Foundation of a Family Historian

After many decades of my life devoted to (some would say obsessed with) tracing the branches of my far-flung family, I have decided to start writing about some of my discoveries along this journey. While it can be exciting to find new details about family, it’s also done mostly in isolation, so no one else really understands why I enjoy it so much.

I’ve come to realize that without the sharing component, many of these stories will be lost if I hoard them for myself (and what’s the point of that?) Who knows, perhaps I will inspire other relatives to join the hunt!

Not having children, I sometimes feel I am documenting this history as my contribution to the family legacy, so that I will not be forgotten.

But where did this all begin? What is the foundation for my lifelong passion for poring over old documents, rifling through indexes, squinting at blurry microfilm, rambling through cemeteries and being the nosy parker who is always asking questions about the past?

Well, I can trace this all the way back to a school project in 1984. (I even have the documentation to prove it.)

You’re probably familiar with the project I mean – “Ask relatives about your family and make a family tree.” It seems to have been almost a rite of passage in elementary education, at least in North America.

As long ago as this was (37 years!), I still have the original chart I made.

We moved a lot when I was a kid, so the fact that this still exists is a minor miracle, but only because I gifted it to my grandmother shortly after making it. She kept it hidden away in a cupboard for years and only returned it to me when I moved into my first house over 15 years ago.

It’s not in great condition – it was once on blue poster board, but this has since faded to a faintly bluish-yellow over time and it was also folded up in that cupboard, so there are prominent creases, but I’m very proud of it.

You’ll perhaps notice that it’s in French due to my being in French Immersion at the time. (and yes, I can still speak it, which comes in very handy when researching my numerous French Canadian lines).

I’ll be trying to post something here once a week, being inspired by the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge by Amy Johnson Crow, Let’s hope this gets me to form at least one good habit this year!

For more information on this series please see:  #52Ancestors

4 thoughts on “Foundation of a Family Historian

  1. Yes, I think hording stories is something we all fear. I don’t want to have a collection of fascinating stories that my family miss out on because I’ve squirreled them away. And how wonderful you have an early version of your family tree that you drew up. We had nothing like that in school in Scotland. I think it helps to bring history to life if you can connect with it in some way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this comment. We all come to this hobby in different ways and when I started thinking about the origins of my fascination with the past, I could only think of this very first tree. Long live the family packrat!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love this post. I think because it starts with you….the foundation as it were. Moi! And that you have preserved a memento and paid tribute to this fascinating hobby. All the best with the challenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. I have been fascinated and consumed by this hobby for so long! I need to get my thoughts organized and this challenge seemed like the perfect way to get me moving. Here’s hoping.


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