Motivation Monday - The Ancestor is ME

When I first got the genealogy "bug", some years back, it was just after the death of my maternal grandmother.  When she passed, a cousin mailed me her photos and memorabilia. I read on the internet, which at the time was a brand new toy for me, that the average person will have on average ten great grandchildren. Only two of those great grandchildren will even know our name! I was determined that my children would know who their great grandparents were. That they would have roots. I have worked hard on my family tree, collecting and preserving photos and documents, writing down memories and stories told to me by my parents and grandparents.
  One of my grandsons has a birthday coming up in early February and we talked about their names. His middle name is Dionicio, named for a grandfather who died much too young. A grandfather he would never personally know. Another bears the middle name of my husband. Another the middle name of a dear aunt. My oldest grandaughter's middle name is Ranae.
 I had an epiphany! I AM ALREADY AN ANCESTOR. I asked my youngest grandchild. "Honey, do you know my name?" She smiled broadly and exclaimed, "Sure its Papagramma". Early on, my son's oldest child called us mamagramma and papagrampa. The names stuck. Of course she is only five but she had no clue who Ranae was and none of my grandchildren knew my maiden name.
So I dug out this picture. I wasn't even sure at first where it was.

Who is this? I asked them. The oldest two knew but maybe only because they were mature enough to envision me without glasses, forty years younger and 30 pounds lighter! Plus they remembered me working as a nurse. Not to be morbid but I envisioned this scenario. If I had died young, before my grand kids had been born, as my mom had, what if they found this picture? It is unmarked and undated. Would there be anyone who could tell them this was their grandmother? And even if they knew it was papagramma, nurses don't wear caps any longer. Would they know I was a nurse? And they certainly would not know the story of me becoming a nurse. How I did it after I married. How their grandfather worked seven days a week to pay the tuition. How I had 1 child (a toddler), went to school full time and worked nights part time. How I found myself pregnant in my next to last semester and hid it as long as I could in fear of being asked to leave the nursing program? How I gave birth during spring break and 3 days later did my surgical rotation? I never thought I had that interesting a life (still don't) but I"ll bet you my grandparents did not either.

I am already an ancestor and my and my husband's stories are part of who my grandchildren and great grandchildren will be. Who could tell my story more accurately then I? 

Resolved for the new year 2016:

1. Date and identify our family photos. Looking at it like a complete stranger is seeing it for the first time. In other words, not labeling this photo "me at graduation", but my full name (including maiden) the date and circumstances of the photo. Wow, I have just boxes and boxes of photos so I think I'll start small, such as wedding and baby photos and the periodic family group photos done for the church directory. And then I will go from there.

2. Record my history as dull as it may seem to me. I have lived through times and have a perspective they will never know. Writing it all down seems just too daunting a task that I just realistically couldn't or wouldn't do. I saw an idea on Pinterest,

If you click you will see some great ideas for questions. I bought a cheap microphone for my computer and I thought each week of this year I would ask myself  and maybe elaborate on one of the questions. 

3. Digitize, save, and back up our immediate family history with the same care I have given my ancestors photos, history, stories and family tree.

Well, that's my plan anyway. Wish me luck. You won't ever see my oral history file on this blog. My family can check it out when I'm gone. No, not because it could be embarrassing. Well, yes embarrassing but only because I think I have been lucky enough to lead a pretty peaceful, blessed some would say boring life.

But that's the way I like it.