You have been thinking about starting collecting your family history and stories but you aren’t sure yet. This article collects the five things that you absolutely need to know in order to get you started on your family history!
1)Your relatives WANT to do it!
Many people who begin their family history (including myself when I started) feel that they are alone in a seemingly enormous task. Well, luckily this is not the case. In every family there are always relatives that have thought about doing it for years but have never done so. Be the first to do it! The older ones are probably keenest on sharing their stories, but do not underestimate younger ones also. The trick is just to ask and show that you are enthusiastic, others will follow! That’s what happened with me, as I explain in this post.
2)Family history is much more than a family tree!
People think that collecting your family history means creating a family tree. Well, let’s say that a family tree can help to recreate your history, but it is just a small part of it!
What matters are the stories behind the names written in the tree. The trick is to ask around relatives and those who knew your ancestors to obtain interesting stories about them. You will see that those names become alive with character and stories. You will learn much more about whom your ancestors were by asking around than by visiting archives in order to get a date or place. Your relatives will tell you things that you cannot find anywhere else: they are the best source of information.
3)There is no better time to start then now.
Procrastinating is easy, it’s the human nature. Everybody always thinks that there is time to collect the history of the family, and that there is no reason to hurry. Well, that’s the reason why the majority of the families do not have the collection of their stories. Many times those stories are preserved only in the memory of people, and when those people leave us they carry away their precious memories. What makes family histories rich are not the documents closed in the archives (which are often safe, but they should not be taken for granted!) but the stories narrated directly by the people!
4)You don’t need to have blue blood in your veins!
Many begin their family history research the hope of finding some noble and famous ancestor. They believe that discovering their noble origins would make their family history worth researching and preserving. Well, there are two wrong assumptions in this kind of thinking. First of all, in the majority of the case people do not have any blood ties to anybody famous or noble, so avoid websites that promise you to find your family coat of arms or crest. If somebody has one, he is likely to be aware of it! Second, not having noble ancestors does not mean that you family stories are not worth preserving. To the eyes of future generations knowing how people lived when internet did not exist, or when phones did not take pictures will be something already marvellous! And the same thing applies to the stories of your ancestors, which will be amazing in any case. Think of how different is your life from the one of your great grandpa. He probably never saw a computer!
5)Family history is not just about the past
Collecting the story of your family does not only mean gathering the stories of your ancestors. Your family history can also contain the stories of your childhood and youth, and the ones that are happening right now! This way, you can keep a record of your history, and write down the important events when you still remember the details. And the collection of your stories will be a great read for your children, grandchildren and generations to come!