Tag Archives: families

What You Should Talk About Around the Thanksgiving Table

photo by NealeA

photo by NealeA

Conversations That Matter

No, not politics or even religion. Not currently, anyway. Holidays are often the only times we get extended family together, so you should take advantage of the opportunity to build the story of your family’s heritage and then preserve it. Here are some things you definitely should talk about.

photo by Anne Helmond

photo by Anne Helmond

Your Traditions

You did not all grow up at the same time. At least I’m assuming you’ll have multiple generations present, as most people do. Did you always have turkey? Were there Thanksgiving services at the church? When did everyone start watching football? Prompting with just a few questions can  ignite some stories that might have otherwise been lost.

Who Was Invited to the Dinner?

photo by Brecken Pool

photo by Brecken Pool

Was there a kids table? Did you ever invite the neighbors? Who was the most unique guest you’ve ever had at your table? Were there special events this time of year that encouraged generosity? Has anyone ever been on the receiving end of someone’s act of good will? Asking questions like these will give younger generations a picture of the family’s hospitality and perhaps encourage them to continue the practice.

Have You Ever Tried to Cook a Frozen Turkey?

I imagine every family has had some Thanksgiving cooking disaster. Confessing these might be humorous. On the other hand, these stories might help to show that no one’s perfect and mishaps in life happen to us all. It’s the journey that’s important.

photo by Robert Jack 啸风 Will

photo by Robert Jack 啸风 Will

Record the Stories

These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling, but when people start talking be sure to either write down the stories or record them on video. The time will come when seats are empty at your table. Save those stories while you can. For more ideas on conversation starters, see this article from Family Tree Magazine.

photo by Chris Phillips

photo by Chris Phillips

Happy Thanksgiving!

Puppy Tales

Let’s see if a cute puppy gets me more comments. 😉

My Puppy Tales

The Grand Puppy

The latest grand puppy is a Short Haired Pointer named Gibbs who belongs to my son Jeff.

Who puts their dog on their family tree? Click To Tweet

The first puppy I had was a family dog named Boots. I remember going with my parents and sisters to pick out a puppy from someone who had a litter. I must have been about five. We played with them for a while and someone said it’s decided, and I remember being annoyed that no one asked my opinion. I had been interested in a different puppy. Well, such is the life of the baby in the family! And it continued. My sister Sharon really took over and Boots, while I enjoyed her, never really was MY puppy.

Later we added a dog (not a puppy) that my oldest sister Regena rescued off someone’s clothesline chain. Then a cat that Sharon rescued (after the dogs were gone.)

When I got married, I did not want a dog. Boots had turned out to be a neurotic mess in her old age during thunderstorms and the 4th of July. Boots and the rescued dog fought terribly. I just didn’t want that. We got cats.

Whose Dog?

Later we did get a dog for our boys, and he turned out to be my dog. A sheltie named Cody who was so sweet and loyal. He’s been gone a few years now. Then we had Jeff’s dog Mia while he was in the army, but she left to move in with him when he returned. She was my husband’s dog second after Jeff. A boxer that was well trained and trailed Jeff obediently, hanging on to his every word. We all miss her.

Then our son Kyle and his wife Kelsey got two dogs. They visit and romp and play at granny’s house.

Gibbs. He's bigger now.

Gibbs. He’s bigger now.

And now Gibbs. Jeff got his dream job working for the National Park Service for the season so we have his puppy while he’s away. Gibbs loves everybody, but since I’m spending the most time with him, I think I’ve adopted him. He’s very sweet, but yeah, he’s a puppy, so there are puppy problems sometimes, but mostly he’s a great puppy to have around.

Which Got Me Thinking About Pets As Family

When people do genealogy, they rarely include pets. You don’t put them on your tree. But they are an important part of people’s lives. I wonder if there should be a secondary page in the family record for pets. What do think?

Our Ancestors’ Memories

This Book Made Me Think

contentI just finished The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Actually, I listened to an audiobook that was titled Sophia’s Secret, because it was later retitled. It’s the same book.

A novelist gets caught up in her fictional world. That’s not unusual, believe me. But in this story these are her ancestors and she begins to realize their memories have been passed down to her. There is some mention of “genetic memory” and the possibility that DNA, something we don’t completely understand, could also pass down memories.

Genetic Memory

I don’t know anything about Assassins Creed. It’s a video game and apparently uses this concept as well, but here is a fun summary of what this genetic memory in our DNA is about.

We talk all the time about inheriting traits, saying certain things are in our blood. But this goes a bit further, suggesting that genes might have more influence than we thought. Sure, we will learn skills and have opinions and phobias based on how we were raised, but what if a memory was impressed into our DNA that has nothing to do with our experience? It’s fascinating to think about.3103598269_b377f5d4f4_m

Ancestors’ Memories

Have you ever thought about memories being passed down through DNA? Click To Tweet
Cindy Thomson's grandparents

My grandparents

One of the things I really enjoy about the series Who Do You Think You Are is when the subject of the show realizes that something they know about themselves was evident in previous generations. If they have leadership qualities, it is gratifying to find out an ancestor was a senator or led a woman’s suffrage movement. If someone likes music, how cool to find out an ancestor was the church organist or started a music school. Perhaps, if they are a strong believer in social justice, they find out something about an ancestor that helps explain that strong belief.

Passing it Forward

I’m not sure what science will reveal about DNA and genetic memory in the future, but I think it’s clear today–to those who pay attention–that important traits, strengths, beliefs, are passed down. What do you think?