Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All Memories Past and Present

Most of us are interested in writing about our childhood memories and family stories, bringing the past to the present. Most of those reading this are genealogists, after all.

We have been taught not to forget the past as remembering and understanding our history will help us not to repeat the parts we wish to ignore. It is very important to record what our ancestors did, how they lived, and what they thought. It is equally important, however, to record the present…that fleeting present that so quickly becomes the past.

Not only would your great-great-grandchildren wish to know what life is like now, but they would want to know more about the person who is preserving their family heritage…YOU. It is only fair that they understand you, your interests, and what your life is like currently.

It is often difficult to write about ourselves and about the present. We believe that the Internet will preserve every thought, every artifact, and every move our society makes. We often believe that our presence is of lesser importance than our past. To you that may be so, but you are not writing your memories for you, but for your descendants…and not just your children or grandchildren. You must consider a larger view and understand that your work will be passed along for many generations. Those who read about you and your family stories may not understand the terms we use today, or the specifics of our society. For these reasons, you must record the present while preserving the past.

And just how does one do that?

Many of you may already record snippets of the present and do not realize it. Those who keep a date book, write on a calendar, write letters or emails are recording the present. Gather all these into one place. That place could be a timeline which I have discussed in previous articles. Your Timeline can be used for your childhood memories, as well as a diary for more current activities. Using a computer and disciplining yourself to jot down the events of the week on a certain schedule will greatly help.

However, there are some very important topics that should be larger stories. Most of these are covered in more detail in my booklet, but for the one-line version of a few ideas, you could include writing about:

1. How and why you were given your name.
2. Your personality. (Just what do you know and understand about yourself?)
3. The role various organizations play in your life. (clubs, religion, social groups, etc.)
4. The people who have influenced your life.
5. The lessons you have learned within your life.
6. Your typical day or week.

Lastly, there are the events in society today. These are very important to record as headlines are being made daily. The following are just a few topics of great significance in recent times.

1. Where were you on 9/11, and how did if affect you and our society?
2. Rising gas prices over the last few years with a bit of relief in the present.
3. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
4. Our unique political race for President. (We will make history no matter the outcome.)
5. The financial turmoil we are experiencing.
6. The growth and direction of technology.

When you are writing about those ancestors or about your childhood, remember that you will be an ancestor to others, and they will wish to know more about you as an adult. You and the present climate are just as important as your past family members!

©aulicino, 29 Oct 2008

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