When I first read about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, I thought, “Wow, what a great idea, for someone else.” After all, my projects are bigger than that.
I was still thinking about it a couple of days later and hadn’t deleted the email from my Inbox. It kept nagging at me. I got to thinking about how it might be fun.
So, here we are. I may be the only person in the world that ever reads this, hopefully not. I may not make it through 52 weeks, hopefully so. However it turns out, I’m going to give it a whirl and just maybe I’ll make some new discoveries along the way.
Briefly, the challenge is – “To develop the habit of writing/recording our family history discoveries and getting them into a format that can be shared. The data that we’ve accumulated in our genealogy software and in our binders and folders doesn’t do a whole lot of good just sitting there. We need to do something with it.
Blog. Write in a journal. Send an email to your cousins. Create a scrapbook page. Make a copy of a photo and write (in pencil) on the back. Make a video.”
Each week you’re given a different prompt or assignment and it’s up to you what you do with it.
The prompt for Week 1 is – Start. Forty-two years ago I began this crazy journey of researching my family. Many people know this started with a school project when I was 14. The genealogy bug bit and boy did it bite hard. I recently had a fellow researcher tell me how nice it was to meet someone so consumed with researching their family. Hmm, I wonder if there is a genealogy detox group?
The thing is, I don’t just enjoy researching my family, I enjoy researching your family, and his, and hers, etc. Seriously, if I get bored or frustrated with whatever branch of my tree I’m currently working on, I have a “Miscellaneous Tree” that I play with. It contains people my husband or I grew up with, Historical figures, people I just wonder about. Yeah, I know, I’m ‘consumed’.
If I had to point my finger at one relative and say, “This person is why I do this.”, I couldn’t. I would have to say it is because of three amazing women, My Momma, my MamMaw, and my great-aunt, Ruth. She was my paternal grandfather’s only sister. I never knew my Grandpa Bill, he died when my Momma was four, so he always was a mystery to me. Anyway, Aunt Ruth would come see my MamMaw every once in a while and it seemed like she and her daughter always got here about 10 pm. My Momma and I would go over to see Aunt Ruth and Bernice and visit until the wee hours of the morning. I would get to miss school because Momma always thought what I could learn from those visits was far more important than anything I would have learned in a classroom.
Aunt Ruth and my MamMaw, gave the foundation that I’ve built on for these 42 years. My Momma was my cheerleader. No matter how small my discovery might be, she was always excited. As my collection of information has grown to Titanic proportions, I often think back to a small red folder. In the early 1960s, Aunt Ruth wrote down what she knew of her family. For years, Momma guarded that folder as one of her most prized possessions and reminded me that I better make sure it got back to her. Whenever I would question a piece of research or need to verify the path I was on, I referred to that folder. For well over 20 years, I thought the red folder was lost. MamMaw and Aunt Ruth had both passed, Momma had gotten ill and lots of things were thrown away when she passed. From time to time it would cross my mind and I’d wish I could look at it one more time. Christmas 2017 brought a wonderful surprise. My oldest sister presented me with that little red folder. She had put it away years before when Momma was ill and had come across it recently. It was time for me to have it, she felt.
People ask me why I love genealogy, after all, they’re just a bunch of dead people. I guess the best answer I can give is that while many of the people in my research are indeed dead, who they were and how they lived had a hand in who I am today. Oh yeah, the added bonus is that in 42 years, I’ve “met” hundreds of cousins that I otherwise would never have known.
So, there you go, that’s my start……. #52ancestors