Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Shout It from the Roof Top
Before making the trip I happened to send an email to my uncle about my plans. He replied back to say that my great Uncle Chris and great Aunt Louise had been married in Wildwood in the 1930s! I had no idea.
While I like to think that my brain is an endless repository of family history information, the truth is I can't always recall every detail off the top of my head. I checked my Legacy database and lo and behold there they were being married in Wildwood on August 12, 1937. Suddenly my trip to New Jersey took on new intrigue. A family event happened there and I needed to pay more attention.
While researching family history is often a solitary event, in a broader view our work can't be done in isolation. Without the help of others we will never be able to find results as quickly or as thoroughly.
It's important to let others - particularly relatives and old family friends - know that you are doing family history research. You will be surprised at the changes and results that come your way. Some family members, like my uncle, will have your back and alert you to relevant family information. These kind of informants are critical because there's no way you will be able to keep track of everything.
Many of your relatives won't be interested in family history at all. But that's ok. These are the ones who will pass on family photos, documents and heirlooms when they no longer want to store them in their attics and basements. While they may not care about family history, these folks will feel guilty about tossing anything out when they know there is an acting family historian. Bring on the guilt and let them pass everything to you!
The more you let people know you are the family historian (not just once - remind them at least once a year), the more likely you will amass a collection of the photos and information your are looking for. While you probably won't shout it from every roof top, do make sure you let people know. It will make all the difference in your research.
Photo Credit: photo by Horia Varlan and used under the creative commons license.
Posted by Marian Pierre-Louis at 9:40 AM