Turkey, Families, and Pictures

I’m taking the easy way out this week, and re-posting my after-Thanksgiving post from last year with just a few changes and additions.   Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I have noticed (as I do every time family comes to my house, but then I forget again) that the painting of my great great grandfather Zebulon Coffin and the various family pictures that I have on my dining room wall elicit interest and questions. “Now, who is this?” “How are we related to…?” “Is this your side of the family or Dan’s?”

conversation I wish I had been in

a conversation I wish I had been in

This picture was taken last year at Thanksgiving. As you can see in the picture, one wall in my dining room is a sort of collage of various family pictures from both my side and my husband’s, some older and some more recent. I don’t think any of the pictures is more recent than about 40 years ago but there is one of my parents and all my siblings along with my mother’s parents and her brother and his family. This was one of our first family vacations that involved travel of any distance as we went from the Midwest to Texas to visit.

Now, like many (all?) genealogists, I have found that if I raise the topic and start asking questions about family history people’s eyes glaze over and they back away.  However, when they look at the pictures as they sit at the table or wander around waiting for dinner they get interested and ask questions.  Some of the questions I can answer and others I can’t (at least not yet).  And people even tell stories or talk about what they remember based on the pictures. That was what was going on in my picture here: stories by people not usually given to talking about their families in this way.

I am not hosting the family dinner this year, so won’t have the advantage of my picture wall to start the conversations. I’ll have to think of some other way to get people to reminisce, without making their eyes glaze over.

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