Grandparents Week~Monday: Weekly Family Activity–Family History
Family History: Easier and More Captivating than You Think
image courtesy of pbs.org
I didn’t always care about genealogy work. I didn’t know these people anyway. Finding data was difficult and boring (e.g., birth date, death date). However, I happened upon articles about my ancestors that caught my attention and my heart. For instance, I learned that several of my ancestors were the earliest founding members of the LDS Church. The trials they went through floored and deeply inspired me. Other ancestors were fighters in the American Revolution, and some were Tories. I found ancestors that I believe were close to George Washington. I discovered I’m part of a legacy – mostly good but some bad. Yin Yang. The more I learn, the more I hunger to learn stories.
Disservice of Not Knowing Our History
We do a huge disservice when we don’t learn about and appreciate the past. Our society has forgotten too much that could have blessed us. Thomas Jefferson emphasized that schooling in America should be “chiefly historical.” He said, “The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty. History, by apprising them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future. It will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men.”
Stories are a Key
David McCullough (famous author of 1776, John Adams, and other wonderful books) shared that, “as human beings we have a natural liking for history. We gravitate towards stories about the past–ones that dramatically capture the human condition.” David emphasizes that history helps us to know who we are and how we got to where we are. He says, “History is also an infinite source pleasure. To deny our children this, is to deny them a means of enlarging and extending the experience of being alive. We should provide our youth the rich enjoyment and enlightenment that history provides.” Stories are a key. They help us to get to know, to be touched by, and to love about those that worked so hard to give us the opportunities we have today. Think I’m overdramatizing? Just look into your ancestors. Learn about their stories. You’ll be inspired in many cases and disappointed in others. As you start your family history work, learn about, capture and share true (no fabrications allowed) stories.
Isn’t as Hard – Enjoy It
I hesitated for a long while doing family history work because I didn’t feel qualified. Most articles on family history talk about the steps you need to go through. Boring. Genealogists, like most people, like to brag about their knowledge and show off. They make things sound complicated. I finally realized that genealogy is more about rational thinking and investigating than about having genealogy degrees – so to speak. You are smart. Trust yourself. Just think things through, learn as you go, but for heaven sakes jump in. Set aside some time on a regular basis. Be patient with yourself. When you first start exercising, you don’t see results immediately but you know they will come. You will start to catch on and see successes in your family history work. It will start to get into your blood – so to speak. It is a noble work – and you will feel it. Enjoy the process. It is time to pass on a wonderful legacy. Good luck.
The following post was written by my wonderful Dad and very fun Grandpa! Thankyou for the taking the time to share the importance and joy of working on family history as a family. You can read more about his invovlement in The Joseph Smith Papers which is the current project he is heading up.