Why Family Trees and Funeral Homes Go Hand In Hand

Funerals are all about celebrating personal relationships and memories.

At the viewing, families share photos and videos of their loved one surrounded by friends and family. At the service, they reminisce over stories and anecdotes of their loved one’s happiest moments. All the while, building stronger connections — both with the people in the room, and with the loved one whose life is being celebrated.

And the more life celebrations that a person attends, the deeper those connections become to the people around them… especially their own family members. They overhear new stories about a person’s upbringing, or get to see new photos of loved ones that they may have never seen before. Over time, the celebration that is happening at these funerals helps each person in attendance build up a spiderweb of memories and stories that link all of the important people in their life together.

So it only makes sense that these connections are documented in the very place where they are being formed — the funeral home.

And one of the best ways to document these connections is through the tradition of the family tree.

Why Funeral Homes + Family Trees Just Make Sense

A family tree helps you see that you are a part of something bigger than yourself… you are a part of a massive world of people, but at the same time, you are deeply rooted and connected to the people that are around you. You are connected even after they are gone, and you wouldn’t be there without them.

Does this message sound familiar? It’s the same reassurance that we tell many of the families who enter our funeral homes. “You have a connection that will never be broken. They are always with you and a part of you.”

So why not bridge the gap and bring family trees into you funeral home to deepen the healing and personal connections?

After all, research has shown that children who learn about their ancestors and know about their past are better adjusted and more resilient in the face of challenges. They could even better deal with the effects of stress. “Family stories provide a sense of identity through time, and help children understand who they are in the world,” the researchers said in their paper.

Family trees are also a great opportunity to bridge generation gaps during a time of loss. While the passing of a great-grandparent may not impact a child as much as it does their parent, they can still feel a sense of belonging and family history by better understanding how they are connected to the person they are celebrating, and how expansive and unique their story is. Creating a family tree builds a new connection that wasn’t there before, and helps people understand their place in their own personal history.

How Your Funeral Home Can Sponsor Family Trees

Creating a family tree doesn’t have to be a regular part of your service offerings in order for your families to reap the benefits of this tradition. There are a number of simple ways that you can bring this healing experience to your families:

1. Host a workshop at your funeral home

If you don’t have the background, or more simply the time, to devote to teaching your families how to create their own personal family tree, bring in a professional. There are a number of genealogy services or even hobbyists that will come to your location and host workshops on your behalf. All you need to do is provide the time and the facilities, and your families will forever associate your funeral home with this beneficial workshop.

2. Offer an online family tree on tribute pages

A loved one’s tribute page is already the central location for families to share stories, photos and memories. So why not also make it the primary place where family members can go to fill out their family tree? With f1Connect’s social memorial pages, the family tree creation process becomes collaborative. Anyone can log on and add information for the family members that they know, all right on your funeral home website. Before you know it, an entire family or community has come together to fill in the missing gaps and create the ultimate family tree.

To learn more about how you can get these collaborative family trees on your funeral home’s tribute page, click here to talk to one of our website success specialists!

3. Turn a family tree into a personalized photo memorial

A family tree doesn’t just have to be names on a piece of paper. It can be a visual integration into a loved one’s funeral service. Good Housekeeping has a great example of how to turn a shadowbox into beautiful 3D family tree, complete with photos of all of your loved ones. This would be a great project for a family to complete together and put on display at their loved one’s funeral service.

4. Upgrade a traditional funeral guest book

Another way to integrate a family tree into a loved one’s funeral service is to trade in a traditional funeral guest book with an interactive art piece. Simply print a tree with empty branches out onto canvas, and have guests sign their family name on corresponding leaves. (See a great example here!) Before you know it, you have a beautiful reminder of support that you can hang in your home for years to come.

What do YOU think about bringing these family tree traditions into your funeral home? Do you see this being a valuable healing tool for your families? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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