Summer is a popular time for family reunions. Big or small though, they're a lot of work for the organizers. If you're looking for a way to help -- and be a the most popular one there -- consider this bringing a family tree with you. Here's how...
1) Have a tree made showing past generations
This is an easy task especially if the research has already been done. You can plan to map out the different branches and print out multiple copies for your relatives. And don't feel bound by traditional layouts. You can include photos, special information about individuals on the tree, and even contact information for current generations.
2) Leave room for updates
Having a hard copy of a tree means you can take the opportunity to correct mistakes and make updates. This is especially true for living relatives who may have marriages, divorces, births and deaths to add.
3) Identify information gaps on your tree
What do you do if you can't find information about Grandma Sue's first husband? Leave an extra blank box and ask around during the reunion. You may be able to fill in many gaps in this manner.
4) Create a list of people for whom you don't have a photo
You can also make special notes about ancestors, or living relatives, for whom you'd like a photo. Unless your family has been unusually good about scanning and sharing photos, many of your ancestors' pics are probably sitting in one relative's attic or photo album. This is your chance to try and get a copy.
5) Promise to share the tree after reunion
Once the reunion is over and you have updated the tree with photos and other new data, you can easily share the tree electronically for family members who want a copy.
Sites like Ancestry.com don't share information about living members in a family tree. Providing a hard copy or electronic copy of a current family tree to your relatives will be a wonderful asset in general and a great conversation point for the reunion itself.