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Re:Lack of Interest in family history - YOU are now the historian!

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  • Jeanne Versweyveld
    Bill, You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed a
    Message 1 of 21 , Apr 6 12:07 PM
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      Bill,
      You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed a simple form for birth, marriage, death dates for each twig on the tree-my cousins, my generation. Everyone knows what I am doing, they love looking at the 3" thick binder with family trees, photos, documents etc. But that is where it ends. Out of the dozen or so sheets I handed out not one was ever returned.
      When I asked my mother's 98 year old cousin questions about the old country and why did my grandparents and her parents come here...she simply says it was never discussed. No discussion about their parents or their grandparents. It was just left behind. Traditions were brought over and sustained but no stories about the past. And quite frankly, I was too young to even know what to ask and now they are gone.
      You are so right. We are the historians. We put ourselves in that role and regardless of whether or not others appreciate it, and I am sure they do, we should be proud of our accomplishments. For every piece of the puzzle I fit together, I am victorious! There will, hopefully, be someone in the next generation that will fill my shoes and continue. I can only pray for that.

      Jeanne Ferris Versweyveld

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • takukuk@aol.com
      It seems like that is a story or condition that everyone of us can sympathize with. Kukuk In a message dated 4/6/2010 2:15:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
      Message 2 of 21 , Apr 6 12:48 PM
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        It seems like that is a story or condition that everyone of us can
        sympathize with. Kukuk


        In a message dated 4/6/2010 2:15:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
        fversweyveld@... writes:




        Bill,
        You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family
        birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed
        a simple form for birth, marriage, death dates for each twig on the
        tree-my cousins, my generation. Everyone knows what I am doing, they love looking
        at the 3" thick binder with family trees, photos, documents etc. But that
        is where it ends. Out of the dozen or so sheets I handed out not one was
        ever returned.
        When I asked my mother's 98 year old cousin questions about the old
        country and why did my grandparents and her parents come here...she simply says
        it was never discussed. No discussion about their parents or their
        grandparents. It was just left behind. Traditions were brought over and sustained
        but no stories about the past. And quite frankly, I was too young to even
        know what to ask and now they are gone.
        You are so right. We are the historians. We put ourselves in that role and
        regardless of whether or not others appreciate it, and I am sure they do,
        we should be proud of our accomplishments. For every piece of the puzzle I
        fit together, I am victorious! There will, hopefully, be someone in the
        next generation that will fill my shoes and continue. I can only pray for that.

        Jeanne Ferris Versweyveld

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Nancy Hayes
        The same thing has happened to me when I’ve sent family history forms for relatives to complete; I’ve gotten dirty looks about why I want to dig around in
        Message 3 of 21 , Apr 6 1:42 PM
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          The same thing has happened to me when I’ve sent family history forms for
          relatives to complete; I’ve gotten dirty looks about why I want to dig
          around in the past; the past is the past and leave it there (makes me wonder
          what they’re hiding!) lol Which only makes me want to find out even more!
          I talked to my mom about her family history when I started this hobby pretty
          seriously in the 1980s; she said that when she was a child, the rule in her
          parent’s house was, ‘children should only speak when they’re spoken to’. No
          wonder no one knows or cares about their past family history if all they
          ever got was negativity about asking.



          When I discovered all of my relatives & ancestors in Italy in 1991, I also
          discovered that only one cousin was the family historian for the Italian
          side; I’m the historian for the USA family side. My Italian cousin died a
          few years ago, and as far as I know, no one in her family or beyond has
          taken her place in this hobby. And no one even cares to write from over
          there, so I believe the hobby is dead for them. What a pity!



          Finding this group has revived my family history interest on my dad’s side
          of the family/my maiden name and a few others.



          Nancy



          From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of Jeanne Versweyveld
          Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 2:08 PM
          To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [S-R] Re:Lack of Interest in family history - YOU are now the
          historian!





          Bill,
          You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family
          birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed
          a simple form for birth, marriage, death dates for each twig on the tree-my
          cousins, my generation. Everyone knows what I am doing, they love looking at
          the 3" thick binder with family trees, photos, documents etc. But that is
          where it ends. Out of the dozen or so sheets I handed out not one was ever
          returned.
          When I asked my mother's 98 year old cousin questions about the old country
          and why did my grandparents and her parents come here...she simply says it
          was never discussed. No discussion about their parents or their
          grandparents. It was just left behind. Traditions were brought over and
          sustained but no stories about the past. And quite frankly, I was too young
          to even know what to ask and now they are gone.
          You are so right. We are the historians. We put ourselves in that role and
          regardless of whether or not others appreciate it, and I am sure they do, we
          should be proud of our accomplishments. For every piece of the puzzle I fit
          together, I am victorious! There will, hopefully, be someone in the next
          generation that will fill my shoes and continue. I can only pray for that.

          Jeanne Ferris Versweyveld

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Bill Tarkulich
          I have given very serious thought to who is going to inherit my genealogy work when I die. For starters, all the copy-able material, including trees, photos,
          Message 4 of 21 , Apr 6 1:47 PM
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            I have given very serious thought to who is going to inherit my genealogy
            work when I die.

            For starters, all the copy-able material, including trees, photos, contact
            lists and letters will be distributed to multiple family lines. Maybe one
            will stick.

            Second, I am going to specify who is going to get my books, and other
            supporting documents. Some of it might go to one of the cultural or
            research groups. Some of the books I have are so difficult to obtain,
            that I'd hate to see them locked up. I'll be darned if I'm going to see
            people look at my books and say "hey, no interest, chuck it."

