google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html A Letter to My Younger Self | The Armchair Genealogist

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

A Letter to My Younger Self

We all become reflective at some point in our lives. A number of things like age, the death of a parent, or a child leaving home can bring it on. For me, that reflection resulted in my discovery of genealogy and consequently my love of it. I only wish I had learned a few things earlier in life, easing the workload of writing my ancestor's stories. 

My girls, still teenagers aren’t old enough to want to hear or listen to my life’s lessons or reflections.   Therefore, although I do not claim to have figured out life’s secrets, I have lived long enough to learn a few things. If my kids are not ready to see the knowledge in my learning, perhaps someone else will.

Therefore, I’ve written a letter to my younger self or anyone else who is listening. If someone  had shared these tidbits with me when I was younger, I might be further ahead. They may have but clearly, I wasn’t listening.

Dear Young Lynn

Please, please, please pay more attention to the stories your parents and your grandparents are telling you. Write them down so you remember every detail. Those details will matter later.

Ask many questions, sometimes grandparents don't think anyone is interested or listening. Be persuasive, and genuinely interested, they have so much knowledge you can learn from.

Keep a journal of your own life, for yourself, your children and grandchildren. Your life does matter and they will want to know the simplest of details along with how you dealt and felt with personal and world events.

Spend lots of time with families, create memories, they last forever, and they fill endless pages of a family history book and reveal so much more than just the facts of your life.

Take lots of pictures and index them, otherwise you will end up with countless boxes of photos no one can identify or date.

Take a class, read a book, go to a conference, take a webinar,  never stop learning.

Visit your local historical society, learn about the history of your own town and that of your ancestors, it is a part of who you are.

Read, read, read! You will come to a point where you will realize there are more books in this world you would love to read, and not enough time to read them all. Make the most of every opportunity.

Start saving your money now, you will have a bucket list filled with ancestral home towns you will want to travel to, and a lack of funds will be your only barrier.

And finally do not listen to the other kids,  geeks are cool....eventually, even a genealogy geek.


Your Future Self.

What lessons have you learned?

1 comment:

Linda Gartz said...

So much to revisit in our lives. It's like that old saying, "youth is wasted on the young." It's the unusual young person, I believe, who wants to spend time with Grandma & Grandpa to take down their stories. Later many will wish they had, so it's really up to the parents to anticipate what their kids will want to know about their ancestors. (just as we helped them accomplish things that they didn't see the value in when they were younger--but we knew they needed that extra help to find a job, or do their homework, or finish their college essays). My parents made a family ancestor photo book for my brothers and me in the early 80s. Two years later, my dad had a devastating stroke that left him speechless--at age 70. All the stories I missed getting (his parents had lived to 87, so who'da thought? Life is tenuous and unpredictable). But if they hadn't made that book when they did, it never would have been created with all the labels I now find invaluable. Young people are busy building their lives. They need us to preserve what will someday be important to them.