Write or update your family history
Capture a relative’s colorful past for the next generation
When my daughter, Kelly, was in fifth grade, she (and I) interviewed her great-grandmother (my grandmother), Margaret Carson Waugh, for for a school project. Margaret Carson’s childhood spanned an interesting era of events. She was born during World War I. The war ended in 1918, so she also lived through the massive reconstruction and crazy boom times of the 1920s. She was 14 years old when the stock market crashed in 1929, ushering in the Great Depression which lasted the remainder of her childhood. As for many of her generation, the Depression was a defining and molding event in her life.
Kelly and I worked together on the 81-page interview pictured above. It was completed in 2003. The story was truly a labor of love. Alas, the disc containing the original document has been lost and we can no longer update it. As my grandmother passed away a year later and also because of the rapid development of technology, I have often wanted to update the project and make it into a downloadable file for the whole family. Kelly and I believe the stories and inspirations of my grandmother should live on!
How to write your family history 101
There are so many ways to write your family history, but here are some basic approaches. Feel free to combine these techniques as well:
- Write out a basic family tree
- While attending a family event, take the tree with you, talk to relatives, add their knowledge.
- Utilize a tool like Ancestry.com to help flesh out the tree.
- Use pictures to help you gain insight
- Old family photos are always a story starter. Write the story of your photos and soon you have the patchwork beginnings of your family history.
- Interview one family member
- Instead of trying to capture all family information, sometimes it’s fun to dig into the background of one family member. Try to choose a family member who is very clear on details with a good memory.
- Get other family members involved
- Hand out assignments to other interested family members. Gathering family knowledge will go much quicker with others involved.
- Gather your documents
- Family folklore is fine, but you may find out that the long-held family “tales” are simply not true once you check birth documents, baptimal records, marriage records, census data and death records.
David Bigelow Jr. captured the Bigelow Tea beginnings in “My Mother Loved Tea”
David C. Bigelow Jr. wrote the story of his mother, Ruth Bigelow, and the account of how she changed the way Americans enjoy tea. My Mother Loved Tea details an American success story of a company that was started in Ruth Bigelow’s kitchen in 1945 and grew to be one of America’s largest tea companies. David Bigelow and his wife, Eunice, are currently the co-chairman of Bigelow Tea, with their daughter, Cindi, as the Bigelow President and CEO.
When I visited with the Bigelows on a blogging trip in May 2013, we were all given a copy of this amazing book.
For me, meeting Eunice and David Bigelow and receiving this signed copy of David’s book, My Mother Loved Tea, were the highlights of the entire trip.
Using family history to define your future
Bigelow Tea has recently begun incorporating nine of the wonderful and cherished Bigelow stories and messages into their new packaging. While they have made many subtle changes to the packaging, the story aspect is my favorite change. I think it draws on the rich heritage of this wonderful 100% family-owned American company who is laser- focused on bringing consumers the highest quality tea. Another aspect I cherish is how the bottom of every box of Bigelow Tea tells you the name of the Bigelow employee who packed that box! This highlights the Bigelow family’s deep concern for their employees, many of whom have been with the company for 25+ years.
Watch this video featuring Lauren Westbrook, the Brand Manager at Bigelow Tea, as she highlights all the recent changes to Bigelow’s packaging.
In addition to David Bigelow, I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren Westbrook, Cindi Bigelow, and Chris Costello (National Sales Manager) when I was in Charleston. It was overly impressive how much these individuals love and care about Bigelow Tea as a company and a brand. This love of the product, by those most involved, is what really sets Bigelow apart as a tea for me!
Exciting changes that you will want to check out on the Bigelow Tea box!
- 9 unique Bigelow family stories on the top of each box
- A new logo that emphasizes the Bigelow’s American family-owned history
- Sharing recipes and ingredients that make the teas tasty
- Teas are now easier to understand, share and find
- Quality commitment through flavor, freshness, packaging and ingredients
- Bottom of box features employee who packed the tea and an easy-to-find “best by” date
- A easy-to-use tuck tab making the box easier to open and close
But, don’t worry, Bigelow has not changed their formulations. Your tea will still TASTE exactly the same…amazing.
Inspired by Bigelow!
As I mentioned above, I have been toying with the idea for a couple of years of updating my grandma’s story so that it is available to my whole family in digital form. The approach that Bigelow took in incorporating their history into each of their new packages, has inspired me to bring my grandma’s story to my family in a new way. My hope is that my grandma’s story will encourage my cousins and their children in the same deep way that I have always been inspired by this lovely woman.
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We have other Bigelow Features
- Check out my shopping trip to Walmart, where I shopped for the Bigelow Tea and discovered Bigelow’s new packaging.
- Be sure to visit all the other articles in our Tea Series.
Find more ideas and inspiration for Bigelow Tea!