Saturday, September 17, 2016

Scrapbook Saturday: Telling My Story

I have a passion for understanding the stories of people's lives, especially the stories of my ancestors. My great-great grandparents immigrated to New York from Ireland during, at least I think, the 1840s. As I have followed their movements through census records and directories, I have asked myself lots of questions about them. What took them to Cayuga county in New York? Why were they living with David and Sophronia Taylor? When did they move to Pennsylvania? When did their daughter die? Why did they move to Pennsylvania? Were they a happy family? What were the kids like--were they happy together?

I doubt I will ever find the answers to the majority of those questions. As far as I know, neither of them left behind a diary describing their lives. So I have to make guesses.

Sometimes the stories disappear shockingly fast--within a generation. My mother moved a lot during her childhood. I know and understand why those moves were made, but will my children or grandchildren?

Those questions haunt me and press me to record my own life and the facts and stories about my own little family. We live a rich and complicated life that deserves to be recorded and shared. I want my children to understand what drove me to leave my small hometown in Wyoming. I want my grandchildren to understand their parents adventures as kids. I want my children to understand that despite the challenges of being a mother, it was work that I found (mostly) joyful and meaningful.

Do you know that if you don't share the stories you know about your family or stories about your past, they will die with you? The only way those stories will have any lasting power if they are written down, in hard copy form--on a piece of paper, in a journal, in a letter written on paper, or in a scrapbook.

Do you know that all those pictures you take will die with you if you don't print them? They will just go away if you don't print and curate them.

What's holding you back from sharing your story? Start telling it. You have meaning and your stories are important.


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