Skip to main content

Friday Family History: Are You Leaving a Paper Trail?

Anyone who tries to research family history knows how frustrating it can be to try to learn more about people who have died.  Sure, thanks to the internet, finding documents is easier than it used to be, but how easy is it to really know your ancestors, their challenges, their hopes, and their triumphs?

Although we might be able to only piece together bits of information in our quest to learn about our forebears, we can do our part to make our descendants search easier.

First of all, we can write down our memories and information about our parents and grandparents.  Just the other day, I read something my grandmother had written about her mother.  She mentioned that her mother was small, yet physically strong.  I thought, "So that's where she got it!"  When we moved from one house to another, my grandma moved the 100 pound barrels of wheat out of the garage to load onto the moving truck.  If she hadn't written that description of her mother, I wouldn't have known that she shared that trait with her mom. 

Likewise, we can keep journals.  No one ever thinks that his own life is interesting enough to merit documenting, but I love reading accounts of normal, everyday people from the past.  Or the present, for that matter--think of all the wealth of collective wisdom found on blogs! Just to be clear, I do NOT recommend reading a journal without the express permission of the living author, though. 

Besides the possible help a journal might give to posterity, the very act of journal-keeping is beneficial to the writer.  Clarity can come in writing about a situation, lessons learned can be more readily remembered, and memorable experiences have a better chance of actually being recalled.  I don't trust my grocery list to memory; why would I try that technique with my entire life? 



Do you keep a journal?  Have you learned about your ancestors through their journal entries?

Thanks for journal-keepers: past, present, and future!



Pin It

Comments

  1. That was brilliant about the grocery list! And so true! My blog is my quilting journal, but I don't write much about my personal life. I think I'll try and keep a personal journal now! Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post. From time to time, I prepare posts, remembering certain family traditions and memories. I need to do more of that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been wanting to start a private journal. I even bought a journal! LOL Maybe when I get home will be a great time to start. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a thoughtful post! :) My father and I have both written our autobiographies. We inspired each other through the process with memory exercises, conversations and journal/diary entries kept over the years. Mine is over 300 pages and gets added to every six months or so to recap the most recent events. My father's book is about half that long as he has had a lot of trouble recalling his childhood and piecing everything back together. I had the upper hand starting at age 30 while my father will be 60 this week. Your post is a great reminder that we can add at to history today, even if we don't think it's significant in any way. Somebody, someday, will be thrilled to read your account of life today. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Dad's Influence Edition

Infant-me, sitting on the wood floor, looks up at my dad, who is sitting on a brown sofa and smiling down to me Here in the United States, it is Father's Day weekend. I did not realize until recently that Father's Day was not officially made a holiday until 1972. 1972! Now, while I realize that many people consider 1972 eons ago, I do not. I'm glad that fathers have a day of recognition now, because they surely deserve acknowledgement.  I thought for this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, I would list ten lessons I'm thankful my dad taught me. My dad is a teacher. Not only did he impart his knowledge to countless junior high aged kids throughout his career, he taught--and still teaches--my siblings and me. He is not a preachy teacher; he's a humble man whose lessons I feel like I learned through osmosis. When he would get home from work, we'd all sit down as a family for supper. Often, our phone would ring, and on the other end of the line would be a paren

Ten Things of Thankful: Summer Strawberries and Procrastinated Projects

A brilliantly-colored dark pink and purple fuchsia blossom You would think that by the time a person reaches my age, she would not be surprised by the passing of time, yet I find myself nearly constantly amazed that a certain amount of time has passed--whether that be a week, month, year, or couple of decades. Earlier this year, I planted a garden. Yesterday I harvested my first strawberry. Earlier this year, I also planted fuchsia starts, and now the flowers are blooming. How is that possible? (And why am I surprised?) Sometime around the turn of the century (and it still seems strange to use that phrase about the year 2000), we bought a circa 1935 dresser. It needed some TLC, but had a cool curvy front. This past week, I finally got around to applying some Restor-A-Finish and Feed-N-Wax, and now the dresser still looks old, but not dilapidated. I still need to apply some hide glue to some loose pieces, but I'm counting progress as a win. For as long as I can remember, I've be

Ten Things of Thankful: From Sunrise to Moonset

Cars and trucks on a highway travel toward the rising sun                                    John and I made a quick, task-oriented trip to California last week. We wore our masks and stayed at an acceptable social distance from others (which is hard for grandchildren to understand, but we mostly succeeded.) We're now home, and at the "I need a vacation to recover from my 'vacation' " stage, which makes sitting down to compose a TToT post a bit of a challenge. However, I know that I will feel better by the end of this post, so bear with me if you will.  1. I'm thankful that we had no problems with traffic going there or coming home. We left our hotel at about quarter to four on Friday morning. The early start, fewer families traveling this year, or, most likely, a combination of the two, made for an easy drive.  2. I'm thankful for books to help pass the time. We haven't actually finished yet (as I was reading aloud, and my voice can only last for so l