Over the past few months I have worked on creating the family tree and it is like working on a very large and complex jigsaw puzzle. It is amazing what we think we know about our family and their families only to find out that we have very little knowledge at all.
In the good ol’ days, it was not polite to air your family’s dirty linen for all to see, so unless you knew for sure your family was rich, socially acceptable, educated, etc., people often chose not to discuss family history.
With the aid of today’s computer and internet access, families can find a tons of information online. There are many popular websites to aid us in this quest, however, the best source of information is by learning and speaking with our older relatives and their friends.
It is amazing how much I really do not know about my ancestors and how very little my grandparents and parents did not share with us. I am finding that great-grandparents divorced and remarried and had a slew of children from the second marriage. My Grandmother never divulged these ‘secrets’ — they were on a need to know basis, and no one needed to know.
So my advice to everyone is to try to document what you know about the family history. Gather the photos, memorabilia and important documents in one central file and write your recollections.
This is important information for the family and it will make it easier to compile into a concise and exact history of the family. It is a great starting place for us as well as for future generations to continue.