Christmas in Australia is a time of sun, fun, and family, and as you get together over the holidays, what better time is there to start exploring your family history?
Whether you’re a federal politician or an ordinary citizen, it’s good to know your genealogy, but ancestries, dry lists of names, dates and places, will only tell you so much about your family’s past. To truly understand the how and why of your family history you need to hear the stories of your relatives, to hear how they saw and understood things, to find out what motivated or influenced them – and Christmas time, when families are together, is a great time to start asking about and listening to the tales that define your family’s experiences.
So how to get started? It’s simple really, all you have to do is ask your family members questions and listen to the answers, which will probably give you some more questions to ask, and so the process continues!
What was Christmas like for Grandpa as a boy? What are your family’s Christmas traditions and where and how did they start? How did Great-Grandma make Christmas lunch back in the day? There are so many questions to ask that can help you build a picture of your family’s past, so many stories to hear that will flesh out that dry list of names, dates and places, so many surprises to delight in all the little details and tales that shaped your family’s history.
If you’re looking for some tips to get going there are some comprehensive lists of questions you can ask your relatives appearing around the web – like this one at the Deseret News – and you’re sure to find some interesting lines of enquiry – and who knows, the stories of your family might inspire you to record your own family’s oral history for your grandkids and for history.