Genealogy is the fastest growing hobby in the United States. People love learning about where their family came from! While online databases make it possible to trace our roots back multiple generations, these sources pale in comparison to the richness of information we can gather from a grandparents memories.
These personal accounts fill in cherished details that were never recorded on any document and would be lost forever if it were not for our grandparents passing them on in their own unique way.
A Source of Family History
A grandparents memories are a great source of family history. We don’t just learn facts like the year their grandparents moved from Illinois to Oregon. They may recall hearing about the conditions on the wagon train, how long the journey took and how they dealt with illnesses. Or what foods they ate and how they prepared them, how they earned the money to go, and what challenges they faced when they arrived.
Instead of simply learning that our great-great-grandparents immigrated in 1902, we may learn what it was like on Ellis Island waiting to be interviewed, the circumstances of the other immigrants that were not allowed entry, what questions were asked, and what the conditions were like on the ship. We may discover details like how our great-great-grandmother was almost sent back because she was pregnant with our great-grandfather!
Brings History to Life
In school, we learn about events like the Great Depression, World War II, and how technology has evolved over the decades. Our textbooks are filled with names, dates and photos. However, nothing makes history come alive more than sitting at the kitchen table listening to our grandparents share their memories of living through these events.
Through a grandparents memories, we don’t just learn sterile facts. We learn how events affected our families specifically. Our grandfathers can tell us about what it was like when news broke that the war was finally over. We can ask about that scar on his arm and he can tell us what the battlefield was really like.
We may learn about how our great-grandmother took a job in a defense factory to earn enough money to raise our grandmother and great-aunts. How she was the first in the family to work outside the home. We may learn how that inspired her to continue with a career after the war and how this made it easier for our grandmother and mother to pursue their own careers.
Preserving a Grandparents Memories
Families pass on stories from one generation to the next. However, with each generation, these stories become more diluted and less personal in delivery and detail. For this reason, there is a growing trend to preserve family history by recording a grandparents memories. In this way, our great-great-grandchildren will have access to these personal histories with all the detail portrayed in the original delivery of these stories.
While we may inherit financial assets and family heirlooms, a grandparents memories will leave a more enduring legacy. They warm our heart, give us a sense of who were are and make us appreciate our lives more fully. Without a doubt, our grandparents memories are our most valuable heirlooms.
For questions to ask your parents or grandparents to learn more about their life story and your family history, visit my post: ’25 Legacy Questions’.
Give your parent or grandparent the gift of a lifetime by capturing their life story for your family to know!
Here at Family Tree Video, we produce Legacy Videos, modern-day memoirs that weave a filmed interview with a parent or grandparent together with family photos, documents, maps and other memorabilia. The result is a beautiful “Moving Portrait” capturing your loved one sharing their life story, family history and memories – a gift your family will treasure for generations to come.
To learn more about giving the gift of a Legacy Video, visit us at FamilyTreeVideo.com.
Family Tree Video LLC
Legacy Video Production
Legacy Videos Producer