Monday, June 03, 2013

Family History

I am so excited.  My rhododendrons are actually going to bloom soon and I see some lilies ready  to pop, too.  Thank heaven the deer have been staying away!

Saturday night Jean called and asked if I would share information about family history and bring some of my books.  I actually put them in a suitcase and a few more in my back seat and took them Sunday morning plus I had prepared the following regarding my record keeping.  I did not read it but more or less said it.  Anyway I will print it here as a reminder of how I got into this blog business and life books, etc.
Family History and Genealogy

I don’t know when my interest in family history and genealogy began but I always kept diaries, wish I had some of those earlier ones. And I have always kept scrapbooks and photo albums.  Wish I had those scrapbooks from high school. 

Temple Record Book

When I was a freshman at BYU  I took a Genealogy Class taught by Archibald Bennett, who was the author of the manual.  However, he hardly ever referred  to the book in class and one day I asked him why.    He said, because it doesn’t  matter how much you know about genealogy, you won’t do it unless you catch the spirit of it.  And so he tried to inspire us and I guess I was inspired.  I traveled to Ogden, Utah to talk to my Aunt Erica about what information she had.  She entrusted me with this book of original Temple records started in1925 and she told me to take good care of it and she felt it was my mission to carry on the work that she and her father had started.  I will never forget how I felt as she handed me this precious book all wrapped up in a linen cloth.

I had joined a Social Unit at BYU (which is like a sorority) but they had their meetings on Thursday night but that was the only night the bus went from BYU to the Genealogy Library and I wanted to go and gather up all the records I could find so I quit the Social Unit and thus began the beginning of hand writing all those Family Group Sheets .  Thus when we were asked to do our 4 Generation Sheets and submit them in the 70's I had the information and gathered the rest from my brothers and sisters on their families and submitted both Richard’s and my 4 Generation Sheets. We had a great Genealogy teaching class in our ward and I learned how to keep files you are working on in my brief case to take whenever I go to FH Centers.

Book of Remembrance

In the meantime I continued to gather and save any information I thought was important.  I had Book of Remembrances for ourselves and each of our children.  A lot of it was just saving and gathering until I had time to put them in books.  I used labeled  manila envelopes as I do today for my pictures. When my children left home they had a Book of Remembrance and a box of Christmas  ornaments.

Christmas Books

I had saved all of our Christmas pictures and Christmas letters that I wrote so when my daughter in law gave me a Christmas Notebook Cover I organized all those Christmases by date and I now have three of those notebooks.  I also kept scrapbooks of important happenings and all greeting cards received.  What wonderful information is on them!!!  So when  I write my history, there is all my information.


My first real journal I started in 1960 and that is one thing I gathered up when my son died and I knew we would need information about his life for his eulogy in San Diego.   After my husband died and I was living with my daughter, her bishop invited me in to talk—one thing he told me, write it all down what you are feeling, it is so important for your family to have that record.  My daughter-in-law had given me a journal for Christmas and I did write it all down and I am glad I did.  You think you will remember how you felt, you won't, write it down. 

Family Group Sheet and Pedigree Working Books

When the Family History Center in Salt Lake opened up the library to everyone to come in and print off their family records—I believe it was early January 1990 I went in with my granddaughter and put in my daughter’s name and came out with about a six inch stack of records.   Those 4 generation sheets had linked to the records they had.   So from 1951 through the 90's most of my family history work was gathering and preparing for the temple, individual names.

Direct Descendant Chart—Ahentafel Book

With all that wonderful information I was also able to do when interesting things for the grandchildren.  When Meagan was in Jr Hi I was now computer (as of 1985) literate and had all these records on my computer.  I was able to do a direct ancestor chart from her to   Count Foulgues III of Anjou France  in 926.  When my grandson Jacob needed information on family I ran off a Ahnentafel book for him showing him direct ancestors for 15 generations.  I think knowing who you are, where you came from, and having a sense of family is important to us.  Yes I am a historian. I don't keep all this information on my computer anymore, but it is available online.

