Though the formal initiative is being launched in the UK, I think it's a "brilliant" idea for those of us living on this side of the pond also.
Spending time with family during the holiday period can be a great opportunity to start building your family tree. Or for those who’ve already started their family tree, work on filling in gaps and do listen closely to those family stories. Not only are they interesting to hear, but they often contain details that you can verify through research.
With a bit of tweaking to some of the proffered suggestions (e.g., substitute 1910 and 1900 censuses for 1911 and 1901 censuses, etc.), these are a great way to get started on your family tree or maybe fill in a few gaps.
Several UK websites are participating and they each offer up daily tips, recommendations, and suggestions for how you might discover more about your ancestors in fun and exciting ways. And, each website offers its own unique suggestions. So, do sample a few of them in the course of the week.
Whether you have UK ancestry or not, these “bite-size activities for each day and helpful guides and charts to fill in” [per FindMyPast.co.uk] are a fun way to capitalize on family gatherings over the holidays and may even prevent some of those colorful family squabbles that have marked past holiday gatherings.
Here is the full UK news release.
Start Your Family Tree Week runs from 26 December 2010 until 1 January 2011
The 26th December 2010 will see the launch of the UK's first ever family history awareness campaign, Start Your Family Tree Week, at a time when family is at the forefront of the nation's minds. Taking part in Start Your Family Tree Week are www.findmypast.co.uk, www.GenesReunited.co.uk, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Eneclann, the Society of Genealogists, My History, BBC Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, Your Family Tree and Family Tree magazine and the week is supported by the Federation of Family History Societies and the UK's digital champion Martha Lane Fox.
FindMyPast Tips Overview
Although the popularity of family history has grown dramatically in the UK over the past decade, with 42% of the population now saying they have started researching their ancestors, one in three people say they would like to start delving into their family's past but have no idea where to begin*. Start Your Family Tree Week has been launched to encourage people to discover more about their ancestors in a fun and exciting way. The week, which will run until the 1st January 2011, will show people how to take their first steps in family history research with free guides and charts to download, competitions, special offers on participating websites and daily family history activities for all the family.
Further details on Start Your Family Tree Week can be found at:
Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at findmypast.co.uk, said: "Start Your Family Tree Week will help people make the most of Christmas family gatherings to pass on their family memories across the generations, and to share in brand new discoveries by using online family history resources. The Internet has made it so much easier to trace your family tree and learn about your family's own unique story, full of colourful, real-life characters from the past. Every family has its intrigues, well-kept secrets, and heart-warming tales, and I believe we could soon see family history becoming the traditional Christmas pastime for all the family."
Rhoda Breakell, head of Genes Reunited, comments: "Grannies sinking sherries, dads taking an afternoon nap, and siblings squabbling is a typical Christmas Day for most, but it makes you wonder whether your family has always been like that. With this year's yuletide festivities just around the corner it's a great time for you to think about your family's roots. Start Your Family Tree Week is an ideal time to start exploring your family history, whether it's tracing great-grandparents' names, searching military records, or even discovering that you have a famous sportsperson in your gene pool, the resources and offers available from 26th December will make it an easy and fun journey."
Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion comments: "I think findmypast.co.uk's'Go ON: Start Your Family Tree Week' is a great idea. Whilst the internet has become a gateway to the future for many it is also an amazingly powerful tool for uncovering the past and reconnecting people in ways that were once unimaginable. Christmas is the perfect time for families to explore their history and encourage older relatives to go online for the first time - I hope that this initiative is a great success and urge everyone to get involved."
Else Churchill, Genealogist at The Society of Genealogists added: "The Society of Genealogists has been helping people discover their roots for 100 years. Hence we are delighted to support Start Your Family History Week and introduce as many as we can to the fascinations of genealogy."
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