Thursday, February 9, 2012
Are You on The Fence? Top 10 Reasons to Jump Into Family History!
Have you been tempted to start researching your family history but just have not gotten motivated to do so? Does genealogy seem overwhelming? Are you now sure where to start?
It's time to get off the fence. Don't wait! Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today! Start now! Here is my advice as to why:
TOP 10 REASONS TO START YOU FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH TODAY!
1. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Life is full of surprises. Don't procrastinate! I did spend twelve years in Mexico where mañana is a way of life. I choose not to live that way, especially when it comes to my family history. I want to be around to tell the story. Yes, I'm still young, but there are no guarantees.
2. All family historians wish they started earlier. No one has told me that they should have waited to research their family's history until they had more time, maybe until they are retired.
3. People move, throw out stuff, lose stuff. Valuable stuff for family history such as photo albums documents, journals gets tossed out everyday. They get rid of these valuable treasures for many reasons: lack of interests, lack of space and lack of understanding of the worth of these objects. Most importantly, they throw things out because they don't think anyone is interested. If you don't spread the news in your family that you are interested, they won't know. When they know you care, they will be more than happy to hand over old albums, scrap books, death certificates and much more. Just ask my aunts. As the family historian, they all know, I'm obsessed with the past. Two of my aunts been cleaning up for months and handing me their junk. One man's junk is another's treasure. The stuff they were only so happy to part with, I've turned into a book which is selling like hot cakes. Who would have guessed?
4. The more time passes, the more you'll forget. Though some might argue that the older you get, the better you are at remembering your distant past (my mom for example), I tend to disagree. This may be the case for some people, but the large majority of us, simply forget. Haven't you forgotten family stories you heard as a kid. Start documenting what your remember now. Once you start, you may stir more memories.
5. No one is getting any younger. Your older relatives will pass away. I don't mean to be morbid, but it's true and part of the cycle of life. Don't miss out on the opportunity of visit with them, hearing their stories and learning from them about your family history. Don't you wish you remembered some of those stories your grandparents told you before they died? Don't let any more stories slip away. My uncle Larry, passed away last summer from a brain tumor. He was only sixty seven years young. The first book he read after his brain tumor was my book, Stored Treasures. A bit euphoric on the meds, he called to tell me it was the best book he ever read. He told my aunt, that reading the book reminded him of many stories that his grandmother Minnie told him, but were not in the book. He made a note to tell me these stories. Sadly, he went into a comma shortly after, and took those stories with him. I'm still grieving Larry's loss, as he was an inspirational person. The fragility of life, a lesson we try to avoid learning, is one of the biggest driving forces behind my work as a genealogist.
6. Learning about your past, will deepen your understanding of yourself. Trust me, it's an amazing journey and quite therapeutic! Why wait to embark on it?
7. Exploring ones roots has never been easier or cheaper. There are so many resources available today, take advantage. So much information is available at ones finger tips. There are vasts supports and resources for advice out there. Millions of people are collaborating and sharing information. Today's technology will help you organize, sort, document, map and share your work.
8. Leave a legacy to your children. What better gift can you leave your family but their history. If you just decided to become interested in your past, some day your children might as well. They may not appreciate it today, but by starting now, your giving them a huge head start when they do want to know.
9. The only way to learn about your family history, is to start. It may be intimidating but in reality it doesn't take much to get you going. All you need to do is begin with yourself and what you know. Then work backwards. You do not need money or a lot of time.
10. Think of future and past generations. What would you give for a detailed book of family history? Just think how a hundred or two hundred years from now, your descendants will appreciate the time you took to preserve the story for them. At the same time, honor your Ancestors. Recording your history is a type of memorial for your forefathers. Most of our ancestors, lived ordinary lives. Lives which have long been forgotten. Yet, these ordinary lives and the choices they made are the reasons we are here today. Learning about them is a very dignified way to commemorate and honoring your extraordinary relatives.
Now you know why I think you should join me and the millions of other around the globe in researching your ancestry. Do you have good reasons to share about why to start asap? Any regrets?
Stay posted for my next blog where I will give practical tips for getting started.