Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holidays: Best Time To Collect Memories

Okay, the holidays have arrived. Since the end of October we have celebrated Halloween, Day of the Dead, and Veteran’s Day. In the immediate future, we have Thanksgiving, followed by Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, and News Year’s Day. This is truly the time for the family to gather and share memories.

This is truly the perfect time for collecting more information for family history and genealogy. With the family visiting, now is the time to sit down and collect the details about missing members of the family tree. Who out there remembers Aunt Molly? Where did she live? Where is she buried? In addition to the details for the lineage charts and genealogy, we can also collect the family history stories. Who remembers how we celebrated Christmas in Grandma’s House? What were the traditions of the holidays in the 1940s? Did you really receive just a pair of socks and an orange?

So many of these traditions and family stories can be lost if we don’t take the time to record them now. The opportunity is perfect, it is right in front of us. So, bring out the digital recorders and the DVD cameras and interview family members; record their memories and feelings. Someday these memories will truly be the most valuable gifts of the holiday season.

And, remember, once these memories are recorded, be sure to make duplicates of the tapes and the digital recordings. In addition, be sure to transcribe these tapes so that the memories, if not the actual voices will last forever.

If collecting oral history is not in the cards, maybe identifying old family photographs or filling in details on lineage charts might bring the family together. Now is the perfect time to reminisce and share family memories. Bring out the photo albums, or set up the tape, and digital, recorders and ask questions about the family. This may prove to be the best opportunity to collect and save, or build on to, the family history.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DNA Technology At Its Best

Although many people would accuse me of being a Luddite, a person that hates technology simply because it is new technology. I would suggest that too often technology is misused and abused. CNN.com published an article that points to the true value of technology and using it to aid in Family History research. This is the type of research and technology that excites me.

Be sure to read this at:


This is a fine example of how best to use technology.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More Bad Economic News

The nightmare continues as two more state institutions have suffered significant budgetary cuts. It seems as though more and more states are looking to save money by eliminating their history. To say the least, this is a short sighted idea that only serves to harm the states in their long term.

Earlier this week, the State Historical Society of Missouri announced cutbacks in staff and hours as a result of budget with holdings of 25 percent for the 2010 budget. In the future the hours of the Historical Society will be from 8 to 4:45 Monday through Thursday. Researchers will no longer be able to work on Fridays or Saturdays. The change in hours will have enormous consequences on students and professional researchers. Genealogists traveling to conduct research will particularly suffer.

This announcement comes on the heels of the Governor of Massachusetts announcing the closing of the State Library. This institution has been open since 1826 and houses some of the more important documents in New England and Colonial American History. There is still hope to save the Massachusetts State Library, the friends of the library are circulating an electronic petition to present to the Governor. Simply go to the website to add your name to the petition to stave off the closing of the Massachusetts State Library.


Please sign the petition and help save our history, and our libraries.