Writing Letters to Connect Generations
Alexis Maurer who writes the blog The Adventures of the Baby Genealogist is sharing a guest blog post about family history for children. I’m excited for you to hear her great ideas! She does a lot of fun things to teach her small children about family history. -Nicole
There is a power in connecting with another person. When we create that special bond in our families, our children and grandchildren are affected for the better. Letter writing can be a powerful way to connect. I feel it is slowly becoming a lost art to actually take the time to write something by hand and express yourself using the written word. I believe we can all take the time to write to someone who means a lot to us. I decided to do this very thing for my two little girls.
Pair handwritten letters with money and you have a great gift! I admittedly saw this idea on Pinterest but I thought it was a great one. You write a letter to your child every year around their birthday and fill the envelopes with money, then when they graduate high school, they have 18 meaningful letters from you and money as a gift.
I thought I would tweek this to make it my own. Even though letters by themselves are family history (we make family history now!), I decided to be more intentional about what I wrote to make it even more meaningful not only for my children, but those who come after. I started with a letter when they were born.
In the first letter, I wrote about their birth story, where we got their name from, and the meaning behind it. We used family names for both of our girls, so I told them about the people they are named after and the legacy they left to our family.
Now, if you are like me, you might be a little behind. I just wrote these and my oldest will be three soon. So, I am just catching up and going from here. If you are more behind than that, then just start where you are! You can always include stories from when they were younger. Too far behind to even do that? Well, just write one longer letter and think about a good time to give it to them.
You can do this for your grandchildren too! I think that would be really neat to have personalized letters written from grandparents. I know I have loved receiving or finding letters. I loved getting letters from my mom and dad growing up. They would write one for Girl’s Camp or Trek and I still treasure their notes to me. I also came across a news article in the Buffalo News, Tuesday August 27, 2015 that talks about the letters of Simon Cummings, an ancestor of my husband’s. He wrote amazing letters telling about his service and events in the Civil War. I so wish to go to Niagra County, New York to view them for myself as they were donated to the Niagra County historian’s office. What an incredible find!
With the future generations in mind, I think it would be a great idea to also scan the letters you write before you seal them up. That way, your children have a digital copy but you can also preserve it for those after as well. If this sounds odd, just think how amazing it would be to find a letter from your second great-grandmother written to your great-grandmother! It would be a really neat find! So, I plan on scanning mine when I get the chance to do so.
Kids can do this too! They can write letters to themselves in the future or to their future kids. Parents can help write the letter if they are younger and let them draw pictures as well. Here is a free printable your kids can use to write a letter to the future generation or to themselves!
I know this is a simple idea, but it could have a big impact! Just find a few minutes to sit down and write to your kids, grand-kids, spouse, or really anyone in your life! Get your kids to do it too. A handwritten note means a lot to us now and for those who follow us. Telling our stories is family history too!