Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year and A Gift to the Future!

The holidays are over. It’s a new year, but that still means it is January. There are decorations to put away, tax documents to gather, a chill in the air at best, and snow, cold, and ice, for many. 

Among all of this, one of my yearly tasks is to put “the book” away. This book was innocently created long ago and contains a record, going back nearly twenty years, of our family’s (and often friends’) hopes, dreams, observations, wishes, memories, and histories. It has evolved to become a book of the highest value.

I could spend all of 2014 describing this book, and from time-to-time I may discuss it. However, the focus of this blog is my journey toward my Board Certification in Genealogy and “The Book” occupies another place in my world.

The place that it occupies is the writer in me. That said, I am creating a book proposal that contains the history of this book, some of the family stories, and a guide to creating something like it for others create and through it, they may be able to retain an aspect of their own lives that would otherwise be lost. As a guide book, per se, I intend to show how history can be recorded for future generation. The concept is not limited to large families or small ones, but can be designed to fit the needs of any situation. It can be simple, elaborate, or in between and it requires only the skills that each person possesses. 

However, there are some very important steps involved in the creation of this book. These are things that we have learned over the years and are necessary to get the best results. Using these guidelines, anyone can develop something as unique and as valuable as our book. Experience, as they say, is a wonderful teacher.

In the meantime, I am back to blogging about genealogy here and my experiences in certification, as well as my experiences with sources, brick walls, finding a way through the many twists and turns that lie out there in the genealogical world. I will leave you with a genealogical tip to start your new year off in the best possible way.

Today’s tip is this: Always remember that, while you are looking for records and clues to your ancestors’ lives, you yourself, are making history for your descendants. Even if you have no children, you are someone’s aunt, uncle, or cousin. You do matter to those who come after us and it is up to all of us living now to leave an honest, accurate record of our lives. What might seem embarrassing to you now will become a surprising quirk once time has past and we are noted in history, some one hundred years from now. Be authentic. Do not hide the facts, especially medical issues or procedures, if only from the future. If you cannot bear to speak the truth now, then leave a letter with instructions that it is not to be opened until decades after your demise, or even a century from now. Just be real and honest about who you are. The future will thank you for it.