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You Are Hereby Appointed Family Historian
by Michael Boyter
We all witnessed the passing of the last century, and with it's passing, the memories of the 1900s live on only in the minds and memories of we who lived them.

Tragically, for those who fail to keep a record of it, priceless family history, is going, going and soon to be gone!

Think about this:

Those who where born in 1990's will not remember much if any of the 1900s.

Many born prior to the 1930's have already left us!

So it is left to the rest of us to record all we can about ourselves, the world we live in, and of our beloved family members that came and went in the 1900's.

Without doing so, when we are gone…so is your family's link to it's past. Your family, in the years to come, will have to make it through life without the benefit and comfort of your hard-earned wisdom and knowledge.

So, it is incumbent upon us to become historians of sort.

Now how many of us, while sitting in a boring high school history class, ever thought that we'd be historians and record keepers of the 1900s?

It's true that most of our written accounts of history will only be read by our descendants, but we ought not to discount the possibilities.

The Net is the modern version of a "cave wall". The typical cave wall discovery tells us of how people lived thousands of years ago. Likewise, your journals and personal history tells your story but it also indirectly records society and how it affected you and everyone around you.

Can you imagine the longevity of what you write today? Who's to say that what you write on a message board today won't be around years after you are gone?

I have, in my possession, a journal written by my great-great-great-great grandfather. His name was John Murdock. He was born in the late 1700s. That's more than two hundred years ago!

It's hard for me to imagine that my g-g-g-great grandchildren could be reading of my life in the year 2200. Imagine how the world will change by then and how the time in which we now live will contrast against theirs.

With the technology and ability to store information that we now possess, there really is no excuse for anyone's descendants in the year 2200, for example, not to know of you and of the time in which you lived.

If in the future there are no more newspapers, how interesting could it be to future generations to comment on headlines in your local newspaper or about clipping coupons?

If in the future there are no more gasoline-powered cars, how interesting may it be to future generations to passively mention, in a journal, changing oil, going to the fuel pump and using language like "miles per gallon"?

While to us, these things are everyday things, they will be read with great interest by your g-g-g-great grandchild.

One last point.

To show how fast one's family history can fade, I wish to relate my experiences that I had while working with some 18-26 year olds.

During the mid-1990s I was an Air Force recruiter and I routinely helped these young adults fill out background investigation paperwork.

I think you'd be surprised at how often it was that twenty-something-year-olds couldn't tell me their parent's birth dates.

Nor did many of them know where their parents were born.

Some didn't even know their grandparent's complete names.

This is a sad trend. You, by keeping a journal and writing your family history, stories and traditions down, can prevent a trend like this one from happening in your family.

Someday your descendants will number in the thousands. Will they know of you and share your wisdom? Will they know anything of the eventful 1900s and the times you had?

You are the link between those who came before and those who will come after. Those few memories you preserve in the year 2001 will have a far greater impact on your family's future generations that you may ever know.

Copyright 2001
Michael Boyter

Written by Michael R. Boyter, author of the popular new Ebook "The MemoryGrabber" - Writing Your Own Biography Is As Easy As Filling In The Blank! http://www.familyhistoryproducts.com/memorygrabber.html Also... Subscribe to the MemoryGrabber Newsletter and discussion group: http://www.egroups.com/group/TheMemoryGrabber

 

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