Keep a family journal

Jennifer Margulis writes in the Mail Tribune (Southern Oregon) about keeping a family journal. It’s one of those things that many genealogists wished their ancestors had done, but they’ve probably not considered doing themselves.

From the article:

A family journal tells the story of your family and is an effective way to collectively record your family’s triumphs, tribulations and paraphernalia.

What’s more, experts say that keeping a family journal can help build your whole family’s self-esteem.

“Knowing your history builds self-esteem and self confidence and makes you feel that you belong someplace,” says Lawrence E. Shapiro, author of “The Secret Language of Children,” who recommends that every family keep a journal….

“While researching our family genealogy I’ve come across many interesting characters and wished they had kept a record of their life,” she says. “Imagine reading about a great-great-grandmother who sold ribbons and lace on the streets of London, or a soldier in the Revolutionary War who rowed General Benedict Arnold across the river to the hospital after he was shot in the leg.”

I think as genealogists, we all have ancestors that we would have loved to have known a lot more about – somebody that was wounded at some ancient battle, or who lived in an area that would have been of extreme interest, or who made a journey, whether it was by ocean or by wagon that we know from other accounts had to be extremely demanding.

I have an ancestor who is German (Prussian if you prefer) who came over to the US in the mid-19th century, over political differences concerning conscription (or rather his parents’ differences with the then-leadership of that region). He either stowed away on a ship or came under an assumed name. Chances are he also changed his name slightly. It’s my biggest brick-wall, and I have little to nothing to go on. A few pages of text from him or his children would we incredible to read, and would clear up numerous family mysteries.

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