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 🙂
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com