Monday, February 4, 2013

Family History

When I first retired, I mentioned that I wanted to spend time exploring our family history.  It's a fascinating project.  I have spent quite a bit of time researching using, and now I have been scanning slides to try to preserve pictures that are beginning to deteriorate. I also have family pictures and film that I need to convert to a digital format for preservation.  I think that this project will take some time to complete!

We are currently visiting my husband's family in Arkansas.  While we were here, we visited the new library that was built in Mountain Home.  What a lovely facility!  And what a serendipitous outing!  The new library has a genealogy center and is staffed with a genealogist, Vincent Anderson.  My husband stopped in to see if they could find a copy of his father's obituary.  He did.  We also spent some time chatting with the genealogist who shared some tips on research and shared his genealogy blog.  Mr. Anderson was very helpful and willing to share ideas.  I may be contacting him in the future.

One thing that I have become aware of through my research is that both oral and written history are very important.  I am very glad that I spent as much time as I did listening to my parents talk about their families.  These memories have helped me a great deal along the way.  I wish that I had started researching earlier so that I could ask my mom and dad questions about things I don't remember or never thought to ask.  That is one reason I am trying to capture what I remember so that my children have a written history to refer to as they get older.

While we were in Mountain Home, all three siblings in my husband's family were together so I started asking questions about when they were growing up.  It was fun to hear about their childhood especially since some grandchildren and great grandchildren were in the vehicle when they were regaling us with their youthful adventures.   It is very rare for all of the siblings to be together so I am thrilled that we were able to hear their different perspectives on their childhood. This oral history is very important! 

We also discovered boxes with memorabilia belonging to my husband's mother.  What a treasure!  She kept scrapbooks and wrote meticulous notes on each picture.  There are letters her husband wrote her during the war when he was in the navy.  There are pictures going back to the 1940s.  We are very grateful that she has  such wonderful records that we can explore as we try to recreate the past.

If you haven't already done so, take some time to sit with the older generation in your family.  Ask as many questions as you can.  Make a recording to preserve for future generations.  Collect both oral and written history.  You will find great joy in knowing that you have these memories to explore.

Have you found your joy today?

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