Heritage Hints From Mama #1
Getting In Touch With Your Living Ancestors-
Hello from the Deep South, home of magnolias, sweet tea and sweltering hot summers! I am Christy’s Mama and have been invited to share a little wisdom gleamed from my years of experience. Some of it may come in handy and others may just be a little bit of rambling thoughts from my cobwebbed brain. You can take either with a grain of salt. If you have any comments or suggestions along the way, they will be welcomed. Remember, I am getting old so coddle me a bit. Well, here goes!
Today I want to talk about our living ancestors. Do you have a grandparent, older aunt, or uncle living? If so, call today and set up a time for a visit. It doesn’t have to be in person if they live a little far off from you. A phone call will do nicely. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome and I’m sure your relative will be more than willing to talk with you. They are some of your family’s most precious resources- connect with them!
Is there a favorite food you enjoyed as a child that was prepared by someone in your family? Have you ever wondered about how family traditions started? Or have you ever thought about tracing your family tree? Your older relatives are the easiest way to solve these mysteries and sadly, once these relatives pass on, their knowledge goes with them.
Take a week or so, to think about growing up and some of the memories that come to mind. Make a list of questions you would like answered. You will probably be surprised at the things you think of. Christy hears of so many people that enjoyed a certain food when they were small and long for just one more taste of it. Most of the time it is an everyday food that was prepared from memory and just can’t quite be duplicated. All it would have taken was a few minutes to watch it being prepared and taking a few notes. But when that relative passed on, the recipe was lost forever. Don’t let this happen to you.
If you have ever thought of taking up genealogy as a hobby, your relatives are your best and easiest by far resource for getting a great start. Ask about grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Take detailed notes and list any names, locations, birth dates, marriages, deaths, etc. Let your relative talk about whatever crosses their mind. You will learn much more than names and dates. You will learn about the where and why that made your family what it was.
If you are able to, take older relatives back to where they lived and went to school, church, etc. It is amazing the stories that they will recall. I have done this with my mother who is 80 years young and even though I had asked questions a thousand times with no answers, it was amazing some of the things she remembered when taken back to the places where she had carried on her day to day life.
Also ask your older relatives if they have any old family pictures. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. By sure and list who the people are in the picture. Believe me, I am speaking from experience. You will probably forget Aunt Sophie’s sister’s name and where they were when the picture was taken. Nowadays, it just takes a quick trip and a little cash to get a picture copied. The old pictures don’t mean a thing if you don’t know who is in them. Old pictures are some of my most prized possessions and I’m sure they will become some of yours too!
To get you started, take a minute and think about what you would have liked to know from relatives who have passed on. Then, you may just realize the importance of taking advantage of the resources you have before they are gone. We are all busy and even though we have good intentions, it seems like we have a hard time getting around to some of the important aspects of our lives. Please make an appointment to take care of a little family business before it is too late. This is just a little advice from me to you.
I’d love to hear some of the wisdom or family history you have uncovered just by taking the time to talk with your living relatives. Please feel free to chat with me in the comments section below. I’ll read them all and look forward to answering!
I’ll be talking with you from time to time but until then, remember Mama loves you and I’ll see you soon!
“There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children – one is roots, and the other, wings.”
~Hodding S. Carter