As your family tree grows, take it to the next level and go beyond sharing a simple family tree. Now its time to engage your family - develop common interests, find out how they ended up in the countries they did, who served in WWII,  share stories, photos and more.  A great way to get to know your extended family is to identify areas of common interest and plan activities around them. These can be informal one time events or more structured. The key is to find common interests or Hobbies, including some popular areas such as: Fitness (running, Soccer, Baseball) Travel, including tips for visiting where the family came from Outdoor activities (Hiking,Skiing, swimming) Fund raising & Charities Cooking, reading, theater and many other topics. Facebook One great way to get to know the extended family is to set up a Facebook Group page and invite all of your family members to join. Facebook already provides a rich set of functionality that allows users to share more information about themselves including their immediate family, photos, interests and more. Here you can really get to know your extended family members via the posts, which you can reply to giving you a great way to interact with them. Other Facebook functionality includes: It gives family members a place to go to post family specific updates and/or photos. It has a full set of security and privacy features to allow you  to control and restrict who gets to see your information, including postings, pictures and family members. Creating a Facebook group page for the family allows family members to see who else is in the family without everyone needing to become Facebook friends with each other. Members of the group can post updates and photos that only other members in the group can see. In the event you need help writing something in another language, Facebook already offers the ability to translate over 70 languages. Pen Pals This can be a great way to get to engage with other members of the family. Whether this is for hobbies that you have a shared interest in or if you have family around the globe - learning more about other cultures, countries or developing your language skills. The younger generation in your family could find this very useful for school projects (history, social studies, sociology, etc) as it allows them to go beyond what they read in the history books or can learn in class. In terms of applications to use, Facebook offers the most functionality as it allows users to share their interests, post updates and send private messages to their Facebook friends. A bit more modern version of the historically popular Pen Pals using regular Postal Mail would be to use your e-mail application to become Pen Pals with your cousins. But, if you want to go beyond e-mail and Facebook - here are a few other online tools that provide a lot of functionality: International Pen Friends: Offers services for groups, including schools. Pen Pal World: Includes a number of privacy controls. My Language Exchange: Includes translation software for 29 languages and letter writing tips. Newsletters Sending out a monthly or quarterly Newsletter is a great way to keep the family engaged, provide updates on significant family events (births, weddings, reunions) or additions to the family tree. It also serves as a reminder on how to find the family tree. There are a number of ways to provide newsletters and updates ranging from the free (sending out e-mails that you create yourself) to commercially available tools, one of which is Constant Contact. The advantage of the commercially available tools include: Many professional templates to choose from for your e-mails,  Additional functionality, including the ability to create surveys. Family members can subscribe to the mailing lists, giving you another avenue to finding family members you did not know about. The ability to link the newsletter to your website or FaceBook group allowing more people to see it.

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