It’s Family History Month – How To Celebrate With Your Family

Welcome to October – Family History Month! How did that happen so quickly? I know time doesn’t speed up or slow down, but once July 4th comes and goes it seems like the rest of the year just flies by. Let’s see if we can slow things down a bit and make some family memories you’ll cherish forever.

autumn decoration fall field - celebrating Family History Month

Last year I explained how October came to be Family History Month. You can read about that here. This year, why not focus on a few activities (or just one) where you can connect with your family in a new way?

Ancestral Recipe Night:

What better way to explore your family’s history than by sharing ancestral recipes? Each week pick a different cuisine that reflects your family’s heritage, whether it’s Italian, Chinese, Mexican, etc. Maybe you have family nearby and want to come together once a week to share that meal together. Make sure to get the kids involved. You might discover some hidden cooking talents in the family.

    Ancestral Recipe Cookbook:

    Do you own a lot of recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation and now you’re the recipe keeper? Why not devote this month to organizing them into a cookbook for other family members? It would make a great Christmas gift. My dad was the keeper of this cookbook from his aunts.

    old recipe book celebrating Family History Month
    Lemon Butter recipe celebrating Family History Month

    It is torn beyond repair but still has wonderful recipes my mom and I still make, like lemon butter. We made it last year and it was a hit! Read about that here.

    Interview Time:

    Gather your family together and have the younger generation ask questions. These “interviews” can be videotaped for everyone to see. If you’re stumped on what to ask, look at this list from It has some wonderful questions to get the conversation started. My husband interviewed his grandmother before she passed and he cherishes the talk they had.

    Old Family Photo Challenge:

    Get out all the pictures and photo albums and organize a “before and after” challenge. Each family member chooses an old family photo and recreates it as closely as possible. From the clothing to the poses, you’ll have a blast comparing the old and the new. Make sure to take photos of the new.

    Family Storybook:

    For some of the younger kids, have them craft their very own storybook. Provide blank notebook paper and art supplies and ask them to put together stories they’ve heard from your family’s past. You could also do this with poster board and make a “vision board” of what they think their heritage is about.

    Time Capsule Challenge:

    Have your children create their own time capsule filled with letters, drawings, and small mementos. You can bury it in the backyard or just store it away for future generations to find. Make a note to yourself to have a discovery party at the child’s high school or college graduation. Once you dig it up, you’ll have a wonderful time remembering that day.

    Family History Month is an excellent opportunity to connect with your roots on a deeper level, share stories, and strengthen the bond with your loved ones. These activities will not only help you remember the past but will create new and lasting memories for generations to come.

    Genealogy tip: Whatever activity you choose, make this month the time to relive traditions of the past and to start making new ones.

    If you’re just starting your family history or need help continuing it, please give me a call. I’d love to help you with your journey to the past.

    A Day In The Life…

    I love genealogy and can’t wait to make it my full-time gig, but in the meantime, I’m still an over-the-road truck driver with my husband. Sometimes I can do both. This week while sitting for a load, I found the records a client needed for a DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) application. The rest of the week was definitely not business as usual, so this blog will be a little different.

    To set the stage, I’m sitting at a truck stop in central Pennsylvania instead of at my desk…at home. Believe me, I’d much rather be sitting at home!

    Rob and I have a dedicated trucking route we take every week. We drive I95 from New Jersey to Florida (several times). This past Thursday a fault code came up on the dashboard just after I had crossed the Eisenhower Bridge into Virginia. Trucks these days are nothing but sensors; when one goes there’s nothing to do but replace it.

    I had 4 hours of drive time before the truck was going to “derate” or shut down which was enough time to get down to a Kenworth south of Richmond (about 20 minutes from where I grew up). They couldn’t take us right away so we spent the night there and to our surprise, they were quick to fix it the next morning.

    We still had a load to get down to Orlando, so we hit the road and delivered Friday night. Since I also have a background in meteorology, on the drive down I noticed the clouds in North Carolina seemed different. I hadn’t looked at the weather in a few days and was disappointed to see a tropical storm off the coast that would affect our return trip north.

    When you have a light load or an empty trailer, wind is your number one nemesis! So instead of coming back I95 we had to do the I95-I26-I77-I81-I78 foxtrot. The remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia made Virginia and Maryland interesting, but we delivered the empty trailer in Newark just fine and are now back in Pennsylvania waiting our turn for an oil change and alignment. America is one big pothole! We also are taking a mandatory HazMat class for trucking on Monday to get that out of the way. Whew!

    When your office is on 18 wheels and needs servicing, you stop and take care of it. But I’ve had a shower (yeah!!) and am sitting here safe and sound writing about my week to you. Life sometimes throws you a lot of lemons and you have no choice but to make …

    lemon juice on selective focus photography

    I’ve been listening to a YouTuber this week on business skills and I see some wonderful changes coming for Gray Stabley Genealogy Services. Stayed tuned to hear all about them!

    My word for this year is evolve. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the perfect word for me to choose. I have learned so much this year and all while trucking 5 days a week and taking care of a business, a family, and a home. And grateful everyday for all of it!

    If you need some help getting started on your research or have hit a brick wall, click on the button below and tell me all about it. I may be trucking, but I’m here to help you on your journey to the past!

    Do You Know Your Dog’s Family Tree?

    A little over 50 years ago (yikes!) I bought a dachshund and named him Schatzie. Dachshunds have always been my favorite breed of dog. His official name was Gray’s Klein Schatz or Gray’s Little Sweetheart.

    He was the runt of the litter…so tiny, but so adorable. I hadn’t thought about Schatzie in years, but cleaning up my office unearthed a wonderful reminder of a friend I once had.

    When we picked Schatzie up to take him home, I discovered he had his own family tree. It turns out he came from championship stock. His pedigree chart shows three 3x great-grandparents who were once champions…CH Bencelia’s Intent, CH Saber of Gera, and CH Herman V. Tenroc.

    A Google search of “CH Saber of Gera” led me to the website, / . If you want to see a picture of Saber of Gera, go to (I didn’t receive permission to use the picture before posting today’s blog). Even Schatzie’s parents’ names sound impressive…Fermand Von Geissinger and Rosalinde of Rivermont.

    It’s funny I should write about this subject today, as has just announced they have doggie DNA kits. If you want to find out the breed mixture of your canine, you can purchase a kit at a reduced price through the end of September.

    Why would you want to find out about your dog’s DNA? Fun and curiosity are all that come to mind. You may have a mutt and want to find out the breeds that make up your dog. Or perhaps you think you have a purebred and want to make sure.

    Also, your dog may have some peculiar traits (physical or behavioral) and want to find out why. According to Ancestry’s website, genetic DNA testing on dogs can find out those types of things.

    Whatever the reason, tracing your dog’s family line or getting their DNA is another way to bond with your best friend.

    Genealogy tip: Sometimes genealogy just needs to be fun…go find the fun!

    If you’re looking for humans on a pedigree chart, call me. I’d love to help with your journey to the past!