Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Family Tree

This past week went by really fast.  I have been working on a special gift for my daughter.  It has taken me longer than I thought to complete, and I'm not sure I'm through with it yet.  I made a family tree with photos. I put in photos I have of ancestors and then I searched online for more photos.  I put in names of great grandparents and great great grandparents and I was amazed at how many photos I found.  It is interesting to see how much we look like some of our ancestors.  My dad looks a lot like his mother's father.  My sister looks a lot like our dad's mother.  Although I've had names and birth dates and birth places and other information on my ancestors before, I have found some photos I never saw before.  A photo makes a great grandparent seem more real even though you knew they were real before.  It does make a difference to be able to see what they looked like.  This has been a project that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

If you don't have photos of all your ancestors but you do have their names, try putting the names in a search box and see what you can find.  Contact any family members also and see if they have photos that you can get copies of.  Then try putting the photos in a regular pedigree chart or create your own family tree like I did.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What Did You Do When It Rained?

Here is another question to help you write your story:

What did you do when it rained?

How rain affected your life probably depends a lot on where you live.  If you lived in the Pacific Northwest where it rains a lot, it would be different from living in the southwest desert where rain is rare and very welcome when it comes.  

If you grew up with a lot of rain, you probably learned to just deal with the rain.  You made sure you always had an umbrella and a raincoat when you went somewhere.  Some things that needed to be done outside you just went ahead and did it without waiting for the rain to stop.

If you grew up in an arid climate, you may have felt like rain was a time to celebrate and enjoy or you may have felt that it was an annoyance since you didn't have to deal with rain very often.  You may have wanted to take a walk in the rain or you may have preferred to stay inside until it stopped.

I have always loved the smell of rain.  Living in an arid area there are many times that it will look like rain and smell like rain, but it won't rain.  Sometimes you can even see the rain coming down from a cloud, but it will evaporate before it hits the ground.  It is a wonderful feeling when we actually get rain especially on a hot summer day.  When the rain is followed by a beautiful rainbow, it is especially delightful.

Of course rain can cause damage and can spoil plans.  I remember a summer rain that turned into a flash flood.  I had to stay in a store for a couple of hours because the parking lot had turned into a river of fast flowing water.  The workers in the store were frantically working to keep the water out of the store.  If there are thunderstorms, it is wise to change your plans for outdoor activities, for talking on the phone or for working on a computer.

When you think of times it has rained in your life, what do you remember?  Were any plans changed because of rain?  Did anything get damaged because of rain?  Did the rain cool things down on a hot summer day?  Was there a beautiful rainbow after the storm?  Write down your memories of rain and add to your story.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Help for Doing an Oral History

 I came across this website on the Monday Roundup at the following blog:

This website gives step-by-step help in making an oral history.  Doing an oral history is a good addition to a written history or can be an alternative when someone isn't able to write their history or isn't motivated to write their history.  An added benefit is having the actual voice of a family member recorded.  An oral history can also be done with a video where you would have voice and pictures. 


Monday, July 5, 2010

How Did You Celebrate the Fourth of July?

Here is another idea to write about in your personal and family history:

How did you celebrate the Fourth of July?

Today is the fifth of July, but it is the day I get off from work because the Fourth of July fell on a Sunday this year.  Yesterday we watched the DVD "A More Perfect Union" which is about the creation of the Constitution.  I pulled out the encyclopedia and read about some of the founders of our country.  I found online the Library of Congress website where we could read the original documents of our country.  You can personalize your experience with the website at the link following: 
Tonight we are getting together with friends and have a potluck dinner and a sundown there will be a fireworks display not far from our home that we can watch.  
The Fourth of July was different when I was young.  In the little town of 300 people that I grew up in, we had a parade on the morning of the Fourth of July followed by a program of patriotic music and readings and speeches about the freedom we enjoy.  Any one who wanted to be in the parade could be.  You could decorate a bike, a wagon, a car or truck and ride down the street.  One year when I was in high school, all the members of the junior high and high school bands joined together to play and march in the parade.  Even though we lived in a small town we had a lot of opportunity to be involved and contribute.  We could buy food for lunch.  Then there were races and games on the lawn at the school.  Softball games and a rodeo often rounded out the day.  
Remembering the founders of our country is an important part of celebration our nation's independence.  As I have searched for stories about my ancestors I have found accounts of how my ancestors were involved in America's history.  Reading the account of two ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War and their perspective on the Battle of Bunker Hill was very interesting.  The history of America becomes more real and alive as I read about my ancestors involvement.  
Writing down your memories of Fourth of July celebrations is an important part of your personal history.  Writing about your ancestors involvement in the history of America is an important part of your family history.