Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Just call me Sheherezade. I know I'm in the middle of a series of posts about my lecture this Friday--Archiving in the Digital Age. But I have just had an idea for a new series. And I'm so excited about it, I just have to get the first post out. I promise I'll write the rest of the digital archiving posts today and get them set up to be published. It has been busy getting ready for the BYU conference this week. That slowed my blog down a bit. But now that we are at the conference, I'll find a few minutes here and there to work on those posts.

I'm going to call this new series Genealinspired. My Randy Seaveresque word's definition: 1) The act of being inspired by your family's history. 2) Applying the lessons and morals learned from your ancestors lives to your modern life. 3) Knowing you can be stronger, more courageous, or able to succeed because of an example set for you by one of your family members. I have talked about this previously here, here, here, here, and here. I have been talking about being genealinspired and didn't realize it.

My first Genealinspired story comes to us from Nicole, a good friend who shared this with me yesterday. Thanks Nicole.

Her mother-in-law was Slovakian. Because her father was an officer in the military, when Slovakia was invaded (I'm not sure if it was the Nazis or the Russians) her family had to go into hiding to avoid being arrested and killed. They fled to the forests near their home, taking with them their three young daughters, ages 5, 3 and an infant. I can't even imagine trying to hide in the forest with three small children.

Babies aren't quiet when they are wet and tired, so the invading army found them. The mother of the family implored the soldiers to kill her children first so that they wouldn't be scared when they saw their parents murdered. Her pleadings softened the hearts of the soldiers and they were spared. I just can't even imagine.

When Nicole asked her mother-in-law about how she survived being so scared for that period of her life, (she was the 5-year-old) her MIL replied that she wasn't the least bit scared. She said that her mother treated it as "high-adventure" and that she thought they were having a grand time.

A side note: I have heard similar stories about pioneer ancestors crossing the plains. I always think of that as such hard work and such a sacrifice. But, can you imagine being a teenage boy with that kind of adventure? I know once my ancestors were settled, the young men loved to be on the teamster teams that went out to meet new immigrants. No hard work there. They were going out to meet the new girls.

The point of the story is this though. Nicole has been watching the news too much. She has been extremely worried about the economy and she and her husband's jobs. Obsessively worried. She also has twin 5-year-olds. In our conversation, she expressed to me the amazement she had at her grandmother-in-law's ability to cope, and her ability to instill that joy and sense of adventure in her children. She said, "I could whine to my children--'oh, how awful that we can't have piano lessons anymore. Or, Mom may have to get a full-time job.' Oh, Please. Or I could see it as a new adventure, we'll spend our time differently." The story of her mother-in-law has inspired her to go through her current situation with a sense of a grand, exciting new experience.

Genealinspired. Do you have one?


Terry Thornton said...

I'm "genealinspired" and will remember your friend's family story forever. And you've motivated me attempt the positive rather than focus on the negative. Thanks.

wendy said...

Great Post! And thanks to Nicole for sharing the story with you!