Last Tuesday night, I attended the Lake County (IL) Genealogy Society Meeting. Genealogy Societies usually have a speakers on various topics at their meetings. There is always an opportunity to learn more about genealogy. Last Tuesday’s speaker was Sarah A. V. Kirby. She talked about finding archives using the Internet. I found it interesting and hope it will help me in my research. Also it is always fun to talk to others who have the same interest as you do. A good place to network with others and learn from each other.
On Monday, I visited the Lake County (IL) Genealogy Society Library. I was impressed with all the items they have in their library. The volunteer on duty was very helpful and showed me around the library. I don’t have any direct ancestors from Lake County, but I do have some 2nd cousins. I found a picture of one cousin in a 1961 yearbook from Grant High School in Fox Lake, IL. I have lost track of her and have not seen her since I was in about in 6th or 7th grade. I didn’t even remember what she looked like until I saw the picture. Even if you don’t have Lake County Ancestors there are plenty of other items of interest and books from other Illinois counties and other states. So I can’t say this enough, use your local genealogy society and join the ones where your ancestor’s lived too. I have used the LaSalle County IL Genealogy Guild library extensively to research my ancestors from LaSalle County, IL. Make it a point to attend a genealogy society meeting soon!
Grandma & Grandpa on left (other couple unknown) in Fox Lake in 1922.
Grandma and Grandpa would make trips from Chicago to Fox Lake, IL to go swimming. Grandpa would talk about all the flat tires they had on their way to Fox Lake and how long it would take them to get there.
I wish at least one of my ancestors had kept a journal. I would love to find one, but I doubt I ever will. The closest I came was my grandmother’s date book. She would write in someone’s birthday or wedding day and write a comment next to it. My grandmother loved to tell us stories of her youth. At the time I could have cared less. As she got older, she started repeating them and repeating them. Our eyes would glaze over as she started telling them and we would think to ourselves, “Oh no not again!” Because she told them so many times I do remember some but not all, and I certainly don’t remember all the details. She would say such things as he was Irish and had red hair and describe everyone in detail. My memory is not that good to remember all those details. I told her one time she should write her stories down since she liked telling them over and over. She never did and what a shame. I would like to have them now.
I have kept a journal since 1989. Sometimes I will write everyday, and sometimes every few days. There have been times when I haven’t written anything in weeks. I don’t know if anyone will be interested in them after I die, but if they are they will get a peek into my joys, my sorrows, my regrets, my desires, my loves, and in general my life. I think this is a great gift to leave to our children and their children. I have a book I bought many years ago Reflections from a Mother’s Heart. It asks you questions and you fill in your answers. Some of the questions are as follows:
- Did you have a collection when you were growing up? What initially sparked your interest in it?
- Describe the perfect Summer Day
- Did you ever go to a dance? Tell me about it?
- What did you do celebrate birthdays when you were growing up?
Anyway you get the idea. I bought this book and never filled in the answers. I dug it out the other day and think it’s high time I did. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. A page a day and in a few months it will be done. Some of the questions will make you stop and think. I don’t know if this book or one like are still available to buy or not. However, there is another book by Bob Greene titled To our children’s children: Preserving family history for generations to come. He asks the same kind of questions. You can buy a blank journal book to record your answers or use your computer. The point is to get it written down to leave to your children and/or grandchildren. They may not appreciate it right now, but I’ll bet as they get older they will appreciate that you took the time to do this for them. If you know an older person, you may want to give them a journal and asked them to record their stories for you. Or buy them a book like I describe above or Bob Greene’s book. But don’t forget to do it yourself too. So get going and start your journal today!