Thursday, September 06, 2007

History... to do or not to do

As most of you that read this know, I am passionate about family history. Well at least passionate about mine.. not so excited about John Doe’s. I was looking up something in one of my grandparent’s history book the other week and realized that although the book was less then 10 years old, so much information had changed. People had married, died, given birth, moved etc.

A thought has been niggling at my brain cells for some time now but I kept piling other stuff on top of it pretending like it wasn't existing. But just as I never stop talking in real time, my brain never shuts up either even when I am sleeping so this thought just kept cropping up and getting stronger. I gave myself excuses after excuses most of which began with "I do NOT have any more spare time" but that has never stopped me in the past..

After looking through the book I knew in my heart of hearts what I needed to do. I needed to write a new history book of my father's line. I have done so much genealogy on both of my parents’ side I am knee deep most days. It isn't that I want to do this book to toot my own horn... it's because of something my paternal grandmother told me before she died. Her greatest concern was that our family would stop getting together after she was gone. She knew we would all be busy with our lives, jobs, children, and for some of us grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She knew that the only time we would get together if at all would be at funerals and weddings.

My mom told me once when I was whining about why we had to be poor and why people made fun of us when we were growing up, that all you really have in life is your name and your family. She also told us to never do anything that would put tarnish on our family name.

I value my heritage. I work hard at keeping traditions that belong to our family. The first thing that attracted me to my church was the focus on families. I was hooked. Now with 12 grandchildren “attached” to my hip I tell them stories about their ancestors. I know that when I am gone they will have stacks of journals to keep them occupied reading about the good old days.

Genealogy isn’t just about pedigree charts. It’s about writing in journals, it’s about telling others of the stories that you were told. It is about asking questions and questions and then some more questions. It’s about never assuming “it’s already all been done”. That is why I NEED to do this book. I need to make sure that I make my grandmother proud. I need for them to know I had been listening to their stories. I especially need my descendants to always know who they are. After all you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’re from.