Road Trip !

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Perhaps you can find your ancestors or stories here:

http://www.pbs.org/program/genealogy-roadshow/

Genealogy Roadshow

About the Program

Part detective story, part emotional journey, Genealogy Roadshow will combine history and science to uncover the fascinating stories of diverse Americans. Each individual’s past will link to a larger community history, revealing the rich cultural tapestry of America.

Genealogy Roadshow premiere season will feature participants from four American cities — Nashville, Detroit, San Francisco and Austin — who want to explore unverified genealogical claims, passed down through family history, that may (or may not) connect them to an event or a historical figure. These cities were chosen as American crossroads of culture, diversity, industry and history, with deep pools of potential participants and stories.  After participants are chosen, experts in genealogy, history and DNA will use family heirlooms, letters, pictures, historical documents and other clues to hunt down more information.”

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Who uses postal mail anymore?

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  At the end of each month I take out the big 3 ring binder, open it up and turn to one of the twelve months. This month it is August. The first page has names and dates and photos – all birthdays or anniversaries. Some are crossed out, friends that have gone on to other things and I no longer keep in contact with through postal mail. Others are crossed out because their time on earth is done. The ones that are left have been there for years except, there are always exceptions, the ones that are freshly entered with pen or pencil.  writingThese are not just dates and people. They are memories. They are connections, real connections to real people. Yet, …

Why bother, I ask myself? Why bother with cards that have to be mailed – especially in this technologically related age? Do they send me cards on my birthday or anniversary?, only less than I can count on one hand. So why take the time every month to do it? 

Three years after I started this I was ready to give up. No one wrote back to me and no one sent me any birthday cards or anniversary cards. My connection was one way and I didn’t even know if anyone liked getting them or wanted them or if they were just laughing at me. Until that one day, three years later, I got a letter from a cousin I had not met in person. It was a thank you for always remembering them and wanting to know how we were related, though they knew we were cousins. Then a couple years after that I got another letter, a friend of the family, apologizing for not writing sooner, and thanking me for the thoughtful cards. Later a call came from a relative telling me how much it means to them to be remembered with a card in the postal mail. Nobody does that anymore and it sure is nice to receive. 

Sometimes you don’t do it for the gratification of it. You do it, because you know how you would feel to receive such a card, so you do it for that person. So at the end of each month, or the beginning of each month, I prepare all the cards and mail them out. Some will be really early, some will be just on time, and if I am late, there are always the belated cards I send out. For a brief moment, in the crazy busy world we live in today, for that brief moment I was able to give to someone else, the gift of a real connection. 

How does this relate to genealogy? Genealogy is about your family roots. Making connections to the past and present. Opening up doors for discovery and linking your journey to your ancestors and descendants. What a great way to make those connections and open up the present to learn more about your family. The photo above shows a writing case with letters and cards in it, letters and cards that help chronicle an ancestors life and those that they were connected with. Who is saving your letters and cards, better yet, whose letters and cards are you saving?

Whose birthday is in your family for the month of August? Is there someone across the U.S.A. or the world that you can connect with?

Where I Come From

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What would you find if you went back home? A treasure, a memory you thought was forgotten? Perhaps you don’t want to go back home, so, what will you leave for someone else to discover about your journey in the last 10 years?

Honey or Vinegar – they both have their place in life

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Honey versus Vinegar.

Is this something that you practice everyday, every week, once a month, when you think of it, or ?

Did any of your ancestors live their lives this way? When is the last time a stranger did something unexpected and out of kindness to you?

My mother used to say, “you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. “I don’t want to catch flies, gross”, I would reply. But I knew that she meant having a forgiving spirit and kind countenance brings about a calmness and joy that would not have otherwise been available.

Taking a few seconds to let that car in ahead of you, giving up your place in line for the person who has one or two items – or a bunch of kids that are tired of shopping – gives something that seems rare, but so very much appreciated.

 

 

Living local or Living far, far, away

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Where do you live?

Do you live in the same place that your parents and grandparents and other relatives live? Do you live far away and only see your family and where your parents grew up or grandparents and ancestors settled down?

Start where you are. How did you get to be where you are today? Ask your children – even if they are adult children – what would they like to know about where your parents or grandparents or great grandparents lived. It may surprise you what they do want to know.

Do they want to know what house they were in?, what town?, how they got there? Or do they want to know how your ancestors got to America in the first place and when?

Sometimes it is best to let your children ask the questions, and then together you can find the answers. For example, in the 70’s and 80’s many high-schoolers would take a couple of months and ask the ‘elders’ in their community about their lives and who they knew and what the town was like and what was happening, some were even able to get photographs. Then they would compile the information and publish a book about it, some published locally, some published with a well known publishing company.  Perhaps in one of the hometowns of your grandparents there is such a book, you can check the libraries to see if there might be something where you are looking.

Maybe your high school, middle school, 4-H club or even homeschool group could plan to undertake such a task for where you live in the 2014-2015 school year! You could invite the local historical society to help contribute information or contacts, the local library,

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Where were you in 1776?

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As my family gathered together to share in the celebration of the birthday of our great nation, I took a brief moment to actually hear the sounds echoing off the hills and through the valleys. I also took the time to teach my grandchildren that those sounds might have been similar to the sounds their ancestors heard in their orchards and at their houses.
“The Rockets Red Glare, The bombs bursting in air”, thanks to our neighbors,
were what we were experiencing ourselves, and how our/their ancestors were in the heat of battle, caring for the wounded, and fighting for their freedom.

Where were your ancestors in 1776? What can you tell your family about them?