This morning it dawned on me… I really am a Keeper Of The Stories.
This is the 2nd winter I intentionally set aside a block of time to work on family history. I’m trying to tie together the collective stories of both, my and my wife’s family history.
And once I am satisfied I have a fairly detailed representation from each root, I’m hoping to put this information together in 5 hardcover books.
Either you get it or you don’t….(this interest in family history.) I can tell when I’ve met another person who has been bitten by the bug. There is an instant connection. I’m guessing only 10% of the population has been infected.
I’ve tried to analyze the draw.
Heck even googled it this morning.. “What is the fascination with genealogy?
Speaking just for myself, here my draw:
As I think about what my parents, and grandparents, and their parents and grandparents went through the past hundred and fifty to two hundred years, I am grounded. They’ve lived through multiple world wars, the Great Depression, a severe depression in Germany, the Irish Famine… immigrated to a foreign land, dealt with alcohol addiction, attended college 100 years ago, death, abject poverty, discrimination because of their background, raised large gardens, raised large families, butchered their own meat, and on and on and on….
I hear these stories and it grounds me….right here, right now.
I’ve never been 100% happy with the way family trees are typically displayed…The closest thing I’ve ever seen that I liked was a room in one of the Harry Potter movies with someone’s family tree….a mural on a wall, with winding branches, pictures, etc.
It finally clicked in my mind last week, my version of a family history display. It is part mural, and part book. 5 books to be exact.
A main trunk (which represents the family my wife and I have created) 4 branches (each representing one of our four children, and 4 roots. Each root, tied to a book. A root tracing my dad’s families of origin, a root for my mom’s, and two roots for my wife’s parents. The trunk will have a book entitled “The Story of Us”. Each book, a combination of pictures, narratives , newspaper clippings, and notes on world events at the time.
For example, my dad and mom’s formative years were right during The Great Depression. Neither one had indoor plumbing, etc. so definitely going to have some stories about that. Dad’s father, my grandpa, as I’ve written about before, used to make moonshine with his brother Meno. I found out a few years ago, Meno and Opa as I called him, had a Moonshine route. In addition to including their moonshine recipe, which I have, I want to spend a little time talking about prohibition, don’t you think? 😉
Grandma (my dad’s mom) immigrated from Germany in 1929. Some of you have seen the picture I’ve posted before of her on the boat coming to America:
Oma, 2nd from the right, on the boat coming to America 1929
You can bet, that will be in the book….
Anyway, This morning the creative juices started to bubble over.
We’re getting together with my wife’s 2nd cousin on Monday who has a stash of old family photos and stories to go with them. I can’t wait.
Feel free to share any tips/ thoughts you might have… DM