It’s that time of year: The family newsletter

It’s that time of year: The family newsletter

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Well, it is November.  That means I am a month behind on putting together my yearly family newsletter.  Normally, it’s procrastination that grabs hold of me.  September rolls around and I think it would be a great time to get ahead.  In October, I’m thinking about it, but it isn’t until November that I get moving.  I do have an excuse this year.  In August my website was hacked and in September my Mom’s laptop crashed.  I had almost two months devoted to repairing technological problems.  But, I have started…and I’m half way there.

You might be thinking “How hard can a family Christmas newsletter be?”  Well, considering the fact that I don’t do anything easy, it can be pretty darn hard.

This isn’t your normal “what we did throughout the year” newsletter.  This is a family history newsletter for my Pacheco de Braga clan.  I started it about 10 years ago as a way to say thanks to all my cousins who throughout the year send me information on their family, share stories, answer my questions, and send me old photographs.  It’s a way to keep our history alive and to try to keep a thread of connection between the cousins who are still on this planet.

The newsletter is broken up into two section.  The first section is current news.  I have my cousins tell me about the birth, deaths, marriages, retirements, new jobs, achievements, and so forth that their family has experienced throughout the year.  There is also a section for thoughts and prayers for anyone in the family who may be ill, injured, etc.  This section is “newsie”.

I include milestone birthdays (80 years old and older) and anniversaries (50 years and more).  A couple of years ago, I added a “Meet the Cousin” column about 4 years ago.  In this column, I feature a cousin and tell some tidbits about their life.  I try to go back and forth between the two sides so as to not favor one group over the other.

This part of the newsletter is usually about a page and a half long.

The second section is all about family history.  I tell about my recent genealogy adventures.  (Hey, I’ve got a captive audience!)  I then include some items that I’ve transcribed.  For instance, last year I included a section on the people who came to Hawaii, their children, and the education level recorded in the 1940 Census.  I got good feedback on that.  People were fascinated to find that many of their Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents only received 3 or 4 years of schooling.  There were very few high school graduates.

This year I will be including some items I found in an old Kauai newspaper.  I will also include more from the 1940 Census.  This year will be occupations and the salaries earned.  I also have an item about the Kilauea Sugar Plantation from about 1910.

All in all, the newsletter about 4 pages long.  And, it is a lot of work!  So much so, that I really should begin writing it in January.  But, sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out what I want to include and how I want to present it.

I believe the newsletter is well received.  I get new requests for copies through the grapevine each year.  I find it nice to know that people pass it along to their relatives and that it is read by people of many ages.  Thank goodness for email!  I now send out most copies in PDF format via email.  I couldn’t afford the postage on the 100+ copies.

I have kept every copy.  Someday it would make a nice book filled with information about everyone today and everyone from 100 or more years ago.

And now, I really need to type up that list of occupations 🙂



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