Will you be beloved or bemoaned?
If you're lucky, you have an ancestor who left a wealth of information for you to discover. Either it's a juicy tale that's well documented by papers, or a photo album that has every person meticulously identified by name, date of birth, location, and shoe size.
Maybe it's someone who knew the value of recording complete information on a grave marker and who had the financial resources to actually engrave it in stone, like this wonderful marker I came across at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California. It lists birth, death, place and relationship information for about 20 family members of the Lewellen, Reynolds, Knott, Mace, Stalder, Terrell and other families. We should be this lucky!
What kind of ancestor will you be for your great-great-grandchildren? Will you leave your own stories, a diary with details of your daily life? Will you leave a rich bounty of information about life in the early 21st century? Or will you be one of the many who are born, wed and dead without leaving any life details?
Start today to be a beloved ancestor. Write a few lines every day. SCGS member Amy Coffin, MLS, though GeneaBloggers, has launched a series for 2011 called "52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History." You don't need to be a blogger, you don't need to post your writings and you don't have to share with anyone. But think about using the topics as a prompt to get you started on your own writing.
Thus far this year, the topics have been:
Week 1: Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?!
Week #2 – Winter Memories Week 2: Winter. What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.
Week 3: Cars. What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.
It's not too late to get started now to record your own family history. I know you'll have fun cruising down memory lane as you pull together the things you remember from your own past. Put on some music in the background, especially songs from the years you are writing about. Flip through a photo album or scrapbook to jog your memory.
If you'd like some support from other writers, think about joining the SCGS Writers Group. Jean Snow is the leader of the group, which is open to SCGS members. Contact Jean for meeting dates and times at email@example.com. You'll be glad you did!
Just like the Nike commercial says, Just Do It!