Leaving The Past
I know most people really do not want to think about the inevitable, but it is a fact of life that we must all face at some point in time. We all must leave this life. Some are prepared and some of us
aren’t. Some have given great thought as to whom receives what.
We thought about our spouses, our children, grandchildren, charitable organizations and friends. We are concerned about them and rightfully so. We make provisions for property, money, stocks and bonds to name a few. Some think this is my Legacy. But if you are a Family Historian, what will happen to your years of work? Will it be discarded into next days trash? Will it sit on a shelf never to be held by loving hands again? Will it be sent to a library who will at least preserve it. Or will you hand it to someone who will cherish the family you have discovered as much as you do. Someone who will lovingly glaze upon an old photograph or portrait. Someone who will squeal with delight when they find the key that unlocks the next door.
Thank you Susan Godman Rager of the Northern Neck of Virginia Law Page for composing the Memorandum Regarding Genealogical Data and Records .” Susan used what we previously had posted along with a similar version from Rootsweb and wrote an easy to use form with modern concerns. So when making your preparations ask yourself?
- Who will treasure my Family History as much as I do?
- Who will appreciate the years of research that’s contained in a file cabinet, in notebooks and folders?
- Who will preserve the photographs, the documents, the letters I have saved with the love and dignity they deserve.
- Who will be my next Story Teller?
We are the chosen. My feelings are, in each family, there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before.
We are the Story Tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called as if it were in our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us. ” Tell our story. ” So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us? How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can’t let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today.
It goes to respecting their hardships, their losses and building a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family.
It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.