Keep a Journal

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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!

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About Gail Grunst Genealogy

Gail has been researching her own family since 1979. Her research has taken her back to 1800 Belgium and 1800 England. Gail has worked in a library for the last 20 years and has answered genealogy questions for patrons and helped patrons with their research. In addition to her degree in Library Media Technology, Gail has a two degree in Basic American Genealogy Research from the National Genealogy Society. She has done volunteer work for various Genealogy Societies. Gail teaches several Classes in Genealogy for the Round Lake Area Library, and would be happy to conduct a class for your organization. If interested in a class or if you would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact Gail. Please enjoy Gail's family History Blog

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