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Sharing family history: Make your Christmas tree a family tree

Your home is the most important place to display and share your family history. The following are a few ideas to consider that are simple and invite family interaction.

Display your family tree

Consider making a large wall chart and including pictures as well as names and other data or information. The family tree can be simple or fancy, including pictures, symbols, art, color and more.

Share heirlooms and photographs

"Holding something that once belonged to an ancestor can be a powerful experience. Pictures and heirlooms make the past come alive," as stated on the FamilySearch website.

  • By displaying photographs and family heirlooms around your home, "family members are constantly reminded of their heritage," the website states.
  • Develop and tell stories and histories about heirlooms and their owners.
  • Pictures are a great way to stimulate memories. Individuals enjoy looking and learning about who is in the picture and discovering his life story. Photographs also "show how clothing and hairstyles have changed over the years."

Decorate your treeMake decorating your Christmas tree a family activity. This year make your holiday tree a family tree by including photos of your living relatives and ancestors. You can purchase ornaments that allow you to insert the photos or create your own ornaments. These ornaments are bound to inspire the sharing of lots of stories and memories. Take note of these to add to your genealogy research.

Editor's note: The original version of this story posted on Dec. 14, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on March 17, 2014, and attribution to original sources were added.

Barry J. Ewell is author of Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History and founder of, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.