Sign on the dotted line

Signing on the dotted line is one way to preserve a very important part of your family history. For people doing genealogy and family histories, discovering an ancestor’s signature is often considered a significant find, a treasure, something to celebrate.

Now, think ahead, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a collection of your family members’ signatures? Without a concerted effort at collecting them, signatures might have to continue to be those special finds of genealogists. Resolve to collect members’ distinctive signatures at your next reunion.

Autograph books are probably passe now, but they could be a repository of family treasures. In fact, autograph books might be something for kids to make at reunions to collect family signatures. Save these little books and years from now great family treasures will be secure.

To make autograph books

Use two pieces of cardboard for front and back covers and plain 20# paper for filler pages. If you’re into serious preservation, you’ll want to use archival paper for the inside pages. Punch holes for the binding and thread some pretty yarn, ribbon or string through the holes and tie in a bow on the front. The front cover could be scored (bent) near the binding to give it slightly easier access opening.

Memory book alternative

Lloyd Dean made and shared a wonderful book called An Appalachian Reunion from the 25th Dean & Creech Family Reunion. Instead of using a conventional memory book format, Dean made a book comprised mainly of candid snapshots of family members at the reunion. Pictures are interspersed with clippings saluting achievements and sadly, obituaries.

This is a great way to remember your reunion and it’s easy to do! The cover is made of colored, light card stock. Inside pages are collages of cut and pasted pictures. Imagine looking back at reunions and see family spending time together. And family members will probably be pleased to see themselves in the book.

Thanks for a great idea, Lloyd!

Use family memories to bridge the past to the future

You’ve heard him tell the story a million times: during Thanksgiving dinner … at your son’s birthday party … even at Uncle Joe’s funeral. But your dad never tires of telling it.

You’ve eaten your mother’s favorite chicken dish almost as many times as you’ve heard your dad tell his favorite story. Now, you’re all grown up and live 1,000 miles away and your mouth still waters every Tuesday, chicken surprise night at your parents’ house.

Do you remember all the details of your dad’s story to share with your children after he’s gone? Do you know your mom’s secret chicken surprise ingredient? Will you continue to enjoy her recipe when she’s not around? Or will you be overcome with nostalgia every time you eat a chicken dish that’s good but “nothing like what mom used to make?”

Document the stories, memories, and experiences you take for granted. You owe it to yourself. Give your family and future generations the exciting adventure of traveling back in time.