Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Family History - What's the big deal?

One of the things I have immersed myself in this spring in some good old fashioned genealogy.  When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the stories and pictures my grandma would tell about her childhood and my ancestors.  She would break out pictures and point out who they were and my relation to them.  As she got older, she began to repeat herself, which is okay I didn't mind hearing the stories again.  I only wish I had had the foresight to write down what she was saying.

I have been using a website called Family Search.  So far I haven't encountered any expenses.  You can input your known relatives and begin searching for more.  I find it addictive.  It's like I crave a connection to the past, that these people are crying out from the dust and want to be remembered.  I want to be remembered and matter, and that is why I think it is a big deal...Because, I bet these relatives wanted to be remembered and matter to someone, too.

A few years ago I was involved in the Nations largest service project...the indexing of the 1940's census.  Indexing is transcribing old documents and digitizing them.  Documents like birth and death certificates, marriage certificates and enlistment forms are made available right at the tips of your fingers.  It's pretty cool, really.  Yesterday I indexed a bunch of birth certificates from 1923 in Chicago, Illinois.  My husband is from Chicago, and I thought it would be cool if I saw one of his family's birth certificate...but I didn't.  My daughter is interested in this family history work, and has listened to me and dabbled in it herself.   She even put in ten hours of indexing for a service project.

There are many different forms that family history takes:  
blogging, scrapbooking, journaling, genealogy, indexing.  

What do you do to connect to your past?

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  1. I've looked into our background a bit too. Something about connecting with our family history helps us feel connected to a larger picture and appreciative for what we pass along.

  2. Yeah, great post. I love the stories and pictures and have been sharing them on and finding pictures of my ancestors that I have never seen before that were shared by my relatives. I even found a picture of my mother that I had never seen. She was probably in her 30's when it was taken and it is a treasure. It is easy to save them on your own computer when they are posted on there by anyone. That is the idea to share.


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