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It’s Family History Month, celebrate!

October is officially Family History Month here in the U.S. Cherishing family ties has traditionally been very important to Southern folks. Even with our busy modern lives, there are still ways to stop, celebrate and enjoy your own family history and share it with your family members.

Share a family recipe

The local historical society made a wise choice when it decided to create a Butler County heirloom cookbook as a special remembrance of its 40th anniversary year. So many people enjoy collecting those &uot;tried and true&uot; recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

&uot;People really do love these great ol’ family recipes. They love reading the stories behind them. You really are passing on part of your family history when you share the recipes with others,&uot; says Annie Crenshaw, who edited &uot;A Taste of Butler County&uot;, the BCHGS’s new cookbook.

You probably have at least one favorite family recipe from your own growing up years.

While you may have trouble putting your hands on your mom’s much dog-eared favorite cookbook or grandma’s battered old recipe file,the chances are good you can recall many of the ingredients that went into your favorite foods – Granny’s flaky buttermilk biscuits, Aunt Lillie’s special ambrosia – as you watched them being made with tender loving care.

You might want to visit the Greenville-Butler County Public Library, or pay a visit to a bookstore and browse through the cookbooks. You just might find a copy of a comparable recipe with most, if not all, of the ingredients you fondly remember.

If you have access to the Internet, there are thousands of recipe websites you can search for a particular recipe. If the recipes you find happen to be missing that &uot;secret ingredient&uot;, try a search for the recipe title and the name of the ingredient, and you just might get lucky.

Consider preparing the dish for your family and friends once you locate the recipe. That way, you can give them a wonderful and delicious family food memory.

Consider creating extra recipe cards – as simple or as decorative as you like, using an original drawing, a family photo or a piece of clipart – then sharing your recipe with others for future generations.

Who knows? You may enjoy the project so much you’ll decide to create your own family cookbook!

Share family photos

Isn’t there one in every house? We’re referring to that shoe box or other cast-off cotainer, the one stuffed full of old family photos just begging to be sorted through and labeled.

Family History Month is a perfect time to get together one evening or weekend with other family members to share stories.

So why not bring out those photos, pass them around, swap tales and (while you’re at it) label and properly store those photographic treasures? As memories fade and loved ones pass away in the years to come, you’ll be very glad you did.

Here some tips to keep in mind while you are working on your family photo project:

n Always use acid-free materials when archiving photos. Label paper photos with archival-quality pens and markers. These types of materials can generally be found in the scrap booking departments of major discount and craft supply stores.

n Don’t forget about those digital photos many of us have these days. Devise a labeling system or index with file name and description. You can either burn the photos (and the index) to a CD or buy one of several photo-album software programs available.

n If you are planning a family scrapbook album, consider having high-quality photocopies made of your original photos to use in the album in place of the originals.

Share your family memories

As Historical Society President Barbara Middleton says, &uot;Every person has a story to tell…and you don’t need to be famous or rich or have done big things.&uot;

Starting and keeping a personal/family journal is a real opportunity to create a lasting legacy for your descendants. As author Lois Daniel writes, &uot;Write about yesterday. Write about today, which will become the history of tomorrow…put the words on paper which will prevent your life and the lives of other members of your family from slipping into oblivion.&uot;

You can find lined or blank bound journals at bookstores, the stationery departments of discount stores, office supply stores and at retailers on the Internet. You can even write on legal pads or assignment notebooks – whatever works best for you.

Once you purchase a journal or notebook, make a commitment to fill at least one page a week. The journal can become a &uot;prompt&uot; in the years to come to focus on the details of what you’ve done, experienced and felt today.

Author Madeleine L’Engle encourages us &uot;to honor our stories and tell them too. The tales may not seem so important, but they are what binds families and makes us who we are.&uot;

Share a family cookout

Our nice weather often lasts well into the fall in this part of the country, so why not consider a family get-together outdoors? We don’t want to wear the subject out, but the enjoyment of food does create some great family memories.

You can enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, shrimp or sausage. Along with roasted vegetables, these foods can all be easily prepared on the grill.

Consider working off some of those tasty calories by tossing around the pigskin, playing volleyball or bringing out the old croquet set. Get the whole gang involved in play. If the weather takes a turn for the worst, have a &uot;cook-in&uot; instead and enjoy playing cards and board games together. (And don’t forget to take some photos of the event and jot details about it in your journal – it’s all history in the making, you know).

This Family History Month, do take some time and effort to celebrate with your family while you make fun new memories – and preserve treasured old ones.