Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 17, 2011

The Future of History

My Grandfather & Friends | San Diego, Texas | 1912

This past weekend I returned to Mission, the South Texas city where I was born. On Saturday, the Mission Historical Museum posthumously recognized my grandparents for their service to the community and award them the President’s Pioneer Award. My youngest sister Laura worked with the museum staff and a local historical researcher to prepare a presentation of the history of my grandfather’s contribution to the development of the area. Twenty-three years after both of my grandparents died at the age of ninety-six, the meeting hall was packed with guests. It was an amazing experience to listen to the people who were mentored by my grandfather share their personal stories about him. Their stories enriched and added to what we already know about our family’s history.

Over the past few days I have thought much about the importance of knowing family history. We have traced my Dad’s family history back as far as the mid-1500’s and traced my beautiful mother’s history back three generations. My sister Laura has added significant research to the most recent one-hundred plus years of our family’s story and is now working on ways to compile all of that information in a volume that we can share with all of our surviving family and extended family. We’ll add the new stories shared by those who spoke at the recognition ceremony this past weekend. All of this focus on family history has caused me to think about the future of history and how easy it is for families to lose touch with their past. When we lose touch with those who made our existence possible and fail to record our own story, then we put the future of our own history at risk.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to become more intentional about researching and recoding your family’s history and adding your own story to the record. Last year I posted a blog entitled Be a Family Historian in which I offered the following practical suggestions on how you can record your family’s history. I offer these suggestions below for your consideration along with a couple of new additions.

Interviews | Interview your grandparents and parents. Ask them to share stories about their childhood and your family that you can share with your children. If possible, interview them at a place that will awaken sleeping memories that might otherwise never be seen or heard. 

Photographs | Sit with your family’s elders and ask them to tell you the stories associated with old photographs. Record the stories and names of the people in the photographs. Use a photo service to create photo books that can be easily reproduced and shared with family members. 

Technology | Make video and audio recordings of family members. Use an interview format and ask them specific questions about your family history. 

Holidays | Use holidays, reunions, and other times when your family gathers together as a time to talk with older family members and to record some of your family’s history.

Journal | Don’t neglect to record your own history. If you are a parent, start a journal for each of your kids that you can pass on to them when they leave home or get married. Keep it simple and record colorful snippets of their childhood history. And, record some of the things that define you or that God has used to shape you.

Newspapers | Visit your local library to review newspapers that contain stories about your family, including birth announcements, obituaries, or recognitions. Make copies of these to add to your records.

Friends | Those who knew your grandparents or other family members are a hidden source of information. Interview and record the recollections of peers or others who knew deceased family members. Their candid stories can give additional insight into a family member’s personality or achievements.

In these days of almost unlimited access to information, there is little excuse for not recording family history. We should not underestimate how this information can potentially inspire, encourage, and help future generations to appreciate and learn from the examples of those who made their existence possible. Do something today to ensure the future of your history.


Responses

  1. What a heritage you have behind you. And, what a great one you are leaving for your own children. Thanks for constantly blessing us all!!
    Sue Ann

  2. Well, Omar.

    I do know for sure that my great grandmother aimed a rifle off the porch to keep the authorities from arresting my great grandfather for operating an illegal whiskey still. He escaped into the woods. smile I like to think I got the backbone from that feisty woman! smile

    Tammy

    • Tammy…

      Thank for sharing. Love your story. God bless your great grandmother! Sounds like she was a pretty cool lady! 🙂

      Omar~

  3. Omar-

    Thanks for sharing the stories of your ancestors! We need to know about their lifes, and impacted for the societies. Great post!

    Mortuza Biswas
    Bangladesh


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