08 January 2011

New Years Resolution 2011

As genealogists we know how wonderful it is to find an old diary or journal a relative may have kept years or even centuries ago.

A couple of years ago I found the journal my father kept when he first retired and drove across the United States in search of distant cousins and long departed relatives.  His journal helps me share the beginnings of his interest in our family history.

I have kept journals on most of my vacations as an adult. I found the journal helped me organize and identify the photographs upon my return. When I retired I began keeping a journal beside my bed. Although I don't record my thoughts every day, I find it helpful to record what I am thinking and feeling about what is going on around me. E-mails and Facebook encourage short comments about activities rather than providing a perspective about the world we see every day.  A hundred years from now I hope that someone might want to read one of my journals rather than comments I have posted on my wall.

So are you keeping a journal? If not, why not begin today as your New Year's resolution. 

As my 2011 New Year's resolution I have started another different kind of journal— the "I remember" notebook. I have organized it around the states in which I have lived, because the locations helped shape the changes in my life. For example: Illinois (1946-1960); California (1960-1973); Connecticut (1973-1978); Virginia (1978-2004) and Retirement (2004-      ).  Since we share our time between two houses in different states, it was easier to define the last category more broadly.  My objective is to sit quietly about thirty minutes a couple of times a week and record what comes to mind in each time period. I've already recalled things I had not thought about in years and once I begian, one memory lead to another and I could not write fast enough.   Yes, I'm writing rather than typing each memory, because I find when I type, I do too much revising.

I have a large box of family pictures I need to scan.  I can only imagine all the additional memories just waiting to come out of the box.

By Jan Alpert, Past President NGS

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