October is Family History Month. As we deal with plenty of families and their memories and mementoes at Load of Rubbish, we understand only too well how important holding onto those memories is. People like to know where they have come from for lots of reasons—from pride or health-related issues, to helping people figure out who they are today. One’s family history is so important and Load of Rubbish is honoured every time we get invited into family’s histories. Estate cleanups are a major part of our work for good reason. We all have plenty of baggage in our histories. But we never share yours. Shhh!

Family History Month

Why is family important? As noted, learning more about our past helps us to better understand who we are today. Whether you want to know your family’s medical history, to gauge risk factors for medical diseases or disorders, or perhaps you want to know family longevity as a whole, digging into the rest of your family’s history is the first step. Knowing your family’s health history goes a long way to protecting and improving your own. Your medical history is just one aspect of genealogy though. For many, there is pride in knowing who previous family members were; ie. kings, famous writers, baseball players, painters, etc. Maybe you also show an aptitude in one of those areas that harkens back through the family line. Even matters of land ownership are tied into family history, as some properties get handed down from generation to generation. Not to mention locations where family members have lived. How long has your family lived in this country and where in the world do your roots take you to?

Digging into your history opens up a whole new world.

How to Celebrate Family History Month

family tree

For starters, you can celebrate family history any time. October is a great time to start the process if you haven’t already though. Here are some things you can do to begin:

  • Compile a list of documents and photographs – Documents are a great place to start digging into who is part of your family tree and where they all fit in. Gather dates, places lived, important milestones, and anything else you come across. Photographs give visual proof and help you to look for resemblances. Plus, they might spark forgotten stories to add to your history tale.
  • Call or sit down with family members to collect stories – If you are lucky enough to have older family members, reach out to them to gather stories while you can. Ask about where they lived, other family members who might have already passed, or significant events in their lives. While you gather those details, you just might forge stronger bonds too!
  • Head to the library to gather historical data – The library is a great resource for historical data. You can start online, but digging through old microfiche files for nuggets of information which only exists in hardcopy has a place in your research too.
  • Join a genealogical website to discover more history – There are so many genealogical websites around, many with DNA databases included. With a little digging, you can see where your family comes from and what they got up to.

Don’t Let the Memories Stagnate

While you might uncover a wealth of information about your family history, you don’t want to become bogged down by it all. Unless you have room to store boxes and boxes of old documents, photographs, and other mementoes, you need to figure out a way to compile that information in a reasonable manner. In today’s day and age, we have the luxury of digital photography and unlimited cloud storage at our disposal. Use it. Some items might have more importance, but others might just as easily be photographed to add to a master genealogical document. With proper headings and folders, you can easily filter through information to gather what you need at a moment’s notice too.

Gone are the days of musty boxes piled in dank basements. Protect those memories so future generations can access them too and leave the excess stuff to our experts to dispose of in a sensitive manner—we handle estate cleanouts regularly and work with family members to ensure all your cherished mementoes are handled with dignity. It can be a big job digging through a family tree, so take all the help you can get.

Happy Family History Month! Good luck in your search up the family tree!