Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Ask now

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In searching family histories we can find names as well as birth, marriage and death dates. We learn the names of children for future research.

What we can't find out is the daily events both ordinary and major of their lives.

Once I tried to get my Aunt Evelyn, for whom the name Drama Queen had to be coined, about the Boudreaus. At 80+ she was a great story teller but not willing to try a new fangled tape recorder.

Thus I will never know:
  • Why she and Aunt Bert were still fighting abut Aunt Bert's prom dress
  • Why the family moved from Arashat, Nova Scotia to Medford, MA
  • What it was like being an immigrant
  • How hard was it to learn English
  • More about Aunt Lillie's affair with her boss
Going much more deeper into history I would love to discover why Michel Boudrot left La Rochelle in the 1740s to sail to Nova Scotia and: 
  • What was the name of the ship?
  • What was the crossing like?
  • What was it like to live where Calvinism was at odds with Catholicism?
  • Were the Calvinist responsible?
  • What was life like when he first arrived?
  • Where did he live?
  • How did he become a general?
  • What did they eat?
  • What was it like to have so many children?
And on my mother's side I wish I'd asked my grandmother why her father Charles Archer Stockbridge left her mother Medora Young Stockbridge. What were my grandmother's grandparents like.

I had ancestors that fought in the American Revolution. Why? How long? What did it feel like to come home after the war? What did the new country feel like.

I wish I knew where my cousins Joanie and Cynthia were.

That is just the start.

As a kid I tuned out older relatives when they talked about the past. It seemed boring. As an adult, I see  hundreds of stories.

Moral: Ask your living relatives today.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I was always interested in genealogy, probably as a consequence of loving history. I managed to ask my mother dozens of questions, but she didn't always know the answers because she didn't remember or never knew. My father told me a little about his family, but my cousins told me much more than he did. He wasn't interested in family history. "They were poor, they worked very hard to eat, and that's what there was." And that was pretty much all he would tell me.