The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Learning about where I come from has been on my to-do list for some time. I just never really got around to it. However, this past winter break, I decided that it was time to start the project, and I am so glad that I did.
What pushed me to begin with this project was my grandfather. He gave me a book designated to recording family history, including ancestral charts, locations of burial, and more. The book was originally given to my father, but he had never moved forward with it.
So far, I have explored my father’s side of the family. I am very lucky that my grandfather from my father’s side has a record of generations within my family, going back to my great, great, great, great grandparents. When sitting down with my grandparents, they were able to decipher the records and help me to fill out the book. However, I didn’t just fill in dates, brief descriptions, and logistics. I was given fascinating stories to write as well. For example, I was told how my great, great, great grandfather fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. With the lack of traffic and city noise, my great, great, great grandmother was able to hear the sound of the cannons going off on the battlefield from miles away.
These stories allow me to have images in my head of the people that came before me and have shaped me in some way. Not only that, but I now know the ways in which my family has shaped the city that I grew up in. I hope to take mini field trips to locations near my home that my family has touched, from old company buildings to family farms.
Learning about my mother’s side of the family will not be so easy, as there is little record that goes back as far as that on my father’s side. However, this feels important. It is information that generations to come can learn about, and I’m one of the few that can make that happen. I signed the book with my name and took that responsibility. It’s something that I feel I need to accomplish before those pass on who can tell me more. There’s only so much time left before I leave my hometown for new callings.
That being said, if you have the opportunity now, I encourage you to ask your grandparents or relatives for information on your family history. Later in life, you may regret not doing so. I probably should have begun doing this years ago, but I am here now, and I am determined.