I love my calling as the Laurel Advisor. I actually teach both the Mia Maids and Laurels and I love it! Last week the lesson was called “Personal Records”. The lesson was very short- just a quiz and then a lengthy story of two kids who find an old family history in the attic. Instead of reading the story I brought in all the family history books Dave and I have collected. I was surprised at just how many we actually have! Most of them I’ve read but there are still a few I need to crack open.
I shared a few of my favorite stories of Grandma’s and one from the Taylor line. The girls had a good laugh over the letter sent to Grandma by Tom Lloyd and then they shared a few stories and thoughts on journaling. But when the lesson was over all of the girls in the room said that their Grandmother’s have already done the work. Their lines go back as far as they can go and they just don’t have anything to do. I was disappointed that we didn’t have more time to discuss the many, many things that they can do. We are hoping to plan a Wednesday night activity around this idea.
I’ve thought about that lesson all week and thought that’s really the question I think a lot of us have: It’s all done so what do I do? Well, I’m not an expert. In fact I haven’t spent much time at all in a family history center and have never found a long lost ancestor. Grandma and others have traced every line back about as far as they can go and once everything is typed and published I’m in the same boat. So what do we do? Well here’s a few ideas:
- Start with yourself. How’s your life story coming along? Who cares if you’re ten years old or one hundred years old- you’ve got at least a decade to catch up on. Get going! Don’t forget Grandma’s advice- never start with, “I was born in ________, on _________, to_________.” That’s boring. Use some creativity and make us want to read. There’s no such thing as a boring life story unless you make it that way! I would love to start a collection of “Living Histories” here on this blog. Type away and then submit it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. What a great way to get to know one another!
- Ask your parents and grandparents for any genealogy they have tucked away that needs to be typed and published. If you come up with a few things, be sure to send them to the blog so we can all enjoy.
- Make a family history binder. You could make a number of different binders. Again, start with yourself- a personal record. Include a four generation pedigree chart, a family group sheet for your parents and for you and your spouse, copies of your vital records and your autobiography in the back. Don’t forget certificates, awards, cards, stories others have written about you. If you do this it’ll make one of your grandkids really happy when they try to put your life history together- trust me! Binders for each family line could be made the same way. Make one for each of your kids.
- Get your family’s PAF file updated. If you don’t have PAF on your computer you can download it from http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=927f3c7ff44f2010VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD&locale=0. Make a PAF file for your immediate family and then work back.
- Download the audacity software from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and copy all the old tapes you made as a child to your computer. Share the good ones with us!
- Copy old family videos to DVD
- Organize all those pictures- scan, identify, then share.
- Archive family heirlooms by storing properly. I like this website for ideas on how to do it properly: http://www.chasinglydia.com/content/view/43/57/.
- Interview family members.
The most important part of family history is sharing. No one benefits from stories locked up in someone’s basement or attic. If you have things you don’t know what to do with or don’t want to bother with, I’d love to help.
When all this is done take another look- are you sure those genealogy lines have really come to a dead end?
If you haven’t been bitten by the Genealogy Bug yet that’s alright- my house is infested by them and I’d be glad to share a few with you!