February is deep in the coldest part of winter. While the days are starting to get longer, it’s not exactly spring-like yet. With Valentine’s Day, along with this unique annual weather, February is the perfect time to tackle a bevy of genealogy projects, like these 10 “must-do” ones.
1. Genealogy Valentines
If you are going to be sending Valentine cards out to your relatives anyway, why not make them genealogy Valentines? Consider what ancestors would have the most personal meaning to the individuals who will be receiving cards from you. Then, make a copy of a photo of that ancestor and glue or paste it to the front of the card stock paper you’re using to make the Valentine. Use markers, decorative ink stamps, and other decorations from paper to add a border for the photo on each Valentine. Write a meaningful message inside, along with a little bit of information about that ancestor and their connection to your relative receiving the card. Send the cards in large envelopes so you don’t have to fold the photos.
2. Traditional Family Candy Recipes
Look through old family cookbooks and recipe cards for candy and cake recipes. Valentine’s Day is, after all, a day when people celebrate by eating sweets. Why not do it the traditional way your family used to do it? Make a few of the recipes and share them with your loved ones, telling them the stories behind the treats and how they connect with your family history.
3. Research Old-Fashioned Valentine’s Day Family Traditions
How did your ancestors celebrate Valentine’s Day? Did you ever wonder? Now is the time to do a little historical research to discover how your ancestors celebrated the day of romance. It’s definitely changed many times over the centuries, and the ways it was celebrated were often regional. Looking into the way your own ancestors likely celebrated, or actually celebrated (if you have an old diary or letters that describe it) will add some rich details to your family tree.
4. Valentine Mosaic of Your Ancestors
While you’re working with old family photos on the genealogy Valentine’s Day cards, make additional copies of them to create a nice mosaic of your ancestors. You can even include photos of ancient ancestors who no one in your family today actually knew in person. Include fun borders around each photo with a little bit of information about the ancestors on them, and arrange them on a cardstock backing, attaching them with archival safe glue. Look at a craft store for a heart-shaped frame, or have one custom made. Then, put the mosaic in it and put it up on your wall, or give it as a gift to a special relative who will love it.
5. Write Mini-Biographies of Ancestors with February Birthdays
This is a fun addition to your family tree. Choose ancestors you have not concentrated on much in your research who have birthdays in February. Spend the month getting your research started on them, and include your findings in mini-biographies of them in your family tree notes. You can continue to add to the biographies until they become full ones as you continue your research into these ancestors throughout the year. This is a perfect way to get started on researching ancestors you haven’t had a chance to work on yet, but have been wanting to.
6. Make Travel Plans for Upcoming Genealogy Conferences
Most of the big genealogy conferences around the nation take place in the spring and the summer. That makes February the perfect time to make your travel plans for the conferences you are planning on attending. You’ll be making your plans earlier than most other attendees, so you will get the best rates on plane and train travel, hotels, and car rentals. You may even get a discount on registration fees for the conference if you register for it way ahead of time, such as now. – Learn More
7. Work on Lineage Society Paperwork
If you are joining a lineage society, the long, dark, snowy days of winter in February are the perfect time to work on them. The weather makes it a hassle to go out for all but the most necessary errands, and doing lineage society paperwork takes a lot of time and effort. Work on it now, and you’ll likely get a lot done and get way ahead on the research, bringing you that much closer to being accepted as a member of the society of your choice. – Learn More
8. Join a New Genealogical Organization
Winter is perfect for trying new things that don’t involve going outside. There are plenty of genealogical organizations out there, and you probably belong to at least one. If you don’t, or if there are some you haven’t yet joined, now is the time to research them and see what each one can do for you in exchange for your membership fees. Choose one or more that you believe will give you the best research value for your dollar and join it, or them. You’ll have a new avenue of research to explore, and you can spend the month getting acquainted with the sources the society offers and learning how to use them. You may even add a few ancestors to your family tree, just from membership in the society alone. – Learn More
9. Write Another Chapter in Your Family History Book
Each month, write another chapter on your family history book. Do this consistently, and the book will actually get done one day, rather than be a project you leave unfinished. If you’ve finished your book, consider starting another one on another branch of the family. – Learn More
10. Read a New Genealogy or History Book
Just like writing a new chapter on your family history book each month keeps you on track to getting it done, reading a new genealogy research book or history book pertaining to your ancestors each month keeps you up to date on the newest techniques you need to add more people to your family tree. – Learn More
Will Moneymaker founded Ancestral Findings back in 1995. He has been involved in genealogy research for over 20 years. The thrill of the hunt, the adventure, and the excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his surname. Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!)