Start now to preserve family history

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2006

One of my daughter-in-laws gave me a book for Christmas &uot;Rocking Chair Tales&uot; by John William Smith.

I gave her a hard time about thinking I was old enough to sit in a rocking chair and read all day. But I was only kidding and it is a good read. He recalls many tales from his past and a few that others have related to him. It is a good deal like some of the things I share with you.

He thinks everyone needs a connection with family history. I can see that people need roots and identity to feel secure in their present and future. I know it gives me great comfort to remember those who have gone before in my family.

I can see where I came from and much of who I am. That is true when I am around my cousins who were raised and influenced to a great degree by my grandmother. We are very similar in our likes, dislikes, attitudes and mannerisms. It is amazing sometimes to watch as someone else does or says something and you see yourself in their actions or words. The same happens at times when I look in the mirror and see my mother or when I say something and I hear her voice and words.

If I can in some way recall a past or present experience that brings memories to you, then I feel I have done a good deed for you. Remembering past experiences with family members gives us the feeling that we are a part of a long line and so we are not alone in our day to day struggles. We can see it much better when we are around those who do not have that experience.

One of my granddaughters, who has recently been reunited with the family, says she feels secure for the first time in many years because she now has family and she knows they will be there for her. It is of such value to her that she wants to move here to be with us. We very much want that too.

The other granddaughter is still very much insecure. She knows now that she has family, but is so afraid that something might happen and she will lose them. It is my prayer that she will get to the place she feels secure and knows that we will love her and support her no matter what happens. I have tried to tell her that we are human and as humans we may do something at some time that will hurt her. She needs to know that it will never be intentional, but a human failing. And if the same happens from her side we are not going to run away and desert her.

I want very much to give these two granddaughters a feeling of security with their family. One of the things they desire greatly is to be told about their family history and what their family was like.

I was talking recently with a family that is trying to get some of the older (not old, but older) members of their family to write down their memories and name those in the family who have passed on. That is a very good idea. I once took a course in genealogy when I worked at the library so I could help those who were doing research. One of the things they suggest is that some of the family who have knowledge that will be lost when they are gone write or record the information and memories they have. Think about doing that for your family whether you are young or old. If you are young you can make it a project that spans many years. It may even be easier because we tend to forget so much.

If you don’t have the inclination to write, pick up a recorder and record your thoughts as they come to you. Someday your children and the rest of your family will be very grateful.