Sharpen Your Pencils, Time to Write

Deborah Goodacre

The members of the Daughters of the American Revolution are sorely missing our monthly meetings, unable to keep in contact with our favorite friends. We haven’t had an in-person meeting for almost a year. Our leaders try their best to keep us all connected, but it is not the same—no surprise. When we have meetings, we begin by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and then recite the American’s Creed. Next, we go around the room, stand, state our name, then reply to a request from our Regent. For example, one time we were asked to state what we liked best about the DAR: genealogy, education, or service. Most said the genealogy, and I agree. Researching long-lost relatives can be, actually is, addictive. You are the one on the hunt, but your family members will never understand your excitement when you pounce upon the answer to some long-sought-after connection. The excitement in those discoveries, those aha moments, still ring in our ears when recalled.

Research and discovery get under your skin, yet I have heard members say their children aren’t interested in their family history, the background of our parentage, or have any interest in old photographs. It is likely that you knew some of the people in the photos as a child. Many of you knew your grandparents and great-grandparents. My suggestion is to start writing down your family history, a story beginning with your own, the town where you were born and raised, childhood memories, stories about your parents, how they met, how you and your husband met, etc. Pages and pages of pedigree charts and family group sheets can be meaningless unless there is a story to go along with them. Family histories, stories, and tidbits of information will soon be lost forever unless you start writing them down.

I have written many stories about people I knew, some born in the late 1800s. One of my favorite old aunts was actually my great-grandmother’s aunt. She was a unique lady, intelligent, funny, and when she became deaf, she used an ear trumpet and a chalkboard to communicate. I attended many funerals when I was child, but when Aunt Hattie died just before she turned 100, that night at the funeral home, I wept. This interesting, old lady was gone forever, and I still miss her. I hope I am making a point here. Our old family members connect us to the past, give our lives meaning, roots—we are not alone. I just wish I knew more about the background of many of them, but alas, people rarely spoke about the past.

While you are back in cooler parts of the country this summer, you might think about the stories you can hand down to your children and grandchildren. It is not that difficult. Start with where you were born and raised and go from there. Call Pennie Bonnet for more information at 602-418-8908.