I really, really, really love genealogy and family history! All you have to do is check out my Facebook page to know that …. or of course read my posts here on my genealogy blog at Onward To Our Past®.
One of the best aspects of my family history (I never use the word genealogy with family as it is way too off-putting to too many of them) work is that I utilize MyHeritage.com for my family tree and as a true family social network. When I began using this service, I was, like most folks, a free user, but I quickly determined that I was going to need the Premier package that offers unlimited tree size and unlimited data storage. For pennies, I even take advantage of their automatic backup service, just to be on the safe side against data loss.
I started very small as most of us do. My first tree had 12 names, six pictures, and I had coerced 3 family members to join the site. Now my tree has expanded to having over 8,000 individuals documented on the tree, more than 6,800 photos and documents embedded, and best of all, 234 family members who participate in the site.
Each Saturday, before I get into my weekend, I take a few minutes and write and send my Weekly Family Update. I do this to keep everyone up to date on what is happened during the past week, to keep the excitement going and to draw out new information and input.
But all is not always tea and roses …. as we all know.
On the assets side of the ledger is that, as I said, our website/tree has become our family social network. On the debit side of that same ledger is that I am more often than not the one who is informed of the losses in the family and asked to pass the word . This just happened again this past Saturday morning.
Our family lost another member of our elder generation.
My cousin, Laverne June (Wilson) Hance.
These times are the times of pain for me in my work. Not only do we lose a member of our cherished family, but we are all the poorer.
It is especially at times of loss that I realize how much we are losing.
In our family, it means that there are fewer and fewer of us who have actually head the Czech being spoken. Fewer and fewer who remember the gatherings of the families that caused our home to feel like it would burst at the seams! Fewer and fewer of us who participated in those old-style funerals that took place in the home of the deceased. Fewer and fewer of us who heard the stories first hand, sat at the knee of our ancestors and heard the stories in their own voices.
What I find myself having to do is to refortify myself with my resolve to save all I can of this fast fraying and dissolving fabric that is our family history.
Christmas Story Telling by Millais
I find that these times reignite the fire beneath me …. steel my resolve to capture as much as I can from as many as I can.
There is so much we lose with each loss. So much that will never be able to find or resurrect. So much that simply will disappear into the mists of time, never to be discovered or shared.
But …. thankfully there are still many of us here. Many new generations for us to pass our stories along to. Many for us to implore to help us with our journey and our work. Many more to become enamored of our history and ancestors as we are!
So from times of sadness we find the edge of happiness and a reason to say, as my Bohemian family always do: na zdravi!
My 92 year-old Mom …. at her birthday party and yep, she drank the whole thing