If you have family gatherings coming up (Thanksgiving and other holidays), then this is the perfect time to brainstorm with family and record some memories related to family and traditions. Parents, spouses, and siblings reminiscing is a wonderful way to get ideas for stories to record.
Three great sites to check out while you’re visiting with family are WhatWasThere.com, TheClio.com, and HistoryPin.org. Each of these sites allows you to upload photos and descriptions and pin them to locations. Remembering what your hometown looked like back in the day can spur a lot of memories and stories and help you better understand each others’ lives and history.
- WhatWasThere.com provides a free platform “where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world (or at least any place covered by Google Maps). So wherever you are in the world, take a moment to upload a photograph and contribute to history!”
- TheClio is a website and an app (iPhone or Android) for making historical entries on maps across the United States. This site “guides the public to thousands of historical and cultural sites throughout the United States. Built by scholars for public benefit, each entry includes a concise summary and useful information about a historical site, museum, monument, landmark, or other site of cultural or historical significance.”
- Historypin.org is a helpful website for genealogists and family history researchers. It integrates with Google Maps and allows users to pin photos and stories to a specific area or map location. This is a free website but also offers services for a fee, including a devoted mobile app for your city or organization showing only your content, story gathering services, and more.
WhatWasThere.com, TheClio.com, and HistoryPin.org are three great websites to visit while you’re gathering with family this holiday season.
And if you need a way to involve the children, pull out a solid colored picnic table cloth (the heavier, washable version vs. the throw away plastic sheeting) and let older kids draw a map of the city on the plastic side of the cloth and let younger children crawl around the cloth with matchbox or hot wheels type cars, driving from one venue to another.
Here’s an example of a pre-purchased fabric map, but you can keep younger family busy creating something similar for your own hometown.
Best with your family history!