Lauren is in charge of the prompt this week and I am looking forward to responding. She is tackling one of my favorite topics. Head over to her blog to read the rules and join in.
This week’s prompt is: Passing on Family Stories
I would tell you I did not get interested in my family genealogy until just 10 short years ago. As a matter of fact, I hated it when my sister went on and on about her family research and her treks through family cemeteries. It was only a few years later that I began to tell my children (and possibly bore them with) the stories I myself had unraveled.
The truth is, my interest in my family history began when I was a child and listened to the family stories I heard at the feet of my elders. Sadly, in many cases, it was a broken history that did not extend much past my great-grandparents.
After my sister passed away and all her research lost, I joined Ancestry. I submitted a saliva sample to reveal my DNA and started gathering documents. I have now become the holder of our family history. I have told many of those stories here in my blog and may link back to some of those stories today.
Our entire family was fascinated by the stories of when my grandfather was a teacher in the Philippines in the early 1900s. He worked at an agricultural school. He returned to the US, married my grandmother, and returned to the Philippines where their first two children were born. I was fascinated by the stories. I learned it took 30 days by ship to make the journey. I learned about the cultural differences and the friendships they made there. I actually found a letter of recommendation sent in support of my grandfather and this teaching position in the National Archives.
My paternal great-grandfather was ‘run out of town on a rail’. He had been married before he married my great-grandmother, but no one really knows exactly why he was so disliked. I just know it left my great-grandmother with five children to raise on her own. I have never been able to find the place where he was buried. I did find his death certificate and it led me to believe he may have been an alcoholic as well.
I found my paternal grandfather had been married before. It was not something anyone knew or talked about. There was a child, too, but I think it was his wife’s child from a prior marriage.
The best stories, though, are the kind that reveal personality and feeling. Like my grandfather’s friend who was killed in a crane accident. Or my Dad’s story of seeing little green men in the living room. I loved the daredevil stories about my mom, too.
After my Dad passed away, we found a note he had written about a near death accident he had as a child. None of us had ever heard it. It must have been traumatic.
For my children, I printed a copy of their family tree and printed photos of their grandparents as many generations back as I could find. They are in a beautiful leather album. At least they will have a head start once they begin to wonder about their heritage.
There are a million questions I wish I had asked, but in so many cases I was just too young.
I have a cassette tape my father recorded for me. My daughter copied the section of the tape where he told me he loved me and recorded it on a chip in a Teddy Bear. To hear his voice again always brings me to my knees.
I know most of my family came from England and Ireland. I have never made it to either place but I still hope I can make it one day.