Kicking Off the New Year

Here we are at the beginning of 2019. I can hardly fathom 2019. I feel like I am still 23 years old, when I am now in my middle age. I remember thinking how cool it was that my grandfather was born in 1900 and what it must have been like for him to experience all of the changes from World War 1 to World War 2, Vietnam and on. But, he never saw an Iphone or the Internet. Those would have blown that mountain boy away. He’d always wanted to retire to Florida and live in an orange grove. I think if he could see Florida today, he’d be glad he never did that. My grandmother refused to leave the mountains, even though they both hated the snow. It meant more to her to be near her home and her family, even though her own immediately family was no where around.

So, what will happen in 2019. I am going to work on preservation this year. My mother is 76 years old and there is just she and I now. I want to make sure that I have all the living information about her family I can get from her while I can. I tried to do that with my father before his Alzheimer’s got bad, but he didn’t want to do it. He was afraid. I need to talk to her about her family before anything should happen to her, and we need to continue working on her DNA to expand her tree.

I also need to help her with preserving what she has inherited from her family. Poor thing, her home looks like she’s becoming a horder, but it’s just that she needs to clear out what she doesn’t want. We need to decide what is truly an heirloom and what isn’t. I have only two children to inherit and they need to decide if they will want what is there or not. Otherwise, it will need to be sold. But, I want to take photos and write what the items were and who they came from and what was important about the items; any stories that my mother might be able to recall. It’s time to catalog and itemize, photograph and then move them on to another location, if need be. The problem with most of us, I think, is that we are very sentimental people, and letting go can be quite difficult.

Cataloging of photographs, especially antique ones, can be especially difficult if you don’t have someone who knows about the photographs. Do not wait to do this, even with the photographs you are taking today. We take for granted that the only people who will see them or care are the next generation, but that isn’t true. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will care very much. Do the labeling yourself now, so that they won’t be struggling to figure it out later, and don’t just leave them on your computer. Download them, print them, and mark them. There are apps that will let you print as many as 1,000 per month for free! If you want more information on the best ways to preserve family photographs and heirlooms Family Tree Magazine has two books on both each run about $4.00. Everything we are fighting to find today, we need to make easy for our descendants in the future.

Have you inherited anything? Have you had the talk with your parents? How do you plan to preserve your history for your descendants? Why not make this year about these things.

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