Preserving Family History

A while back I mentioned that I had ordered the book, To Our Children’s Children.

To Our Children’s Children

As I read through the questions, which are excellent at jogging my memory, I happened to think how nice it would be to have my uncle answer the questions also.  He doesn’t have children but his history is pretty much the same as my history since his parents are my grandparents.  When my aunt and uncle were here in April, I asked him about answering the questions and he agreed so I had a copy of the book sent to him.

To Our Children’s Children

I figured it would take months or even a year or so to get the info . . I won’t tell you how far I’ve gotten with my answers!

When Chad was in Louisiana on his way here (I know . . Missouri to Texas doesn’t normally take you through Louisiana unless you’re wanting to fill your freezer with shrimp and cajun food).  Chad, Nicole and Addie were going to have lunch with my aunt and uncle and they had called and told me they had the questions answered and some more things they were sending and they would give it to Chad.

My uncle was a school teacher, then a school principal, then he was an administrator with the school board central office in our home parish (no counties in Louisiana).  I think he retired from the school board and then he went to work as Executive Director for an organization in Lake Charles.  Every month, my uncle wrote an article for the group’s newsletter.


So many of his articles include family history and things my uncle remembered.  He included a whole box full of those newsletters!  Honestly, I was just a bit teary and wimpy after Chad, Nicole and Addie had left so I haven’t gotten very far through these but oh, what a family treasure my uncle’s articles will be.

The newsletter on top is the article my uncle wrote after my grandmother died in 1998.  Can you see the headline – “Mother was the best mother one could have.”


Remember . . I told you how much I loved being at my grandparents’ farm.  My grandmother was the best grandmother ever! I hope I’ll be half as good of a grandmother to Addie as my grandmother was to me.  I hope Addie will have special memories of time with me like I have of my time with my grandma.

Reading my uncle’s responses to the questions in the book, and reading his memories in the newsletter, I will learn a whole lot about my history, and it will be preserved for Chad and for his children to read and remember.  That makes me very happy!




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    Pat Peele says

    I have always loved the written passing down of family history.the Foxfire books were what made me really aware of what we lose if we don’t save these stories. You columns will leave Addie a spence of your life in Texas. Some bloggers even bind them. Maybe in this tech world save the day to day on memory stick. Maybe they will be able to play it in the future. Love your adventures and thoughts.

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    Sue lord says

    Such sweet memories! There are so many things I wish I had asked my mother and grandmothers before they passed away. You will be a very special Grandmother. Addie is one very lucky little girl.

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    How very lucky you are to have relatives like your uncle alive and willing to give you that history! I have tried to collect family stories, but alas most of my family is gone. I am going to order that book so I can try to collect from the one uncle I have left on my fathers side. Thanks for the reminder that time really flies!

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    Diana in RR, TX says

    Galen’s Mother wrote in a notebook of daily things that happened on the farm, who visited, how much flour they had milled etc. Galen has those now. They also found her old school notebooks when they cleaned out the farm. They found the math pages very interesting-terms that Galen’s brother had never heard of before. His field was math.There was also lots of very old pictures of family on both sides. 2 years ago Galen had calendars made for his brothers of very old family pics-early 1900’s on. We ended up making more for the nephews and our niece. Our grand niece was especially interested in finding out who these people were and how they were related.

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    What a treasure to have those newsletters and the answers to the questions in that book. My mother was the family historian and had boxes of family history materials, but when she died over 20 years ago she still left so many mysteries unsolved. And now there is no one left from her generation to ask. I am only 59 but am the oldest member of the family left. You have inspired me to find that book however and try to preserve as much now as possible for my own grandkids.

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    That is so cool. I’m finding out a lot about my family history, but really wish there were some folks left for me to ask questions. I never knew I had such interesting ancestors.

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    AngieG9 says

    My aunt is our family historian, but she is getting older now. She is the “go to” person. I copied a list of cousins she had a few days ago after one cousin contacted me about names of our cousins. I only knew we had 57 first cousins, but my aunt had the names, spouses, children and grandchildren. She also has the pictures of the family, and since she has no children, I am hoping my daughter will inheiret those, since she is a frequent visitor there. When I have asked my mom about her parents she tells me she doesn’t know much about their family history. They just didn’t talk about it that much. I have heard a few stories and am in the process of writing them down, but it’s a slow process for me. My daughter is also writing them down, but with 4 kids it’s a slow process for her as well. I have a cousin on dad’s side who has done a very in-depth family tree, and has photos that date back 4 generations. She has shared those photos with me, and I made copies to use on the family greeting cards I make. I always tell which ancester it is and how we are related, so in that way I am hopefully passing on some of our history to my family. I should spend more hours at the computer, now that my handwriting has gone so downhill I can’t even read it myself, but I keep letting life get in the way. Life and MS just keep me too occupied at times to do anything else. New resolution: At least one hour per day working on memoirs.

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    Nancy Angerer says

    What a wonderful treasure! My father died when I was 30, but years later when I had children I asked my mother to write her memories in a book called “Grandmother Remembers.” I knew my in-laws wouldn’t do it on their own, so during one of our visits with them my husband interviewed them and wrote down their responses. It was lots of fun to hear the laughter coming from the kitchen when Ron interviewed his father. That is a good memory itself!

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    Valerie Zagami says

    What a great family historian you have.. My Uncle and Aunts have been great helping me preserve memories and photos for our families. What most struck me to write was seeing The Arc – I have been involved with our Arc in Massachusetts and have become the historian for them. Seeing old newsletters and our founding families give me the best history and love for others. I love your column and look forward to ending my day with it. Thank You for sharing life with us.

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    Dot says

    I’m so glad you mentioned that book a while back! I’m part of a group of friends who have been meeting for over 30 years to do crafts. I bought 13 copies of the book for our group, and handed them out last night. You should have heard all the stories they started telling. Now we just have to write our stories down!

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    How funny, I also posted months ago that I’d bought that book and have been emailing my Mom questions. Not quite one a day but frequently and I’ve been saving her answers in booklet form to eventually share with the family. It’s in addition to the genealogy research I’ve been doing on the family over the last year or two. It’s been very interesting.

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    Judy, I would absolutely love it if you could share the article about your grandmother with us. Like you, I want to be the best grandmother ever! I never knew any of my grandparents so it often feels like it did when I had my kids – I’m stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out how to be an awesome grandma. LOL! I also only get to see my grandkids once or twice a year so the time we spend together is especially precious and I want to make every moment memorable. I think I’m going to order the book of questions too. 😉

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    You will be a terrific grandmother. You have a great example to follow and your own natural inclination.