Digital Tools to Help Your Family Stay Connected

mother and daughter skypingLots of laughs, good food and great stories — there’s nothing like getting the family together for a reunion every year. If Aunt Jean can’t take off from work that week, or if Cousin Joe has a business trip he can’t reschedule, no worries. You can still have your family reunion, just by booting up the computer or picking up a mobile device.

Here are some tips to planning a family reunion in the digital age:

Get in some face time with your loved ones. Apps such as Skype, Face Time and Facebook Video Chat can connect you with your family instantly and easily. Google Hangouts take the conversation to the next level, with group chats for up to 10 people at a time for “face-to-face” interaction. It also can let you share documents, images and YouTube videos with other users. Thanks to technology, there’s practically nothing standing between you and a family reunion.

Preserve the memories in a digital scrapbook or CD. Why not create a reunion scrapbook? It can be a wonderful way to combine photographs, letters and souvenirs so that family members can relive the event, whether or not they were able to attend. You could go the traditional paper-and-glue route or create a digital version for viewing online or printing out.

For starters, have family members bring or send their favorite photos or mementos to the reunion. Scan the items with your handheld phone or digital camera, or other scanning device. Take lots of photos of the reunion festivities. You could then use a digital scrapbooking kit and template to assemble all of the elements. Post the reunion scrapbook on Facebook to share with your family and friends. You also could print it out as a coffee-table book or to send to family members as a gift.

family reunion photoIn addition, you could film and record interviews with family members during the reunion. Be sure to ask the senior members about your family’s heritage, such as when an ancestor arrived in this country. Make a CD of the recording to distribute to the family, or post the video on a family website for downloading.

Build a way, way back family tree. For a family reunion that goes back even hundreds of years, letting you “meet” your ancestors, consider building a family tree on Begin with yourself and siblings, and then go back as far as you can on both your father and mother’s side. When you begin a tree, automatically searches through billions of historical records, photos and other Ancestry trees for information about your family. AncestryDNA looks even deeper into your past, up to 1,000 years, showing you where your ancestors most likely came from and uncovering your ethnic origins.

The Digital Age certainly makes family reunions a whole lot easier. We hope these family reunion planning tips do, too.

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