Starting a Family Newsletter

start a family newsletter for genealogy

How to start a family newsletter

Your existing (and still living) family is one of your most valuable resources for any genealogy research, so don’t squander it. Try to stay in touch with as many people as you can so that you can touch base occasionally and continue to learn about your ancestors from them. Putting together your own family newsletter is a great tool for connecting everyone together.

Just remember that this is an ongoing type of project, not something you toss together because you are trying to harvest some names as a one-shot deal. If you want people to get involved, you have to stick with it. The purpose is to create an ongoing resource for the whole family, not just something your your immediate genealogy needs.

If it seems like too big a project, take it one step at a time:

The Content
Of course, the genealogy student in your will want the whole thing to revolve around history and ancestors. Well, not everyone is going to share your interest and you might find that fewer people are going to be interest. There may be other historians in your family, but I’m guessing that more people will be wanting to read about current personal news, family events, announcements and the sharing of photos. Ask around and see what people want, but basically plan on covering as much current family news as past genealogy research.

Get Others Involved
It will make your job a lot harder if you try to do the entire thing on your own. The best way to find out all the latest family news is to have people let you know, rather than try to seek it out. Each issue should remind folks that you want their stories and photos, and make it really easy for people to reach you. Older relatives will likely prefer a snail-mail option but have email on there too.

How Often?
This is pretty open. Too often and you’ll get overwhelmed trying to constantly be putting it together and postage costs will start to get high. Monthly would be nice but you’ll need a big family who is interested in participating to make that work. Maybe try once per quarter or bi-annually. If you do it too infrequently, then people aren’t going to be too happy hearing about someone’s latest news 8 months later.

Format
These days, digital newsletters are just as common as “old fashioned” paper ones so you do have an option for your family newsletter. Mailed copies will mean supply and postage costs, though it may be more appealing to older relatives who aren’t as comfortable or interested with online documents. You’ll have to make this call yourself. You could always offer 2 formats if you don’t mind recreating your newsletter each time in both styles.