Letters and phone calls are wonderful ways to keep tabs on everyone, but thanks to technology, particularly the Internet, you can keep everyone updated and in touch with one another 24/7 through a family website. No more wondering if a loved one got the birthday card you sent on time; and if you're not a fan of phone tag, having a family website may be the perfect solution for you. With a family website, not only are you able to keep in touch with everyone on a regular basis, but you are also building your family's history for future generations!
Chat Rooms and Discussion Boards: New "Letters" of the 21st Century
Do you enjoy genealogy research? If so then you have an idea of how exciting it is to discover a letter that had been written by an ancestor. Old letters are valuable pieces that can help you put together your family history. Your ancestors may have passed on, but the letters they have written can give you a glimpse of the time they lived in, their personality and attitude, what they liked and disliked, and what they thought of the issues during their time. Those old letters bridge the time gap between you and your ancestors.
Even if you haven't thought of being involved in genealogy research, you may still have a pretty good understanding of the value of a handwritten letter. You may be keeping old letters from relatives who have passed on already or letters from your high school friends. Perhaps once in a while, you peek into your yearbook and read the handwritten messages written for you. Why do you keep those letters?
One of the features that your family website can have is a chat room or discussion board where anyone in your family can post messages and keep an ongoing conversation. This discussion board is where you and your family can write your new "letters" for each other. Nothing can beat sending or receiving handwritten letters, but through your family website's discussion board, you and your family can keep constant touch with each other. The best thing is that you are creating something that will someday give your descendants a good glimpse of your family and the time you are living in.
Most family websites include a calendar among its many features. You have the flexibility to add or change this calendar as needed. Forthcoming events like birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, weddings and other special dates can be added any time. Also, remember to record in the online calendar important occurrences in the family like the promotion of a relative, the birth of a new member and other noteworthy incidents.
Add a calendar on your family website and be sure to update it on a regular basis. By doing so, you are creating a living and evolving time line of the current family members for the benefit of future generations. Think of your own difficulties while working on your genealogy research. Wouldn’t it have been a breeze had all the important dates of your ancestors been chronicled in a comprehensive and orderly manner? That is what you are actually doing with the calendar on your family website.
Online Photo Galleries: Living Museums for Future Generation
Finding pictures of your ancestors can be one of the most thrilling breakthroughs in genealogy research. Many have exclaimed, “Oh! So that is how my ancestor looks like!” as they put a face to the name. Photos bring life to the relative, allowing you to create a mental image of the person while you sift through records to find out more about him or her.
A most welcome feature of family websites is the capability to display photographs. You can easily add new pictures every day in the online photo gallery -- photos of new babies right after they are born, photos of weddings and vacations, family photos and any other photos showing family members doing routine tasks. Family members can enjoy looking at the photos and laugh at funny shots of family members. Moreover, by uploading photos and displaying them in the photo gallery in your family website, you are creating a living museum for both present and future generations. Your descendants need not search further when they study their own genealogy; they can look at the photos on your family website's photo gallery and feel the connection with their ancestors.
Do not disregard the silly, every day photos; they are important in that they will allow future generations a glimpse of your personality as well as those of other family members. Don't be embarrassed to show photos of you wearing a shirt from the inside out or you with a bucket stuck on your head when you were five. These are the kind of photos that will be more than appreciated as these were precious moments of you “living life to the fullest.” Be sure to include those portraits of family members as well as group pictures of the entire family taken by professional photographers.
Your family website makes an excellent repository for all the information you have collected about your family. You can archive information about the entire family to include both the living and the deceased. Enjoin everyone in the family to write their own personal histories and post them on the family website. Each new generation can add to the family history section while the elders can regularly update theirs. Over time, you will be creating a complete and very relevant living history of your family. Your descendants will thank you for that.