I grew up in a family of four; Mom, Dad, me and my older brother Matt. Throughout the years one thing was glaringly apparent. One of these things was not like the others, one of these things just didn’t belong. Mom, Dad and Matt all have dark hair and darker eyes than me. Matt is the image of my father and I just do not look like I belong. For years I begged my mother to just tell me the truth – that I was adopted. I was sure that Matt and I could not possibly be related, my gosh he was just too weird to be related to me. My parents swore that I was their child. Evidence provided by DNA testing proves my parents were telling them the truth. I think I would have felt better if I just looked like I was related to them. Perhaps it was just my awkward self that felt out of place.
Above is a picture of my paternal grandparents, Otis and Ruby Clark, with my brother and I. I certainly see Matt’s resemblance but not my own. Below is a picture of my Dad, Matt and I the same day and place as above. On the left below, a photo of my mother and her father William Skibbe.
Not seeing too much of a resemblance on my Mom’s side either, until…..
You see a photo of me and my maternal grandmother side by side at the same age. Finally, I look like I belong.
One of my children has shown an interested in maintaining our family history records and artifacts. That child will receive a little extra when I am gone. The maintenance required for preserving family history and family artifacts is not a cheap proposition. Archival materials needed for the collections we enjoy may be too expensive for their household. My home is one big display of our family history. Our antique frame collection houses our family photographs. Frames have been archival enhanced to keep the copies safe. Antique furniture, another thing my husband and I collect, is used to display our family mementos and collections.
Pictures and research are shared with relatives through blog posts, Facebook, email, and copies of digitalized photos and movies are given to family members. I am slowly working my way through photographs and documents given to me by my parents and in-laws’. I am extracting data and scanning them so that they may be saved for future generations. They are then entered into my RootsMagic program, given a citation and put in the corresponding family folder in the computer and the originals are saved archivally. I am currently digitizing one of my mother-in-law’s recipe books for my sister-in-law’s, nieces, and nephews.
I have started printing pictures for my nieces and nephews as they marry so that they may have a little “family history” in their homes. I print the wedding pictures of their grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. All the photos are identified on the back. I take the time to sit down with the bride and groom to personally share the photographs and give them I short version of the family history.
My children have always been surrounded with pictures, artifacts, and stories. While they were in school we talked about history. We related what they were learning in school with our family – Civil War? Pictures and records of our Union soldiers were brought out. World War I, World War II – pictures and documents bring distant history to a personal level.
I think the more we share our family history and artifacts the more likely a family member or members will have the desire to maintain them. I also make a point to share my research at family gatherings. I enjoy researching and sharing how and where I located records. I also share the interpretation of the information I found. Sharing also “forces “me to write up my conclusions. Quite often when I share my research new documents and leads come my way.