107 NE Monroe Peoria, Illinois 61602-1070


By Amber Lowery

A couple of years ago, while in the depths of researching genealogy, I got to thinking about family traditions.  As the season of family gatherings approaches, it’s no wonder the topic of family traditions circles back to my mind of late. Oddly enough, I could not identify any traditions that we had. I considered the fact that perhaps what we did was so...normal to me, I didn’t consider it a tradition. But then, I thought about other families who talk about their traditions and the more I thought on it, the more I came to the conclusion that I needed more information. So I did what everyone does in this situation. I talked to my mom. 

When even she had trouble naming specific things, we went further afield and called my aunt. As it turns out, we have a couple of unique traditions. But how does this relate to genealogy? Simple, traditions are ways we have of doing things, celebrating events, or preparing a meal together that were passed down in our families. Perhaps it is using Aunt Mabel’s recipe for stuffing, spending Thanksgiving sorting out the Christmas decorations, or reading a family classic with everyone together. (Taking bets on whether or not Uncle Charlie needs the fire extinguisher this year, is probably not a good example of a tradition.) What did our grandparents and great-grandparents do to prepare for this season? With all the upcoming social gatherings and family obligations, now is the time to ask these questions of the family members you may not get to see every day. Ask Aunt Mabel what her secret is to her exceptional stuffing. Then when you’ve gathered your stories, come down to the library and check out a book on how to preserve those traditions that your family looks forward to every year. Stay and research other traditions we may have forgotten over the years. Be thankful for this time with your family, however you choose to spend it. Oh, and my family’s traditions? For Thanksgiving, we have macaroni and cheese with chicken nuggets….and that’s not just for the kids’ table.


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