crowd at hand.
Step 1: Point out “props” to spur conversation and reminiscing. You can use photos, but don’t forget the items sitting there on the dining room table–maybe a serving platter that was passed down from great-grandma or napkin rings carved by a cousin. Ask about family photos or artifacts during the post-dinner lull in activity. Asking about favorite toys or tools could spark some memories from an older relative about a beloved old object from a loved one.
Step 2: Remember your gear! Whether traveling to your Thanksgiving destination or hosting the Turkey fest, be prepared to capture photos of an artifact, record an interview, or take video of family storytelling.
- Don’t go it alone. Recruit a tech-minded sibling, teen, or cousin to be camera operator or recorder. Let them know they are helping to make family history!
- Don’t get hung up on gear you might not have. Use what you DO have. Most smart phones can capture photos, video and audio. Many digital cameras have video capabilities along with taking still photos.
- Remember to charge your cell phone, camera or device. If you are using a smart phone for photos or video, review what’s saved on the device and delete deadwood shots to free up memory. If available, use memory cards so you don’t run out of space for photos and video.
Step 3: Seek out stories and details. You can download my free Ancestor Story Video Brainstorm Tools to help you jot down ideas. You may already know a family story about an ancestor, but take advantage of the relatives gathered to crowd source details and visuals–different people have different takes on the same story. This is likely to inspire some lively discussions! Click here to download the free tools.
Most importantly, have fun! Everyone loves a video. Even kids and teens are fascinated to see the people they come from and how that connects them to history.
See some examples of Ancestor Story Videos on the Video Genealogy YouTube channel. Discover the steps of creating Ancestor Story Videos in my eBook Share Your Genealogy Research with Video available at amazon.com. Also, find more resources and helpful articles here at VideoGenealogy.com.
Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Photo credit: Thanksgiving, 1919. National Photo Company. 1919. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., [LC-F82-1234]. Accessed 22 November 2015. http://loc.gov