How many of your family gatherings end up with everyone reflecting on the past? In one way or another we all seem to ask this question of others in our family (or group of long term friends). And then everyone is entangled in a conversation about when “such and such happened” or was “said” or “so and so did this/said that …etc.”. Everyone is sharing their memories of the time when, and just what the details where. As time goes by these details are lost or forgotten or the people involved as it happens, pass on. Well isn’t that why we are interested in genealogy? To help preserve not only our family line but those stories and the character of the people that were there? In the picture above, why do all the kids appear to be laughing except me? Was I the butt of a joke that I don’t remember now? Time is running out to find out. My Grand-father who was in the photo holding me and my cousin Susie, died when I was about 10 yrs old and long before I was into family history. His wife, my grand-mother died less then 2 years later, I assume she was there when the photo was taken; it was my grand-parents home where this was taken. My Uncle Bernie (in the Montreal Canadians top) died in 2006. Now someone in the photo may remember; but most are young here and may not. So then we make some more assumptions. The parents where probably present. So my parents, Aunts & Uncles. You get the point.
We need to make sure that we take the opportunities as they are available to get these first hand accounts. That goes for preserving our family pictures. There is a very important piece of the story. That individuals appearance, the family resemblance. But who are these people in the old photo’s? Here again we need to take the time to sit down with the older generation and go through them with them, having them identify everyone in the photo. Again we need to remember to ask more then who is in the photo; we need to ask when was this (year or full date if possible), what was the occasion or event (Christmas, birthday and which one if so), did anything special, unusual or memorable happen at this time? Take notes and mark the photo with pencils or markers made to do so. Ones that won’t damage the photo. Once again look at the photo above. In it we find my aunt Denise (Kneeling down next to her father and me in the bottom right of the picture), My cousin Susie ( in the pink night gown next to me, being held by Grand-pa Wilfrid), and my other cousin Sheri (in the light Green night gown front bottom left of photo). That ‘anything special’ to note, that I mentioned earlier. The night gowns the three are wearing in this photo were all hand made and stitched by my grand-mother as part of their Christmas gifts that year. This gives us insight into her abilities, filling out the family history a little more.
Lastly let’s remember we are doing this because we have an interest in our family history and in preserving it. So share it, and then everyone in the family will “Remember When”.