"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 21 Dec 2000

"Holiday Fun & Start Planning Your Family Reunion"

Spending time with family is a huge part of holiday fun. It's also a great chance to carry over last century's traditions and experiment with new ones. Make the most of the opportunity!

You can be the talk of the holiday table by remembering to include your traditional family holiday recipes. One of our family favorites is my grandmother’s Old Fashion Eggnog recipe. This is a must have for opening packages on Christmas Eve. Make one batch with brandy and one without for the children and teens.

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Grandmother’s Old Fashion Eggnog

12 eggs, separated
1 & ˝ cups sugar
1 quart whole milk
1 pint brandy
1 quart light cream
3/4 cup light rum (optional)
˝ teaspoon nutmeg

Cover and refrigerate egg whites until needed; beat yolks until thick in a large bowl; add sugar, a little at a time, and beat until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in milk, alternately with brandy; cover and chill 3 to 4 hours.

About a half-hour before serving, take egg whites from the refrigerator. Just before serving, beat yolk mixture well, add cream and, if you like, rum. Whip egg whites into soft peaks and fold into yolk mixture. Pour into a well-chilled punch bowl and sprinkle with nutmeg. Makes 36 servings.

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Or, you can take the easy way out and pick-up several half-gallons of Eggnog at the HEB, but you lose the flavor of homemade and sharing the “how to” with your children and grandchildren.

Importantly, take the time to write-out or type your family recipes. Make photocopies of your recipes and pass them out to your family members. Be sure to include them in your family tree and genealogy files. Because someday, someone will remember that great apple cake or grandmother’s fruit salad and with just a taste, one bite and the flood of all your family and childhood memories come back to life!

Next, remember where you put the portable cassette tape-recorder. When you are at Wal-Mart or K-Mart be sure and pick-up extra blank tapes and batteries. Why?

You want to be sure and recorded any older family members to gather more information about your family history. You want to be able to listen to their voices and memories in the years to come when they are no longer with us to enjoy the holidays.

You should also consider videotaping these interviews with that new camera!

Not sure what to ask in the interview? Go to the “Biographic Assistant” at: http://www.familytreemaker.com/bio/index.html and you will find questions to ask during your interview. Or, ask your local librarian to recommend a book on oral history techniques and questions.

Next, ask your family about planning a family reunion. If you have one every year, now is a good time to start making committee assignments. Do not put it together by yourself!

If you do not have an annual family reunion, start one in 2001! It is never too early to begin planning or like Santa Claus, begin making your “to do lists” and start checking them twice.

Timing is everything. Select your date now and then you will know exactly how many days, weeks or months you have to put together the event. Starting with an outline on paper is important so you avoid complications and the “oh, I forgot” along the way.

Get a 2001 calendar, mark the date of the reunion and begin planning by working backwards to determine what you should be doing weeks from now. After choosing a date, the first major decision will be where to hold the reunion. You might consider several dates because the location may not be available on the date of your first choice.

If your reunion is always in the same location, you just need to make sure it is available on your date. However, if this is your first reunion, selecting a location may not be as easy as it sounds. If your reunion is next summer, a decision needs to be made immediately before all the dates you selected are gone.

To help defray costs, one of the best souvenirs to sell at your reunion are T-shirts. Be sure to start planning early to be sure the T-shirts will arrive in time for your reunion. You must decide upon a design, lettering and T-shirt colors. Some T-shirts are simple, others have designs, but decisions must be made and your order placed early.

Next, is your reunion going to be a pot-luck-covered dish or should you hire a caterer to prepare the food and charge a fee to those attending?

Remember to include genealogy and family history at your reunion. Display and feature your family tree. Be sure to include photographs and other artifacts. If you need help with planning a reunion, ask your local librarian to recommend a book to help you with this project.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 3 Jan 2001 and was last revised on ___________

Copyright © 1999, 2001 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604