Saturday, December 30, 2017

PASSING ON FAMILY HISTORY

     My son-in-law' mother died this fall. Her illness and deteriorating health was a nightmare. Along with this was an added disaster of finding that business affairs were not looked after or up to date.

    The critical things have been looked after and now the hard work begins to clean out and dispose of a life time of memories contained in a house.

    My son-in-law is an only child so all responsibility is on his shoulders. Going through a house sorting out things can make your head hurt. He had asked his mother to write on photos. Very little was done and you can't look over your Mother's shoulder to see that she does what you ask.

    So I received an email this morning suggesting that I write on my photos and anything else of family significance. My photos have all been written on.

    Now what my son-in-law was actually talking about is family history and how it is passed on or not passed on. He was reacting to his own loss of family history. I could have written the same thing when my father passed away. I wasn't prepared to ask him much as I hadn't been thinking about it. By the time I started asking questions it was too late. He couldn't recall what I wanted to know.



    Now that I'm elderly, what am I doing about passing on family history? Not much! First, I assume that my kids know much more than they do. Second: I think that there are many things that are of no interest to them. Third: I'm busy and so are my kids. Fourth: I'm not encouraging my kids to ask about family history. Fifth: I think I have many more things that I'm interested in.

    So our family history is very poorly passed on to  the next generations. We've had some degree of literacy for hundreds of years. Now we have wall to wall literacy with the Internet and yet we are doing a poor job of passing on family history. But we have also become spread across the globe. My ancestors came from England and the Ukraine at the beginning of the last century. Today we are global and not only spread across the globe but more mobile than ever.

    There are cultures with only oral history and they seem to have stories from hundreds or thousands of year ago. They live together in large extended families and tell the stories. They know what to tell and repeat it many times. 

    So to my son-in-law, I will go to work and label things and try and leave some information about the things I have.

    I have written many things on this blog about my family history. Is anybody going to go through it to get some understanding and picture of the life I've lived? 
    
   So to my son-in-law, I will go to work and label things and try and leave some information about the things I have.

32 comments:

  1. It's not a pleasant job for most of us to record the important family bits of history. I know my mother and I talked about it for years but little was ever done. She loved to talk and stupid me for not recording her. I did try but for one reason or another it didn't actually come together as I hoped and now it is too late. I myself haven't got everything in order. There is always so much to do. I'm trying. I do a little here and a little there but time marches on so fast!

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    1. Most of us are the same. We procrastinate until it's too late.

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  2. I'm finding that the blog is a good way to record things.
    Also, my SIL visited Antarctica and I made him a book of it. The same can be done with old photos, better preserved than my mom's falling apart photo albums!

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    1. It's a challenge. I talked to my daughter today and asked things that she might like. there's very little she would want.

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  3. It is hard wondering how important our history is to those who follow us. Some care and some do not and some will not care until they are our age and then it is too late!

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    1. Oh I like this comment! It's so true!

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  4. Blogging has changed our way of recording our lives. Nobody knows how long these will be around, but it’s true that making a book of some of them is a great idea. My sister it with her husband’s blog before it was retired. :-)

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    1. It's not so much how long things will be around but will they ever be found.

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  5. These are things we sometimes don't think about until it's too late. And life does keep us busy, so we don't always have the time. I do wish I'd asked my father a lot more questions while he was alive. It certainly would have filled in many blanks. Ah well, what's done is done.

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    1. I wished the same thing as you. Now I'm in Dad's situation and not much is being done.

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  6. I recall the difficulties, emotional and physical, of dealing with my late mother's possessions. It's good to think about these things before it's too late. I'm already looking for homes for various objects I've collected over the years. Happy New Year to you.

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    1. I've been trying to get rid of things but I think I'm going to have to be more harsh and part with things.

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  7. Yes to putting names on pictures! I've started doing this with some of ours, although I must say it feels weird to include my own name on them. But who will know us in the pictures beyond our kids' - or maybe grandkids' - generation? The other question I have is, who will care? I didn't start being interested until I was well into middle age. With people starting families later in life, middle age may mean the questions go unanswered. Do your kids know of your blog, Red? It seems to me to be a wonderful source of information, whenever they decide they want to learn.

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    1. My kids know my blog. My daughter helped me set it up and they've both written posts on it. My son put in the photo on the header.

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  8. Passing along family history can be fun or a big chore. My daughter doesn't seem too interested and that's ok. I have recorded my mom years ago and she passed three years ago. I made some cds with photos and stories on it. I live in photos these days. The visuals bring right back to when I took them. It works for me and I'm happy with it. Don't know if anyone will appreciate it or see it but I don't worry about it.
    Have a happy and healthy New Year, Red.

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    1. Keeping a daily journal also brings things back. I kept a journal and when I read one day the whole day comes back years later.

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  9. Perhaps you should keep a journal of the things you want to share with your children...you could start tomorrow. :) Happy New Year Red!

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    1. Good idea! It's better if things are written.

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  10. I think that ultimately we do what is important to us, the problem comes when our idea of what to pass on is different to that of the next generation.
    I am sorry your son-in-law missed out on his family history, especially because, without siblings he can't even try to cobble together the recollections of a few people

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    1. I think of my grandparents and when the grandchildren are gone that's it. No one else has ever known the.

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  11. Tom is an amature genealogist and has extensive records all computerized. We also have a lot of old photos, all labeled. Now I I have Thousands of photos stored on the cloud. If anyone wants it, it's there.

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  12. You are sharing some wise words on passing on history and labeling our photos! Thank you for your blog Red and may you and your loved ones have a wonderful 2018!

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  13. The simple truth is that we cannot hang on to the past. No matter what we try, it slips through our fingers like sand. That's just the way of things.

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    1. Nice simile and down to earth comment.

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  14. I have many photos and things I wrote down over many decades but I have a feeling none of our kids care about them so . . .

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  15. I think it's a good idea to do your best to leave a record, labelling photos and so on, but at the same time, there's no way for any of us to pass along all our knowledge. Our lives inevitably slip into the past over a period of a few generations. That's just the way it works! Some people find it a dreary notion, but I think there's a beauty to it, actually -- the world continually renewing itself for new generations to come.

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  16. Leaving a family history is, it would appear, very important. I've never been particularly interested but now I have reached this age I realise that my lack of interest is because our family history is well documented - but not by me. My brother has documented so much. And the younger members of the family are mostly showing a considerable interest in the family's past.

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  17. Yeah, I feel for your son-in-law . . . even though I admit that I haven't done as much as I should to pass on the photos, the traditions, the stories. Maybe your post will inspire me!

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  18. Sorry for the loss of your son in law Red.

    I think i am content with information that i have about my ancestors who were from native surroundings.
    I take pride to be a granddaughter of man who was one of the founders of my native village.

    I don't feel much curious about my much long ago family history as i think this is not much important.
    I think life is mostly preserved in present moment and people.
    Mostly people are getting busy enough to sit and think over this topic.

    Though writing on photos is good idea and i learnt it from my dear mom.

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  19. My mom always made a point of jotting down details on the backs of photos. It got me into the same habit.

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