Monday, February 11, 2013

Keeping the Home Fire Burning

 My Children's Family Histories

The process of family history research and writing involves huge amounts of time.  I am willing to invest my time and efforts not particularly as a hobby, but because I love it and I have an understanding of its importance.

From my own experience, when the words family history are brought up in conversation, I observe firstly a squirm ensued by a yawn then the famous blank stare. One would think I would give up and quit talking about it, but I can't--I just can't!

I believe family history is a gift of love for the generations who will follow. I believe parents should teach their children the importance of preserving their own family's history. Hopefully, someday after I am gone my children and grandchildren will follow in my footsteps and continue to preserve family history. 

For the past three years, the only gift I have asked of my daughters for Christmas is a history of their families. I told them I didn't care what form it took--just some type of yearly history. I also said, "I don't want anything else--no pressure!" 

They have all chosen to accomplish this in book form with written histories and pictures. I am sure I am not prejudiced, but I think these books are the best gifts ever given--a true work of love. And it really is work!

In return I also give them a gift related somehow to our family history. 

All of my "family history gifts" are homemade and incredibly amateurish--meant only for the use and pleasure of my children and grandchildren. Despite this, I hope my efforts express the love I have for my them and the value I place on our relationship. 

My great grandmother wrote her own history and kept journals. Several times she wrote the phrase,  "Keep the home fires burning." For many years I wondered what she meant by that, but I think I understand it now.

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