Sunday, 26 July 2009

It's Good to Know

Since taking early retirement I’ve spent quite a lot of time researching my family history. It’s been a wonderful way to determine where I fit in the familial scheme of things. With the increased interest in genealogy there’s plenty of information out there, particularly online. But, fascinating though the records are, they can represent little more than names and places of people you never knew. That’s why family stories are so important.

Asher at work
Asher At Work

My maternal grandfather, Asher, was a natural storyteller and up until his death in 2002 he loved nothing more than sharing the escapades he’d had as a child – some of which will no doubt appear in future posts – and accounts of his own parents and the life experiences they had throughout the late 1800s until the mid 20th century.

Robert dressed for work
Robert Dressed For Work

My paternal grandfather, Robert, was an unknown quantity to me and from the time when my parents broke up in the early 1960s we lost contact. Until, that is, he wrote to me out of the blue, just a few years before his demise in 1994. Our correspondence offered tantalising glimpses of a relationship that might have been but the clock had beaten us and there was too little time for so many questions. I still have his letters though and I am pleased that he got in touch.

Where am I going with all this? Well, I guess I’m stressing the importance of passing on whatever we know about previous generations. Hand down the stories but try not to bog your grandchildren down with references as to how lucky kids are today. Instead, pick out the funny things that you know, particularly if there are incidents that relate to your own childhood or that of an ancestor.

Children are often curious to find out more about the exploits of other children and the time gap can add to the mystery. It is possible, even in these enlightened times, to read an expression on a young face that’s asking, “you mean, granddad really did that?”

© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this one. The stated purpose of my blog, Axiesdad.blogspot.com (Things my Grandkids Should Know) was to do just what you talk about here. I seem to have gotten off track lately and this may be the incentive needed to make the course correction. I also really enjoy your writing style and use of language; To Susan Adcox at About.com. Thanks for helping me find another grandpa blogger.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by. I know that Susan works hard to support the network of grandparenting blogs. We have much to thank her for. I'll be dropping by at 'Things my Grandkids Should Know'.

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