Friday, 19 August 2016

Being The Bridge.

I have considered this before back in 2014, but due to circumstances of age, losing loved ones, and time, it has come to the forefront of my mind again.  My mom and her twin sister who are the last of their core family of 13 children are nearing 90 and in ill health.

My mother on the left. 
My mother had been the bridge for years in her family reaching out to her nieces and nephews as well as siblings. Now she can't communicate because of health; this caused me to look around and realize that a fractionated family would soon to lose all connection if intervention didn't happen. My first cousins, I was not so much worried about, but the future generations, yes, that concerned me.
Part of the awareness was, I had been pulling my father's family back together reaching back to descendants of my great great great grandfather because they had all lost contact up to the present generation. I started with one cousin and built upon that.
One of the ways I have taken action,was to begin by making private family groups on Facebook and adding the cousins to the family group as I found and collected them.  By sharing pictures and stories, I have been able to reach down to 3rd and 4th cousins that have felt the call to learn of their origins. Below is examples of my journey. I have shared before, but I am sharing it again in the hopes to see others find inspiration to reach out and be the bridge to hold their families together.
When I first began my genealogy blog Branching Out Through The Years, my purpose was to preserve the memories of my husband known on the blog as "The Hero"for our grandchildren.  He really wanted to know them and wanted them to know him.  His choice was taken from him by cancer.
The Hero and I with oldest daughter's first son.

After that, I decided to write the stories of my associations with my relatives, aunts, uncles, grandparents for my children and grandchildren because for the most part they never met or really knew any of them.  This grew to posts about ancestors I wanted to know about and sharing findings with those who were also interested.
Old letters scrapbooked are loved by future generation seeking to know about an individual
When I started on my mother-in-law's family, it was very exciting for her.  She shared her personal stories.  Many times I sat on the floor at her feet and wrote down as she told me.  My sister-in-law also had her write down her personal history so now we have it in her writing.  There is something special about seeing their story in their handwriting as opposed to a transcription or memory by someone else.

Every time I find a book, story, document about an ancestor, I will connect it to the FamilySearch Family Tree , which is a collaborative effort, as a source for others and myself to go back and read to learn more about that ancestor. Their stories make them real, not just a name.
I have used my blog and memes to writing some of my stories. I know, if you don't tell the stories, they are lost and if you find a story you need to share. I can't tell you how many times I look at at family name and wish I knew something of their story.  I have envy that I have to fuss at myself about, when others talk about their family journals.  My dad's family was closed mouth, and now I am recreating their stories.
A great grandfather and one of his sons belonged to the Anti Horse Thief Association. At least they weren't horse thieves. 
There has been research and studies done that shows how sharing your family history and stories shores up your family members when they have challenges, or even national trauma. It is called The Stories That Bind Us.
 I ask you to join in saving the stories for future generations, Be the catalyst in your extended families for sharing, caring, and reaching out to pull cousins together.

as a footnote: I apologize for missing a couple of months. I have an excuse, we had our first core family reunion, first time some of the family had met new members, and first time some had seen each other in 8 years. It was an awesome happening... The other excuse was my mother was sick. Hope that things are back on an even keel again and I will see you next month. Blessings wished for all ya'all from Texas, United States of America.


  1. I love to read about families and their histories, even if they are not my own. Some people do not want to hear about people unless it is their family. I think that is kind of selfish. I try to think about others, as well as myself. I have worked on my family history since 1987, and I have over 12,000 people in my RootsMagic database.
    Thanks, for sharing about your family and you help give me the motivation to continue with my writing, even though none of my family seem to care at all. My mother lived with us for the last six years of her life, and I picked her brain, because even though her short term memory was not so good, her memories from the past were excellent. One of my sites is
    God bless you, Sally from Texas, U.S.A.

    1. Sally, you are awesome. Keep up the good work. :-)

  2. I want to echo some of Sally's thoughts by saying I also felt like you gave me new ideas for writing in my own genealogy blog, just a different point of view, because I love capturing the stories also. My family doesn't seem to care much either, but I get comments from distant cousins I never met, who truly appreciate it. I hope I am leaving a legacy for my grandchildren forever! LOL Helen

    1. Helen, I have watched you for some time. You are a great bridge. You do a great job. :-)

  3. I've come to believe family history is a process. My Dad took over a bunch of scribbled notes from his mother. I took over his 20+ years of research when his health no longer permitted him to continue. I don't know who will pick up the torch when I am gone, but someone will. That's why it's as important to write about what we find in an accessible format as it is to research as accurately as we know how. It's one of the reasons I so admire your "Hero" stories. He will live for his loved ones in those stories whether they ever had the privilege to know him.

  4. Thank you Schalene, That is what I am hoping for.


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