            Bill
          • deeellessbee
            Bill, I m glad to see I m not the only one, lol! I actually have it in my will as to who will get my genealogy stuff! My kids are both history buffs like
            Message 5 of 21 , Apr 6 7:26 PM
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              Bill, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one, lol! I actually have it in my will as to who will get my genealogy stuff!

              My kids are both history buffs like myself (both are history majors in college) and hopefully that interest in history will spread to their own family history.

              As far as others in the family, NO ONE is interested - they don't even particularly like looking at pictures or talking about it at family gatherings. Some will listen for a bit, but then walk away to join other conversations. Some even roll their eyes when/if the discussion rolls round to genealogy.

              I have one third-cousin on my mom's side who is very avidly researching - he has gotten very far back in his own lines (hundreds of years!), and he even told me more about my Slovak and Russian side (my dad's side) than I knew! He's so into it that he researched all the little "twigs" as someone else called them, never mind his own main branches. So he knew more about my lines than I did. I've now caught up to him pretty well, in terms of research done, and investigating skills, etc., and we love to talk genealogy with each other, but we are the only two in a very large family who care about this. Very sad.

              On the bright side, I have recently found a cousin who IS into genealogy and who realizes the importance of it, and we now have a nice e-mail relationship (thanks to someone on this board, actually!)

              Like many of you, I will do this because it is important to me and I find it to be fun, and I will leave whatever I have and hopefully someone will appreciate it at some point in time!

              :)
              Debbie

              --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Tarkulich" <bill.tarkulich@...> wrote:
              >
              > I have given very serious thought to who is going to inherit my genealogy
              > work when I die.
              >
              > For starters, all the copy-able material, including trees, photos, contact
              > lists and letters will be distributed to multiple family lines. Maybe one
              > will stick.
              >
              > Second, I am going to specify who is going to get my books, and other
              > supporting documents. Some of it might go to one of the cultural or
              > research groups. Some of the books I have are so difficult to obtain,
              > that I'd hate to see them locked up. I'll be darned if I'm going to see
              > people look at my books and say "hey, no interest, chuck it."
              >
              > Bill
              >
            • haluska
              I just hope you are not going anywhere soon Bill! Well said.... Dennis ... the ... nights ... of one ... the ... answer was ... history. ... included ... time
              Message 6 of 21 , Apr 7 5:21 PM
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                I just hope you are not going anywhere soon Bill!

                Well said....

                Dennis
                --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, CasperVeth@... wrote:
                >
                > Wow - well said, Bill! You nailed it for the rest of us "historians."
                >
                > Ray Veth - Middletown, NJ
                >
                >
                > In a message dated 4/5/2010 9:02:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                > bill.tarkulich@... writes:
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > I've reformulated this discussion because the title quite a bit off
                the
                > original topic
                > Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiRe: [S-R] Re: [S-R] SUR
                > and I'd like to draw attention to the hundreds of readers who may have
                > elected to ignore the thread.
                >
                > What Helene says rings true, I'll add one more story. I stayed in my
                > villages of Zboj and Nova Sedlica for two weeks, spending the days and
                nights
                > meeting and speaking with dozens and dozens of family and "relatives"
                of one
                > sort or another.
                >
                > What struck me at first, was that I seemed to know A LOT more about
                the
                > family than anyone I met.
                >
                > After about a week, I politely asked one of the elders why they never
                > wrote these things down or knew much about their family history. The
                answer was
                > quite telling. "Because we are surrounded by our family and our
                history.
                > There is no need."
                >
                > I left behind a small stack of paper including photographs which
                included
                > family trees, history, and copies of church books. Never since that
                time
                > did I receive any inquiry or comment on this material.
                >
                > Only the photographs were of interest. "Yes, I can see we are related
                -
                > look at that face."
                >
                > Coming back to the US, that kind of bothered me, but I assumed they
                were
                > too busy working to engage in such idle-time frivolity. Since that
                time,
                > I've slightly adjusted my perspective. It seems, that regardless what
                country
                > we live in, history of most sorts is disregarded. The essential
                question
                > seems to be, "How can this information help me live my life today?"
                And, for
                > the most part, it does not.
                >
                > On both sides of the ocean, I slam into privacy concerns all the time.
                It
                > seems to fall into two camps. The first is that it's going to get into
                > sinister hands that will use the lineage information against them. The
                second
                > is that "He must want something. Why is this guy fishing around about
                me?
                > Does he want to take the family farm?"
                >
                > Then comes the inevitable family gathering and some chit chat about
                family
                > history. It's polite, it's cursory, old stories are told, and it ends.
                >
                > I wish I could be as optimistic as Debbie. I don't think anything is
                > changing. While access to records has become light speed, human
                interest in
                > family history remains in the dark ages.
                >
                > YOU are the family historian, like it or not. There is always one
                person
                > in a generation of a family group who becomes the family historian.
                People
                > come to me occasionally for information, but usually only to obtain a
                "sound
                > byte" or a piece of trivia. Nobody asks, "what was life like?" "why
                did
                > they come?" "How did they work?"
                >
                > I take my unofficial role as family historian quite seriously. My work
                may
                > be flawed, but it's all my family has. I've bundled up all sorts of
                > material and sent it to relatives I believe most likely to hang onto
                it. My hope
                > and wish is that my little "bundle" will inspire someone someday to
                pick up
                > the torch and carry it. No need for them to start from scratch - take
                it
                > to the next level. As each generation departs, we lose so much
                richness.
                >
                > Bill
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
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