7 Ways Thanksgiving Dinner Is Like Genealogy Research

I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving week already! Where has this year gone?

Since we will be working through Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to invite family and friends over to the house a little early. So yesterday, we had a wonderful day eating good food and getting together with those we love.

But as I prepared dinner, I thought about how it compares to genealogy research. I geek out on this stuff sometimes!

Here are my 7 ways Thanksgiving dinner is like genealogy research:

Thanksgiving dinner takes planning. I bought the turkey last Tuesday, hoping that was enough time to thaw. I made up the menu and a list of all the necessary ingredients for the big day. Not one detail will go unnoticed. Genealogy also takes careful planning. Once I know my research goal, I look for the records that may answer that question and go through them one by one. The planning step is the foundation for a good dinner and good genealogy research.

I may use the back of the can for the pumpkin pie, but I use my grandmother’s recipe for chocolate pie (for those who don’t like pumpkin). Family recipes are just as important as family stories. Thanksgiving and genealogy allow us to honor them both. At the end of the meal, the chocolate pie was just about gone and the pumpkin pie had not been touched. It’s that good…

I don’t know about you, but I have the worst time figuring out how to get the food on the table at the same time, while everything is hot. Assembling the dinner requires a bit of organization. Genealogy is the same way. You have to assemble the pieces of evidence you collect and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle to make sense of the story they are telling.

Do you ever try a new recipe for Thanksgiving? Discovering new things can become a tradition in your family. Genealogy also brings us the joy of discovery – a new ancestor or record collection. Who doesn’t get excited at that?

Not a Thanksgiving goes by where we don’t tell stories. It’s a wonderful way to remember those who have passed and keep their spirit alive. Genealogy is all about ancestors’ stories. The kids at the dinner table may not remember them all, but there will be one that will stick in their heads. So, tell plenty of stories!

Reuniting generations is one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. People travel great distances to be with loved ones on this day. In our family, the furthest someone had to travel was about 70 miles and I’m so happy they did. Yesterday, the ages ranged from 1 to 86. I love that! Genealogy is also a connection of generations. It’s a way to link descendants to their ancestors and preserve legacies.

Both Thanksgiving and genealogy make you feel grateful – for the delicious meal and rich heritage. They remind us to cherish the present and the past. I have fond memories of my grandparents visiting for Thanksgiving. Like the year we didn’t have room in the fridge for the turkey. It was cold enough outside, so it stayed in the trunk of my grandfather’s Buick until we cooked it.

I love doing genealogy. It’s my passion and if you’re reading this, it’s probably yours too. But it’s the people who are in our lives now that really matter, making new memories. This is what ties us all together…family and stories. A celebration.

(I did take a group picture and wanted to include it here, but it was awful! I need more selfie practice. Ha!)

Genealogy tip: Time is precious, so enjoy Thanksgiving with your loved ones and remember to pass along the stories and traditions to the next generation.

Call me if you need some help with your genealogy research. We can work together to find your ancestors and preserve their past. Leave a comment below and tell me how you will celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

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