The prompt for week 1 is “start”. When I reflect back on my start in genealogy and family history, I can’t recall the three Ws – Where, When, and Why of my personal start on this journey. I have a collection of papers that my mother saved and passed on to me when I was leaving home to start out on my own. I believe a lot of mothers have such collections of their children’s papers that they save over their childhood years. So, in my collection were some very old papers written in my early elementary school days. Written on some of that very first tablet paper you’re given in school. You remember the yellow, wide ruled paper of those early school years? Some of those tablet pages contained what had to be my very earliest “family history” stories; although, I wouldn’t have called them that at the time. They definitely represent my start in family history. Those early stories were a collection mostly of family stories I heard around the dinner table especially over the holidays when extended family would make a visit. I grew up in an era when family would visit and communicate sitting around the dinner table together, enjoying a meal as a family. And as a young boy, I decided to write those stories down that I heard told by the older members of the family. So that I’d always remember them and never forget. They are a part of who we are as a family. Our struggles, our triumphs, and our humorous adventures that allow us to laugh at ourselves. All part of our families’ unique history.
Those stories are told through a child’s mind and in a child’s style of writing. I must admit reading those stories again after being put away for all these years brings a smile to my face. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the family sitting around the table telling the stories. Most of those family members I can picture in that setting have passed away. Those stories would have gone with them if they hadn’t been recorded. It’s up to us to record those stories so that they can endure forever. They are an integral part of our family and its family history. If we don’t record them, future generations are not going to discover them through a Google search or in the basement of a courthouse in some dusty boxes.
It’s up to us to record these stories to be included with our family history. Let’s “start” today to make sure they’re preserved.