Monday, June 20, 2011
A wake-up call
Researching ones family tree is a laborious task that takes hours upon hours of pouring over endless texts and pictures, charts and government paperwork. The best way to start, they say, is to talk to people who are here now – your aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents.
I have been trying lately to pick my mother’s brain but, as her memories fade, that is becoming more of an act of futility. Although, I did come up with a few gems...stay tuned for those. Unfortunately, my father has passed recently and with him a wealth of information about our family. He did (finally) happen to admit to me a few years ago that we were Irish!
Imagine my surprise at hearing this for the first time at the not-so-tender age of 53. I am told this is a very common occurrence. Many surprising stories are revealed at late age or even from the death bed.
As I was relaying a story from my childhood to my wife the other night, she said, ”David, you should be writing this stuff down. As a matter of fact, you should have your brothers write their memories down as well because I’m sure they remember them differently (and probably better, although she didn’t say that) than you do.”
She was right. Did you hear that, Jackie? You were right.
Putting this giant puzzle together would be so much easier if people had thought to write their memories down before they were lost to history. Don’t get me wrong, many people did. This is why we have the information that we do have.
So, I have determined to do just that and to remind you, dear reader, (are you listening, my brothers?) to do the same. Gather those old dusty photo albums and start writing names and dates on them. Start gathering facts and dates now and gather as much information as you can - now.
My grandparents are all gone; our parents are not going to be around forever so start now before it’s too late. Because somewhere, sometime in our future someone like me is going to be struggling to find his family’s history and that picture or that story may be the one clue that this poor schmuck (read researcher) may need to make the connection.
Most of us and most of our families are not famous so there probably won’t be newspaper headlines or magazine articles to tell our story. It is up to us, the living, to pass on the stories to our children and grandchildren while we are still here. We all remember stories that have been passed down through the family for years. It’s time to write them down so that they are not lost. Believe me, sooner or later, you will be glad you did.
That reminds me of the one about that huge snake, oh, and there’s that one about…
*fade to black*