Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Search: Pulling Together My Own Story

Whenever the topic of family history enters the discussion we are always talking about the past… when we came over, who fought in what war, interesting occupations, etc. Anyone interested in genealogy is familiar with the cadence of these conversations and knows that it doesn’t take long before a common thread is discovered between two families… although sometimes it is also interesting to discuss the differences. We, as family historians, are always digging into the past to try and find those additional details that have previously eluded us or find new information seemingly lost to the family for generations.

That seems to be the pattern and the routine with which we are intimately familiar. However, while this may be the bulk of our research, there are other areas of family history that are too often overlooked. The first is something that I have written about before which is to talk to those relatives who are still with us and learn what you can about what they know about the family as well as learning about their own life. We spend all this time trying to fill in gaps and too often the generations that are still with us are overlooked and, when they are gone, we will be back at the beginning trying to put the pieces together.

This covers the vast majority of the family history but there are still pieces that are usually left in the box. Our own lives, while not as interesting to us as the lives we have spent so many hours dissecting, are also an important part of the family tree. Since we are cognizant of the process and the details that are so important to the complete pictures of generations, we are in a position to ensure that our generation is represented. For me, part of my story is in the pages of this blog but that is only a recent snapshot with occasional glimpses into my own past.

We have a duty to our own family and to future generations to ensure that all the stories are told, across the generations, including our own. It may seem self-centered or even egotistical and pretentious to some but this is not something that we do to brag about this or that, it is a means to keep a complete history of the family. So, the next time you sit down to explore a few more data bases, take a few minutes and write down a couple of facts about your own life and, when you get a chance, write down questions that you can send to your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, etc. Before you know it, you will have a pretty long list to include in the annals of your own research.