A Story About FamilyWritten by Shantel Parks
My mom is big into genealogy. Her mother, my Grammie, was also very enthusiastic about finding ancestors. My brothers and I really just didn’t care. The excitement Grammie had when she had found something out about somebody was very contagious and rubbed off quickly onto my mother, but my brothers and I were completely immune.
We just did not get how searching through decades of census records was enjoyable, and their compulsion to do so seemed odd in a semi-endearing way. To us, we knew logically that these people were family, however many generations back, and that was mildly intriguing. But beyond a cursory “yay, how great” we didn’t get the same kick out of genealogy that they did.
Since that time, I have come to understand that story teaches me so many things about the who, how, what, where, and why, and when you put those things on the bare bones of a pedigree chart, those people become real to me in a way that I never thought was possible.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some time at RootsTech, and I can say that it reinforced my understanding of how story makes genealogy relevant to those that do not find the thrill in dusty old documents. The story of who my ancestors were and what they did and where they lived make them matter to me in a much greater way than seeing their name on a chart. I feel like I know who they are when I know their stories.
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And if you are like I was with genealogy, remember that there is a difference between genealogy – where and who you come from – and family history – who you are and what you’re life is like right now. Recording those moments that make up your memories is every bit as important as knowing who your great uncle 12 times removed is.
After all, what will your posterity know about you beyond a name and date if you don’t give them a story of who you are and what your life is like?
Take a minute and write down memories you have of your Mom/Dad, Brothers/Sisters, Grandma/Grandpa. (taken from the "When I Was Little" story starter)
Shantel's love of story began in her childhood with fairy tales. As a wife of 13 years and a mother of 4, she gets a daily sampling of the many genre's of story, including (but not at all limited to) - humor, alternate history, dramatic interpretations, tall tales, tragedy, and a smattering of anecdotes based on true stories. A sometimes blogger, a frequent do-it-yourselfer, and always fond of Cadbury Mini Eggs, Shantel can be found, most days, going 5 different directions, but usually ending up in her favorite place - at home.
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