30 April 2013

Recording your Stories

Researching our ancestors is a pastime that requires unlimited resources of dedication and patience. The process of organizing them is a daunting task, particularly when so many names are repeated throughout generations of families. The excitement that is experienced through the discovery of our distant family members can only be matched by coming across stories about them. Every family has "legends" of ancestral exploits, for these are what makes these people take form and emerge as real people who lived real lives. How important it is that these stories are recorded in some way so  they are not forgotten.

A few years back, one Domenico family story was posted on this blog (http://tlngenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/01/domenico-family.html) about Serafina Struzziero. Even though there are few family members left who knew her personally, her "eccentricities" are still talked about.

I have made it my mission to record as many of these stories as I can find, as I want my descendants to know their forebears. Writing a family history can be a huge task, as there are many roadblocks that present themselves. We want the finished product to be as complete as possible, but the challenge is that there is always more information out there. How does one decide where to draw the line? How much generalized history should be included to place our ancestors in their proper context? Should extended family be included in the charts? Are we collecting names or are we discovering our ancestral family? All of these are issues that have to be dealt with.

There are few joys that match that of getting to know your "people" on as personal level as possible. It is amazing what can be learned through frequent censuses and other civil documents, i.e., births and deaths, marriages, etc. More poignantly, it can be the implied living conditions as well as the numerous deaths within a family within a specific time frame, indicating some sort of disease. Finding multiple generations living in one tiny home is a strong indicator of how difficult life was.

Look for those stories that are written "between the lines," and your heart will swell with gratitude at their quiet courage, fortitude, and determination to live with dignity. Our forebears gave us the gift of a history, and we can make it our gift to record it for our posterity.
                     -----Jan Domenico, contributor

****Note From Carm****

Jan is not only a contributor to the blog, but also one of our dearest cousins.  Please take a moment to view her new site "Jan's Editing Service For Writers"

1 comment:

  1. This was written to me by Linda Gatewood, who is not a member of this blog. I wanted to share her comments with everyone:

    "The lives that are gone and never recorded will always be an unsolved mystery. But through records of birth, marriage, death, census, blessings and other obscure links, you may be able to piece together a story of the most important things in their lives, the activities that garnered most of their time, the moments when sickness or death visited their doorsteps or the quiet challenges when loved ones left for faraway places, never to be seen again.

    Putting the family story together is simply assembling a puzzle – piece by piece until the whole picture is there for everyone to see and enjoy. And somewhere in that picture, you’ll begin to see shadows of yourself peeking around the edges, being who you are because of whom they were and understanding more about yourself, your idiosyncrasies, your preferences, motivations and feelings. It’s a bit tantalizing and amazing what you could learn if you could only spend some time with them. As impossible as that sounds, it may now be possible to do just that."


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