Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Thanksgiving and Family History


Thanksgiving is a great time of year to gather all the family together. But have you thought about how the holiday can help with your family history research? Read our guide to find out more!

Celebrating Thanksgiving often means seeing distant family members you haven’t seen for a long time or even meeting new additions to your family. The holiday is a chance for several generations of your family to be in the same room and the opportunities this presents could be a goldmine for any family history researcher!


Playing such a significant part of Thanksgiving, it’s likely that your family will have their own traditions. That could be perfecting your great-grandmother’s recipe in the kitchen or dusting off the board games.

If you’re an advanced family history researcher, turning your discoveries into a traditional game can be a fun way to show off your impressive knowledge and keep the family entertained. For newbies looking to get started, it’s likely you’ll find a lot of starting points or areas where you can fill in your genealogy gaps in a room full of family.

Why not prepare a family history trivia game to play on Thanksgiving? You could ask questions you already know the answer to if you want to share your interesting family findings or use it as an opportunity to get your research off to a great start.

Swapping stories

Thanksgiving can be a busy time, especially if you are the one hosting! While it’s not possible for you to involve yourself in every conversation going on around you, it can be handy to keep a notebook in your pocket to jot down any interesting tales you hear that you can always ask more questions on later.

Conversation starters

Even if you’re a close bunch, family gatherings are not without those awkward moments when you’re struggling to find common ground.

The notebook suggestion can be useful here if you’ve noted down anything interesting you could ask questions on. Or perhaps your research holds ways to engage in conversation. For example, if you’ve discovered that your great-uncle had an unusual occupation, now is the perfect time to ask great-aunt Martha about it!

Extending your family tree

Chatting with relatives can often reveal things you didn’t know about them, and you might discover that you’re not the only genealogy enthusiast in the family. This can be an excellent opportunity not just for families to come together but for you to combine your research too and uncover another part of your past.

Inspiring the younger generation

Not everyone will show interest in your genealogy findings, but family gatherings are a good way for the younger members of your family to get involved. To someone who has no knowledge of your family tree, interacting with several generations and hearing their stories might make them want to learn more about their past.

Starting your family history journey

If you’ve never investigated your family tree before, being surrounded by family at Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to start!

Here are some resources to get you started:

Check out how you’re all related to each other with our relationship calculator

Record those precious family details with our free family tree charts

We’d like to wish all our American cousins a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Back to "Getting Started" Category

20/11/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

How to find your UK ancestors using adoption records

Do you have an ancestor in your family tree who was adopted? This needn't prove too much of a stumbling block ...

Using Family Tree Analyzer to identify errors on your family tree

FT Analyzer is a free service that allows you to upload a GEDCOM file and have your family tree checked for ...

Stuck on your family history? June Bridges

Stuck on your family history? ...

Stuck on your family history? Elizabeth Jones

Come along to Family Tree Live and get one-to-one expert help from a professional researcher to help solve ...

Other Articles

How to trace Caribbean family history - 'Finding your way home'

It was at his mum’s bedside in intensive care, that Adrian Stone took the first step to tracing his roots. ...

4 free websites to trace Freemason ancestors

Do you have ancestors who were Freemasons? Try these websites to begin researching their lives ...

How family history inspired my writing: from the River Kwai to the Thames

Ann Bennett reveals how she was inspired by her family history to write and publish her novels ...

Free downloads to help you organise & display your family history

These free downloadable family history sheets go with the 10 top family history projects in the April 2019 ...