Knowing and keeping family history is important
By KATHERINE RIVERA
Have you ever wondered what the culprit is for a dying paper genealogy era? Technology is the reason why it is getting harder and harder to find quality photo albums and scrap booking materials. Even big national craft chains have begun to close because of this lack of interest. Family history is more and more advanced and one needs to remember that it is not only about photos to look at. Modern family history is hopefully not going to be merely our Facebook accounts, though some like to use it as such, it is so much more.
What is family history? It is genealogy, but it is an easier, more familiar term that is used today. Family history is the interest in and collection of facts about your family from the past and the present. This includes many items, storytelling, scrapbooks and albums, video clips, including keeping journals, taking pictures, guarding special keepsakes, digital scanning and uploading to a digital platform or cloud files in order that the personal information and history does not get lost.
In an article in the March 2013 New York Times entitled “The Stories That Bind Us,” author Bruce Feiler shared psychologists’ findings that the more children knew about their family history, the better they were able to handle stressful situations. The reasons were that the children realized they were a part of something bigger than themselves, they understood their family overcame many ups and downs, and they believed they could overcome difficulties too.
One might ask themselves “What do you as a parent do to keep your family history in this modern day and age?” Every millisecond that passes you are creating your family history. Families are very diverse and one should not wait or you risk forgetting important details. Also you must not get carried away and keep ALL the papers that come home from school. Most of the time only the most important items and “firsts” need to be kept.
One can start by selecting an online program, such as www.familysearch.org, which is my personal favorite. FamilySearch allows you to research online and even children can enter and upload pictures, stories, etc. and also print their digital pedigrees that FamilySearch creates. It also has free connections to Find A Grave, Ancestry.com, My Heritage, and many other special features and digitally calculates hints. They guarantee and back up all files for a perpetual digital data preservation. Google photos also permits a large amount of free cloud space for videos.
Thanks to thousands of volunteers, we also have online access to millions of worldwide government and religious documents that have been digitally indexed and put in order for easy searches. My personal family history has been able to find generations even up to the late 1500s in Spain from my husband’s Bolivian side thanks to this digital data from www.familysearch.org.
Home computers with access online are the most accessible place for researching and recording family history. Most local libraries have actual genealogists and/or genealogy sections. Also, most Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints buildings have genealogical research facilities open to all with trained family history consultants. In fact, there is a large fest twice a year usually where one can sign up for classes and workshops free of charge. In the spring it will be in Jamestown. Many in-detail subjects are taught, such as DNA, German, British classes, and internet tools like I have mentioned.
How do you get your children involved in family history? First of all I like to document each of my children’s personal history for them to see as they are growing up. You might want to get a special photo deal through a major chain and print photos when you have multiples of 100. That is the most frugal way to go. Also choose an album, or for certificates, ribbons, and special school work you should get page protectors in mass online and place in binders divided by each child and each grade or school year span.
My older children love to look at their preschool work and are proud to see it and hold it in their hands. That way they will take you seriously and understand how important your deceased ancestors are to you if you think they as your children are important first. You can search “questions for interviewing ancestors” and find a plethora of prompts to have a rich interview full of information that your children can do for living grandparents, or you can let the children interview their parents.
What I like best is that thanks to technology, it is very easy to record digitally. Read children’s books focused on family to your children. Also have the children interview living relatives and record it either by video or audio. Have them begin studying ancestors by beginning with themselves! Make a pedigree chart with your child’s name in the center and show them who they are with their tree.