RE: [S-R] Re:Lack of Interest in family history - YOU are now the historian!
- The same thing has happened to me when Ive sent family history forms for
relatives to complete; Ive 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 theyre 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
parents house was, children should only speak when theyre 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; Im 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 dads side
of the family/my maiden name and a few others.
From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
Behalf Of Jeanne Versweyveld
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 2:08 PM
Subject: [S-R] Re:Lack of Interest in family history - YOU are now the
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
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
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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
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, 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!
--- 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."
- I just hope you are not going anywhere soon Bill!
--- 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
> 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
> meeting and speaking with dozens and dozens of family and "relatives"
> sort or another.
> What struck me at first, was that I seemed to know A LOT more about
> 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
> quite telling. "Because we are surrounded by our family and our
> There is no need."
> I left behind a small stack of paper including photographs which
> family trees, history, and copies of church books. Never since that
> 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
> too busy working to engage in such idle-time frivolity. Since that
> I've slightly adjusted my perspective. It seems, that regardless what
> we live in, history of most sorts is disregarded. The essential
> seems to be, "How can this information help me live my life today?"
> the most part, it does not.
> On both sides of the ocean, I slam into privacy concerns all the time.
> 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
> is that "He must want something. Why is this guy fishing around about
> Does he want to take the family farm?"
> Then comes the inevitable family gathering and some chit chat about
> 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
> family history remains in the dark ages.
> YOU are the family historian, like it or not. There is always one
> in a generation of a family group who becomes the family historian.
> come to me occasionally for information, but usually only to obtain a
> byte" or a piece of trivia. Nobody asks, "what was life like?" "why
> they come?" "How did they work?"
> I take my unofficial role as family historian quite seriously. My work
> 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
> the torch and carry it. No need for them to start from scratch - take
> to the next level. As each generation departs, we lose so much
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]