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Beyond the Statistics
Created on 2013-09-25 16:43:37 GMT
Last updated 2013-09-25 16:47:18 GMT
by John Hendrix
I was baptized into the LDS Church when I was 14 years old and I started my search for my ancestry two years later when I heard about the four generation program. No one in my family had previously undertaken the effort but I had an aunt that was interested enough to pave my way and enabled me to interview all of my known oldest relatives on my paternal side. I still have the notes from those interviews and some of the interviews were critical when I was subsequently able to connect my known ancestry to the work done by researchers associated with the HHFO.
While I was able to compile a lot of information on both my father’s and mother’s ancestry, I wasn’t focused on the personal information that would have made the history much more meaningful to future generations. I have since been working to rectify my neglect of this area of my family history. I have come to realize that my sons have a keen interest in our ancestry but they are primarily interested in the stories about their ancestors, what they did and what they were all about.
I believe ancestors and relatives help to mold a person in the way he is raised, the values he incorporates into his life, and his expectations for what he hopes to achieve or do during his lifetime. This is most easily observable with parents and children. While children don't necessarily follow all of a parents teachings or values, their actions and behaviors are definitely influenced by them even if it is to rebel against them. While this influence is more subdued the further you go back in a person's ancestry, it can be observed in families that continually have success or are good at certain things or have problems with certain things. Any way you look at it; I believe it can help you understand yourself more fully if you understand some of your background and ancestry.
What can you do?
If you are reading this you are probably a direct descendant of someone in the HHFO pedigree chart. As such it can seem like there is nothing to do for your family history. I have heard the following quotes from many people in the Church, “my work has already been done” or “Aunt ___ has done all of our genealogy work” or “there is nothing left to be done”.
While it may be difficult to add to the current database of information on our shared direct ancestors without coordinating efforts with the HHFO Research Director, you can offer a valuable contribution that will be appreciated by your children, grandchildren and others.
Within your own individual family groups of Parents, Grandparents, and Great Grandparents, you can record oral histories, write stories and compile photos that will resonate with your descendants and offer great lessons on how one can live a useful life.
The Church has recognized this and as many of you know, it has programed familysearch.org to allow for the posting of stories and photos about our ancestors. What is great about this improvement is a story or photo will be connected to a specific individual, will be kept forever and is easily assessable by anyone in the family. To post a story or photo about a parent or grandparent all you have to do is sign in to familyseach.org and go to “photos”. If you don’t have an account, you can easily get one (all you need is your Church membership number and your birthdate). Those who are not members of the LDS Church can also obtain an account. While this site is not meant to be a scrapbook, it is looking for meaningful stories and photos about you and your ancestors.
In addition to photos and written stories, you might also consider obtaining oral histories of your oldest living relatives. While familysearch.org doesn’t allow for the posting of oral histories at this time, it is possible they may do so in the future. The Riverton FamilySearch Library even has an Oral History Room that is set up specifically for the purpose of recording oral histories. See https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Riverton_FamilySearch_Library/Oral_History_Room . You can easily record histories yourself without using specialized equipment in your own home.
I understand the HHFO has identified over 40,000 living cousins. It would be great if by the time of our next HHFO reunion, we had thousands of meaningful photos or stories of the more current generations posted in familysearch.org.