Sunday, September 21, 2008

How to share your family history with your family--Books

Ok. This series is really getting drawn out. But it will be worth it. Slow and steady.

You are going to call me the most spoiled genealogist ever when you see this one.

One of the most gorgeous ways you can work on sharing your family history with your family is to do what my mother has done. My mom isn't particularly worried about adding more people to our family's genealogy, she is mostly concerned with making sure we know about our ancestor's lives. She really is the epitome of "sharing your family history with your family" and although I wasn't interested for alot of years, I'm living proof that you can eventually get them involved.

Mom has had an incredibly busy life. From a family that was spread out over 40 years (My baby sisters were adopted when I was 18) to her mother being in a wheelchair for 30 years, Mom has had lots of people who have needed her attention. But she has plugged away at writing books about our ancestors. And over time she has accomplished alot. She sticks to the fairly close generations--people she remembers but I generally don't. I think that has been brilliant, because if she doesn't record their lives, I can't--at least not as well as she can. She has done a few on ancestors that she didn't know, and those have been harder. But they are all treasures in our family.

Mom has written several full sized books on her parents and grandparents, etc. These aren't usually grand productions as far as the book goes, just regular copies and spiral bound. She has usually started with an oral history, and scrapbooked some pictures into it. But the information is so wonderful to have. And they are grand productions to get written--definitely.
But then--here is the kicker. For each of these people, she has put together a beautiful children's length book. These are gorgeous books and when I show them to people they are all agog. She has used Heritage Makers, but there are several companies that can put together books like these. I wish you could see them. For each ancestor, she has given them the theme of a value that they exhibited in their life. So my Great Grandfather that lived through the depression is "Charles Roswell Dana and the Power of Hard Work." And my handcart pioneer GGGGrandmother is "Jane Dorothy Culley and the Power of Perseverance." She does one page on their family of origin, one on their childhood, one growing up, one on courtship and marriage, one on their career, etc. They are so easy to put together, she actually got my Dad to do some for his Mother and Father. And even though they died when I was 16 and 22 respectively, I learned quite a bit I didn't know about their lives from Dad's little books. This short length is good for kids, but really for adults too. Anyone can digest this much family history. Even though they are expensive, it is easier to pick up with lots of pictures and a beautiful layout and binding.

I told you I'm spoiled. I get frustrated when she gets busy with other things and puts these on the back burner. If I had a fire, these are the one thing I would try to grab. Thanks Mom. And get back to work. :-)


TK said...

Janet, this series of yours is so excellent! I'm getting so many great ideas, but my favorite is your mom's books for kids--I'd never have thought of this--wow, how cool!!

Bob Kramp said...

You and your descendents are soooo lucky. Your Mom has been so productive! I clicked on your book images to enlarge them. Every so often I go to my local library and use their laser printer to print out my genie blog pages and bind them in plastic comb, but I want to put a better finish on them. Thanks for the Heritage Maker reference. I will look them up. But I'm sure there are similar single book publishers. Right- get back to writing, Mom.