Linda Wood Rondeau

Having the Prime of My Life

SHARING FAMILY MEMORIES
Wednesday, January 17, 2024 by Angela Breidenbach

 

 

 

As the executive director of the International Institute of Genealogical Studies, one of the most noted reasons people sign up for classes is so they can learn how to share their family stories. Yes, many want a new career. Yes, many want to solve a mystery. But underlying all of the other reasons is the need to tell your story.

Story gives us a sense of belonging, understanding, and connection to others. The need to pass those stories on to the next generation seems to get stronger the older we get, too. Some want to write a book while others want to preserve their family stories through pictures. There’s not a “best” or right way.

The creativity that genealogy allows in telling family stories is as varied as the people I meet. Recently I spoke with a graduate student who feels honored to find families of fallen soldiers. She finds the closest living relative after the loss of their family member in WWII. Did you know there are over 210,000 soldiers still waiting to come home from war? I can only imagine the many stories those families have the opportunity to recover!

Another student is taking classes to enhance her law enforcement job to help solve cold crimes while another is learning about DNA to help the courts determine closest living heirs. Yet another wants to understand who their people were and how the family disconnected over the last few generations.

Their stories are priceless.

The more I learn about my family, the more I want to write books to tell stories of love, overcoming, and astonishing exploits. I wonder how those stories will be remembered if someone doesn’t preserve them. How many are already lost to time? How many more will be lost without someone to tell those important tales?

Tips for sharing your family stories (including your own):

Invite family to help put together photo albums. Pick out a few special ancestors who achieved something difficult. Tell those stories to encourage children and grandchildren.

Make sure the names, dates, and locations are on the back of the photo, or write a note beside it. Use acid-free paper and ink.


Share a tradition using a special family heirloom. Our family celebrates Advent using a 5-candle brass Advent candelabra inherited from my father-in-law. We talk about him and then use each Sunday of Advent to participate in the tradition together. Our faith and our family are remembered.


Build your family tree starting with yourself. Add everything you know. Then try an online search to learn more using FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.com, and other membership programs. Share your achievements regularly to interest younger generations.


What stories do you know about your ancestors? Were they heroic tales or cautionary tales? Both are valuable to share with grandchildren.

If you’d like to learn more about building your family tree and researching ancestors, please visit the International Institute of Genealogical Studies at https://GenealogicalStudies.com and enjoy watching our free videos on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@GenealogicalStudies for ideas.

 

ABOUT ANGELA BREIDENBACH

Angela Breidenbach is the executive director for the International Institute of Genealogical Studies, found at https://GenealogicalStudies.com, where she helps people become professional genealogists, gain their dream careers, and tell their family stories. As a bestselling historical author, her stories capture true history while she uses her skills as a professional genealogist to weave in people, places, and society to bring the past to life. Whether in writing or teaching, Angie is a passionate educator preserving the past for future generations. Her latest is a 6-book series called, Queen of the Rockies, telling the history of the West from 1889 through 1910.

Find her books at AngelaBreidenbach.com

All social media @AngBreidenbach

 


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