It occurred to me yesterday that most of what we do in genealogy is looking backward. We search incessantly for those pioneers and patriots in our past to whom we seek familiarity, something that will tell us who we are or why we are who we are. But, I believe, too, that we have to remember to look forward at our coming descendants and what they will want to know about us and how we lived. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want them to have to search as hard as we have had to.
As much as our descendants will want to know about “US”, they will also want to know about the world we are living in RIGHT NOW. Our right now is their history. With the horrific fire at Notre Dame this week, I wondered about the significant national and world events that have happened during my lifetime…Gulf Wars, Twin Towers, Oklahoma City, Patty Hurst, Governor Wallace, Watergate, the Cold War, the Challenger; not-to-mention the changes in technology during my lifetime. How will I pass on information about these events and their significance in my life? These events also make us who were are, as much as our DNA does.
For me, the Olympic bombing in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Khobar Towers, and the USS Cole bombings are significant because two happened prior to my becoming a counterintelligence agent and the other two happened after. Oklahoma City happening while I was in Intelligence School. Because of my training and my positions in the Army, I was privy to more information on these events than the general public. While I don’t remember specifics, the general nature of them affected me and how I approached my job and how I handle security within my household now.
We have such a wealth of technology to help us preserve these events and our perceptions of them. It is as crucial to our work in genealogy as it is to find our past. Making a commitment to save a video, photographs, and to journal our thoughts are no less important than what we do in looking back. We don’t know what our descendants will have or not have in the future to look back on these events. We cannot leave them wondering about how their family was affected by them. That point of view is priceless.
I hope that you will make time to preserve your life’s stories. I know I am.
Have a great week!