Sunday, February 26, 2017

History--Take an Interest--Pass it on

Are we remembering our history and are we involving our next generations in the preservation and documentation of that history? This is a question that has been on my mind for a good while now. I have always had a love for history but it was not brought to the forefront until I was about 22 years old. I was going thru a rough part of my life dealing with a loss and I needed a hobby which would take my mind off of my grief. I was lucky enough to have a family friend who took me to a college library and started me in finding my family in census records. From then on, I was hooked on history and wanted to know more about my ancestors and about history makers. Does that still happen today? I don't know if people still mentor--they should. I see so many of the younger generation turning to other outlets sometimes ones which are self-destructive.

Electronic media is used for everything. I'm not saying it is bad--it's not. It makes research so much easier than it has been in years but in some ways it makes our research lazy if we are not careful. Sometimes the only way you can find a record is in "Boots on the ground" mode. Everything is not online. Print out those family pictures you have on that SD card. Have something you can pass on to your cousins and descendants. Write letters. Go to your local library and look through their historical collection. The majority of those are books not available in digital copies and are non-circulating. I have always said, "I've never had to wait for a book to charge." Find a happy balance between old and new.

Support your local historical society. If there is one in your area, you are lucky. So many are inactive in the areas where my family lived. I think in some ways the generation gap and the Internet played a part. You could get a great deal of things on-line and the members of the historical societies for whatever reason, just let the societies die out rather than make an online presence. If you are a member of a historical society I challenge you to find a way to get the younger generations in your area involved.

Start your own blog about history, whether it is your family history, memories, traditions or local history you find fascinating. It can be any kind--Local Sports history, old buildings, church histories.  There is a need for blogs about family history as was brought to my attention recently.

Lend a hand. There are many indexing projects out there preserving and making available historical documents. The first one that comes to mind is but there are many more out there. Google search for a type that would interest you.

Teach or learn a trade so that it isn't forgotten to time. Cooking, gardening, building, fishing--teach so it lives on; learn so it lives on. When you are older, those smells of food cooking, scent of flowers, sounds of nature will be ones that stick with you.

Many families don't sit around the supper table and talk anymore. So much of oral history isn't passed on. Don't forget the art of conversation. Talk to your elders but more importantly, listen to them.

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