When I was young, I was mildly amused at how “old people” were interested in genealogy—i.e., information about their ancestors. Today, genealogy is euphemistically called “family history.” And today, I’m old, so as could have been predicted, I’m very interested in genealogy or family history, whatever you call it.
I keep track of my forebearers on familysearch.org, which is free. I search for information about my ancestors on both familysearch.org and on ancestry.com.
When I look back 100 years or more, sometimes it is hard to find the most basic information. Sometimes I can find a birth date, a marriage date, and information on some or all of children born to my ancestor. But, try as I might, I can’t find a death date. A few months ago, I was searching for information about Sarah Elizabeth Dudley (born in Maine in 1822), not a direct progenitor, but a relative nonetheless. I found some information to add to her record. Out of the blue, I was contacted by a family history library in Los Angeles and was offered a very old family Bible that belonged to Sarah Elizabeth Dudley. The library said “we noticed you have been adding to Sarah’s record and we wondered if you would like this old family Bible. I was delighted. The Bible contained handwritten information regarding Sarah and her family that I was able to add to her record. Here are some photos of this old family Bible.
Usually, it’s hard to find anything other than the most basic information about ancestors who are long gone. But, with familysearch, we can make sure that our descendants, even those who are born hundreds of years from now, know about us. There is a place on familysearch to attach photos, recordings, and documents. I have attached to familysearch photos of my parents, who died about 20 years ago, as well as my talks at their funerals, their personal histories, and other information of interest about their lives. A hundred years from now, the descendants of my parents, Rusty and Gloria, will be able to read all about them and know a lot more than just dates—birth, marriage, death.
Researching and recording our family history is something we can do for, and leave to, our grandchildren and other descendants. They may not appreciate it now, but they will when “they are old.”