In English parish churches, a peal of bells would be (and still is) rung to mark the important events of the parish (e.g., weddings, wedding anniversaries, and funerals).
So when looking through parish records (usually held in the county records office) look for mentions of bell ringing in the church records; you may even find the Tower Captainâ€™s records of the peals rung.
In my mother’s parish, a resident found these for the 1914-18 period:
- A peal rung in 1914 to mark my great-uncle joining the army. (He rang one of the bells himself!)
- Another muffled peal (with leather on the clapper to muffle the sound) in 1918 to mark the same uncle’s death in France.
- One to mark the Golden Wedding of some other relatives. From this I soon found the entry for their wedding on Ancestry BMD.Â Â
A Family Tradition
When my twin grand-aunts were born in August of 1888, their grandmother from Callas, County Cork, Ireland, handmade two christening dresses for them. Since then everyone born into our family has been christened in one of these dresses. The latest was my grand-niece, Katie, christened in August of 2003. The dress was 116-years-old. It is packed away and awaits the next family member.
Crest Hill, IL
A few years ago we started a tradition that I wish we had done when the children were little.
We put a 100-percent-cotton, white tablecloth over the dining table while the family gathers and the meal is being prepared. I have multicolored Sharpie markers available for everyone to write what they have been most grateful for in the past year and date it. We move the cloth before the meal so it doesn’t get stained and doesn’t require laundering. Having it out a while gives everyone a chance to read and write with a bit of privacy and personal reflection.
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