Friday, October 21, 2011

My Little Slice of History

I love history - always have.  The more I learn about a time and place, the more I want to know.  I like getting into the heads of folks from "back then" and understanding what made them different from me, and discovering how much like me they were.

Since I was very young my mom and dad provided the history of me (and my sisters, but really ME!) when they told family stories.  Some were funny - Aunt Mildred waking up her much younger sister to get up for school when Aunt Mildred had just gotten home (at a reasonable hour) from a date.  Some were dramatic - the time dad fell out of the tree, cut his neck and was knocked out cold, making his sister believe he was dead, so she buried him.  Some were romantic - mom seeing dad at the diner counter and telling a friend that she was going to marry that man.  Others were sad - dad's own father's death when my dad was barely a teenager.

Because my parents were such good story tellers, I was always intrigued by my family.  They seemed so much more interesting and alive than I was.  No snow up to the second story, no shoveling coal into the furnace, no dad gone for weeks at a time in order to find work and feed his family.  We lived ordinary lives.

As I got older I realized that my family considered their lives to be normal and ordinary, too.  EVERYONE had to walk to school, EVERYONE worked hard, ALL the dads took whatever work they could find, regardless of how far it took them from home.

Now that I am a historian and genealogist I know that the lives of my family, both the previous generation and the generations of the 18th century, were both normal and unique.  The general outline was the same as that of their neighbors and friends, but the details were uniquely their own.

As I continue to uncover the stories of my family's past I will record them here.  Sometimes I will debunk a long-cherished myth.  Other times I will prove the truth of the family legend.  And I have already found a couple of amazing ordinary folks lurking in our family tree.

Interested in uncovering more of your own family history?  Check out my company, Heritage and Family, and see what I have to offer.

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