Why did I ever start this! ……..Yes, I do know why. I have stored three precious (to me) boxes with my parents’ generations lives in them. I started archiving family material a few years ago. As time has passed, it has become a more onerous task. From keeping every minor paper of an outing, even a bus ticket, I have decided the archiving has just got to be reduced to more manageable levels. Just as I get into the swing of it, think I have broken the back of what there is, what do I come up with…the equivalent of a treasure trove of memorabilia which I thought I had lost. It means that I have a massive amount of sorting,reading, scanning, especially selected photos, some of which are deteriorating and need much time for restoring.

The thought of the time it will take and the intense emotional investment there is in this work, makes me feel tired. I have been balking at the thought of starting the task on all the newly found information. Yet, when the next generation is showing an interest in knowing and wanting to identify with parents, the reason for archiving, even in a relatively haphazard way, becomes blatantly obvious and important. It is clear it is not me projecting my ideas of what the family and future progeny will want, it makes it a real and definite requirement.


0 thoughts on “WHY DID I EVER START THIS!!!!!

  1. Several years ago, I did this from stuff I found in my late mother’s files. I spent three years at it and then gave up. One day I shall finish it, or a younger generation will in their old age, if any of it survives that long. I lost interest mainly because I couldn’t get my brother or any other family member remotely interested.

  2. Your tale is rather sad. I wonder if the lack of interest was more about not wanting to expend the effort. it does take effort as you will know.

    I am not undertaking any form of genealogy, it’s just about my immediate family and the humdrum history in letters, pictures and whatever else arises in our daily lives that might be interesting. Anything else linking the wider family, they can have [eventually] on DVD and make of it what they will. It is still an immense and ongoing task for all that.

  3. Seems like you have mixed feelings about the archiving – understandable really – wil your efforts will be appreciated by coming generations or will they be a burden ? ” What are we going to do with all this stuff that has been so pains-takingily put together ?
    We are experiencing this when going through mum’s things.
    People value different things.
    What do you value?
    What brings you joy ?


  4. Mine wasn’t simple genealogy either. It was an attempt to produce a personal history for each family member for all generations since 1837. There was no family tree involved, but it was done in HTML so each person’s time-line could have links to others as the relevant connection occurred. It was then saved on memory-sticks.

  5. I too have dealt with this problem. And it isn’t easy. I agree with what miramaze is saying. People wish different things as memories or memorials… and often the coming generations do not relate to the things we thought were most characteristic about our parents or grandparents. It is really difficult work. But I think the best is to leave the children and the grandchildren an orderly package that is easy to access.

  6. I fully sympathise, Menhir, – as you know, I am going through my father’s archives. I am glad that you have articulated the fact that it is emotionally exhausting work – I had not anticipated this when I started. My big bonfire the other week was an attempt to reduce it to more manageable proportions, but of course I am destroying what is effectively part of my own identity.

  7. Your approach sounds good and lively, quite original. It is different to my archiving.

    I wouldn’t describe serious genealogy as ‘simple’. Fascinating, complex and interesting research is where it lies in my thinking. I do wonder, as I think about genealogy if it ever can be really simple. Even going back two generations on one side of my family had its obstacles. it was nothing like the BBC or other magazines. It was not for me.

  8. There’s all of those questions Mira. There are all the questions about missing links, family gaps, within the two or three boxes of other lives I am the keeper of.

    The really big question is what gaps can I comfortably create for my life?

  9. Great thinking Shimon. As for me being orderly, that is another issue. I have started to filter, not archiving everything we do. There are photos to transfer to DVD that will tell some stories.

    I am keenly aware of the three boxes of lives that I hold in trust. They are not big, the contents say something but not as much as they should, nor as much as I may know. The gaps are enormous. There are many people in that position with lost families and lost histories. As I said to Mira, my main difficulty is deciding what gaps I am comfortable with in my life boxes

  10. I have not been left in the position of having so much to select to dispose of. It would hurt beyond belief, if I did have to do that, the same as it hurts for you.

    There are too many missing elements in respect of the three lives in boxes. They are each in a small carton. I find it sad when I think of that. Yes, there is quality rather than quantity, but there is so much that I know is missing that was very important to emotional and personal identity.

    It might be the next generation will filter and dispose with all I am archiving. They might then find these emotional difficulties unbearable too. I do not want to impose that on anyone. Yet, I do not want to leave just registration certificates to the effect that as a name I lived, produced and died. I decided that there must be some sense of me as a personality, with interests and connections. The bus and train tickets, unless unusual, will not do that to any meaningful extent!

  11. I did it as thoroughly as a housebound person could, from CDs and the internet. It cost me over £500 in CDs alone and several hundred pounds worth of time on Ancestor.com and free time on LDS. My study covered about 200 relatives and connections and numerous outliers and descendants as well as ancestors, in four countries of the world.
    I spent 3 years doing it about four hours a day. It includes personal things like what their favourite sweets were or tobacco, wherever I could glean stuff from old letters etc. plus photos of people and relevant places when available.

  12. I started the process with an emotional jerk into that direction. Are there stated norms? Would they suit me? Would they operate with what I am thinking about and working with? Completion isn’t on the horizon.

  13. What you describe sounds amazing Munzly. Did you make out a table or database with headings of what you wanted to include?

    What is LDS?

    Genealogy done seriously is expensive, in time, money and emotional input. Bro-in-Law is a seriously thorough Genealogist and sometimes obtains great excitement from findings. Then things lie fallow for a bit. Up comes another piece in a jigsaw and he’s off again. By virtue of remoteness he does a lot from home. He doesn’t do special trips of 300-400 miles (one way) these days to do personal searches. In recent times he has looked at ‘branch lines’ rather than direct ones.

    The biggest problem he has is getting zillions of ‘family’ across the pond to correct their blatant mistakes on their researches published on the web. Much time is spent explaining why matters are different and convincing people of his correctness. One individual even published where B-in-law’s daughter was not born and also in the wrong year. Convincing should not have been needed for that but hey ho, guess what…… it did.

  14. No idea where it was going when I started, it just expanded as the evidence rolled in. I started with relatives I knew and worked outwards and backwards from them.

    LDS Church of the Latter Day Saints. They keep a database of everyone in the world who exists and has ever existed, but they don’t check the data their given, so it’s full of traps for the unwary. It’s also gold, when it comes to getting a direction in which to research. Just google LDS

  15. Oh right, I know about them, just didn’t recognise ‘LDS’. We’re all saved in the UK, whether we knew it not by being on their database. As I understand it, there are various levels of saved society, with the Mormons being at the top of the heap. It’s no wonder there’s ‘incompleteness’ it may serve a higher purpose. I don’t think the information stretches to every corner and recess though.

    As you say, it can prove as shiny as gold dust at times.

    From what you say, your project organically grew. That’s ever so difficult to keep abreast of. It does sound amazing.

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