23 November 2012

Ramblings on why family history?

If you were fortunate you grew up with loving parents; they may be gone, there's a lasting emotional attachment. You have fond memories of grandparents; perhaps fragmentary memories of great grandparents from early childhood. Artefacts are preserved and there are equally treasured stories of previous generations.
Generations back the number of ancestors increases to fill a village, then several villages, then a country, etc., few would claim an emotional attachment. Can you appreciate the life of people who lived several hundred years ago… there's no app for that!
Falling into the vastness of forgotten history is our fate, even before history itself evaporates in astronomical catastrophe.
Not to despair.
Megan Smolenyak's in her Honoring our Ancestors website expresses it:

"Perhaps the most powerful and under-appreciated aspect of genealogy is its ability to bring people together - across time, distance and other barriers."
The Genealogy in Time newsletter has an article on Why Genealogy Is Important which concludes
Genealogy helps satisfy a deep need to understand how we fit into the broader world around us. From this perspective, genealogy is more than just a collection of single family threads that go through time. Genealogy truly is a journey of many lifetimes woven together from the past, the present and (from our perspective) the future.
This is catering to a very personal desire, even yearning, to find one's own place.

Today we're often only known by our username and password, or account number and pin, and forced through security screening and customs at airports ... like biological units, not humans.

Remember "In The Beginning" by The Moody Blues
First Man: I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.
Establishment: Of course you are my bright little star, I've miles And miles Of files Pretty files of your forefather's fruit and now to suit our great computer, You're magnetic ink.
First Man: I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.
Inner Man: There you go man, keep as cool as you can.
Face piles
And piles
Of trials
With smiles.
It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave
And keep on thinking free.
Note: I compiled this post a year ago and then forgot about it. Sometimes I snip material I find as a reference for a post. I may have done so for part of this article without knowing where it came from.

1 comment:

John Ogilvie said...

Sharing fun historic facts can bring families together – if only by starting a conversation – across barriers of time and distance. I'm designing software that will use history to help strengthen family ties by automatically creating email, text, or other messages that help younger family members understand what the world was like when older family members were their age. The software will use info about family members, family events, family relationships, and automatically located historic facts in topics the younger family member likes. The facts could be obtained automatically from digitized historic newspapers, web searches, or other sources.
For example, an automatically created note might read:

Jess, with your Grandma Rose’s birthday coming soon, I thought you might like to know some ways the world has changed since Grandma Rose was your age. When Grandma Rose was 9, in the year 1930, the Mickey Mouse comic strip made its first appearance, and Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to ride in an airplane and also the first cow to be milked in an airplane. A lot has changed, but you know Grandma Rose will always love you. Xoxoxox Mom

This will not be traditional genealogy software but it shares the same passion for oral history and strengthening family bonds I see expressed in genealogy blogs and forums. Sharing a fun fact is a great way to start a conversation across generations. I would appreciate any feedback. Please check it out at http://www.indiegogo.com/notes-from-when. Thanks!