A family newsletter is one way to help keep families closer. It is a way for parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins and close friends to know what is happening in your life. Things that you may want to share with everyone; such as religious events, marriages, engagements, school activities, a new job, a new car or just saying “Hi” or “I Miss You”, or “I Love You”.
Your newsletter can also include pictures. This is especially wonderful if a family member lives far away. It will help them stay connected with everyone. Everyone loves looking at pictures – grandparents are very excited when receiving pictures of the grandkids! Don’t just send a picture – write a small story to tell what is happening inside the photo.
Anyone who has a computer and internet capabilities can do a family newsletter. While there are internet sites with packages designed to assist with family newsletters, I am choosing to keep mine simple and free. I use Microsoft Word, but even a simple notepad will work.
I am inviting you to join me in starting a family newsletter. As we do this together, I am hoping it will bring your families and friends closer together. I will have a series of articles to help when doing your family newsletters. If you have any suggestions that you have tried or think will make this a fun experience, please share your ideas with me.
These are suggestions for getting started:
1. Write down some questions to email/mail to your family. Follow up in about two weeks to encourage them to participate. (Some questions will be in a follow-up article)
2. When you receive your answers, decide how you want your newsletter to be set up. I am putting a name at the top with current date. Idea: Have a contest to decide what to name your newsletter! Since you are the one sending out the newsletter, maybe you can write a short message first. Then, divide the newsletter up by families telling everyone what is going on with each individual family (using the questionnaire you received)
3. After you have written the newsletter, send it out to everyone. For those family members who do not have computers, mail it to them. Remember all families: college kids, siblings who have moved away, single members, children who may not be living in a family member’s home due to divorce, and those who are serving our country in the military or serving a mission for their church.
4. Follow up with families to see if they have ideas on what they would like to see in the newsletter. One idea is to share who does the newsletter; someone else in the family may want to help you. There are a lot of different ways to do this; choose what works best for you.
If someone does not wish to participate in the family newsletter, respect their wishes. Tell them that although they do not wish to answer the questionnaire and participate, would they still like to receive the newsletter. Then, go from there. From my experience, most families love reading about what everyone is doing and seeing any photos posted.
I am very excited about starting my family newsletter. I hope as we do this together we will feel closer to our families. Save a copy of each newsletter for your genealogy data. This is a great way to learn information for your genealogy records as you write about births, marriages, deaths and activities your family will be doing!