One of my big regrets in life is not asking enough questions about my parents’ and grandparents’ ancestry when they were still alive. I didn’t care much about the family tree when I was a kid or even as a young adult. Now they’re gone and their stories died with them. Had I known how much it would mean to me now, I would have asked them to tell me more stories about their lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents.
That’s the bummer about genealogy – it’s fairly easy to get the data, the certificates and the facts, but what’s really missing and what means the most are the stories. Who were these people? What were their beliefs? What hardships did they endure? What brought them joy?
My message to young people out there is this – even though it may seem like a drag now, talk to your parents and your grandparents. Ask them lots of questions and write it all down. It may not seem valuable now, but trust me, a day will come when you’ll be glad you did. There’s an old African proverb that goes something like this – “When an old man dies, a library burns.”
Written by Susan 3/20/19