Any genealogy search is likely to unearth more than just a family tree. Family stories are as much a part of our ancestry as eye colour. When passed down through the generations, stories become a part of our heritage.
That’s why, one of the most powerful connections to our family history, are the stories from the lives of our ancestors that we can recount. Snippets of major milestones, life events, personality traits, or little anecdotes of everyday happenings, preserve the memory of cherished family and friends for generations. They live on through these stories for future generations to connect with them, like links in a chain.
Ask the question, “What’s your favourite story from a loved one you can remember?” and people will inevitably recount memories coloured with emotions and a feeling of strong connection to someone in their family tree even if they never met. Stories are carried in our collective memories like treasured keepsakes. A quick straw poll around the office elicited the following responses for favourite stories:
Jasmine: “My mother told me that my grandmother would sit by the fire and curse as she tried to comb tangles out of her hair, it was so fine it knotted easily…I have that same problem today!”
Christine: “My grandfather was a mining surveyor. He didn’t have modern equipment and had to use complex mathematical formulas to get the exact angles and lengths necessary to ensure the coal mine shafts went where they should. It’s where I got my love of maths I reckon.”
Will: “My grandmother used to bake beautiful cakes and puddings. I watched as she scraped the inside of the eggshell out with her fingers, making sure she got every bit of eggwhite after she’d cracked it open. She lived through the depression and couldn’t bring herself to waste anything. I think about her whenever I bake!”
Kara: ‘’I still remember the art room at my Great Aunt’s; the sharpened Derwent pencils and the floral arrangements she used to paint… and I am lucky enough to have one of her creations as a constant memory.’’
The ease with which the memories flow shows our universal ability to connect over stories. We’re intrigued and inspired by the lives of those who’ve come before us, sometimes in the most profound way. As the American Poet, Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Got a favourite memory of a loved one? Why not submit it in the comments section below? Or maybe you’d like to collect your memories and stories in the one place? Why not start documenting your story with MYLifebook? This free downloadable document gives you a place to record your story and wishes.