Family Histories and Hard Copy Family History Books

Trunk of Vida’s materials

In the meantime Richard’s mother passed away and we were all at her house deciding what to do with all her things.  I found she was also a saver and though no one was interested in all those family pamphlets and family history books from family reunions and all her boxes of records of her husband and children I gathered all that up and put them in a huge trunk.  And what treasures they were—handwritten notebooks to her husband telling him what she was going through, telling him about the children, lamenting that she was alone.  I treasured all that information she had saved.  Plus she had Richard’s report cards, certificates, letters, everything.  Plus all the family history books.  As I say a trunkful.   When my husband died I passed the trunkful on to his elder brother and he eventually gave it to a niece and she produced a beautifully written book on the life of Richard's parents.

JI Earl Book

But what has this all to do with Family Histories—all those relatives have histories of the ancestors and I was gathering those up, too.   Richard's cousin took two years to travel and gather information on the grandparents of my husband and then print it in two big volumes and he used some of the materials from Vida's trunk I shared with him.  He also printed a book of J I Earl's journal and that is interesting to read.  There are letters going back and forth between two brothers about the Manifesto and whether one was committing adultery or not.  One short item I was interested in was when Vida eloped.  He just said something about how they were surprised that Vida married yesterday to Merlin Hardy.  He was such a good man and they welcomed in to the family.  No recrimination, just the family facts which he always noted as to who was having a birthday, wedding, birth.  He was a faithful journal writer. 

Richard and John Memory Books

After my husband died in 1996  I was living in Pacific Beach near  the only person I ever brought into the church.  She was also single and we bought beach bikes and road around the Mission Bay and Pacific Beach in the mornings before we went to work.

I found out that she was the 7th Ward Historian and Nadine is a wonderful craft person and the history book that she was creating for 7th Ward was magnificent.   I just  learned so much from  her about creating Memory Books.  

Thus it was when I moved to Lake Almanor a couple years later I started my  first Memory Book. It was of my husband, of course.  And I had all the wonderful records, pictures and certificates and letters that his mother had saved plus all the things I had saved so it was not hard to do.

My Life from Lake Almanor and Beyond

In 2005 I was working in Texas after Hurricane Katrina and I flew home for a granddaughter’s wedding.  My daughter told me I should start a Blog so they could read about where I was and what I was doing and I wouldn’t have to write emails to everyone.  So she set it up and showed me how to do it and those started all my Blogs.

I now have that main blog which I print off every year into a book—it is like a journal with pictures of my thoughts, family happenings and gatherings, and it is on line as well as my hard copy.  Then I did The Montana Years my life from birth to 1956, The San Diego Scene which is only up to 1980—have 18 more years to do.  Then Linda and I did the Anderson and Larson Family Histories and the Hardy and Earl Family Histories,  Our Favorite Family Recipes, John Hardy, Memoir and John Hardy Web Space, and I am currently working on an enlarged Memoir of my husband.  When I finish my San Diego book I will print it and give to my children and then I will do a Gap Book from 1999-2005 and that will finish my personal history books.  Two of my granddaughters have expressed that they read my blog, others may also some day—just as much as I like to read about how things were in my Mother’s life and my grandmother’s life and how they lived and found joy . 

I have 10 inch notebooks which letters, emails, writings, etc dating from 1942 to 2005. There is where the main information for my life histories come from—besides the three Christmas Books with pictures and yearly Christmas letter.   

Mother’s Book of Remembrance and Book at the Cabin

When I visited my mother in the 80’s I made a Book of Remembrance for her plus two photo albums—later I would copy much of that information plus her a my Dad’s life stories and put it all into a huge Memory Book that I sent up to the Family Cabin in Silver Gate, Montana all in plastic sheets and a sturdy box and It is in a safe place there for all the descendants to read about their grandparent, (or great grandparents), who built this cabin that they all enjoy.  I have received many messages of thanks for all this information and pictures. 

So the important thing in Family History Writing I think is 1—to keep journals, any kind, write it down, you won’t remember, you think you will, you won’t.  Have an organized way to saving valuable records and papers—by name, by place or whatever, but save what is important of the past.

If you have the records and you have the journals, eventually you will find a way to share it and pass it on to other generations.  With the internet it is especially easy to do. 

Currently I have:

 Nine blogs on line plus 160 photo albums on line
20 Photo Albums—travels, weddings, places,  etc

7 Scrapbooks

12 Hard back Family Histories

8 blog books printed

10 4 inch notebooks of chronological  data, letters, etc.

Many sorted pictures in labeled manila envelopes 

"My life is an Open Book!


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