Friday, January 22, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Accessing Myself

Week 3: Assess yourself! You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.

When my friend Amy of the We Tree blog created the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenges, she says, "I originally wrote this one so people wouldn't forget their own lives and accomplishments because they were so busy documenting the history of others."

Well, I think I've done a pretty good job documenting my life over the years. I first got a camera when I was 9 years old, and started creating photo albums at the same time. I still have them all. I also acquired a lot of photographs from the first nine years of my life from my mother, and created an album of those as well. The photos for the first 29 years of my life (up to the point where my son was born) even have captions! Notations on photos since then are spotty - some written on the backs of the photos with a Stabilo pencil; others written on sticky notes in the albums. At least all of the photos are in chronological order in photo-safe albums!

There isn't as much as I would like from 1982 though 1997, because my first husband wanted us to use slide film instead of prints; and he kept most of the slides when we divorced. On the other hand, when I married my current husband (the love of my life!), I went through boxes and boxes of his photos and pulled out ones of him and his family and created four albums documenting his life before I came back into it. Naturally, in the last four years that we have been together again, there are a number of photos and other momentoes, but they are in chronological order in a box waiting for me to put them into an album. I need to do that soon.

I also need to go back and write notes on the backs of ALL my photos in Stabilo pencil, noting who is in the photo and when and where it was taken. It's so frustrating to come across an old family photo and have no idea who is in it. I don't want my descendants to experience that.

I also have various scrapbooks and files with things like all my report cards in them. There's a folder in my files called "Important Papers" including certified copies of our birth certificates (among other items), but there are some key documents I need to get. I think this blog will be a step in the right direction; a place to record memories and stories from my life as well as those of my ancestors.

[52 Weeks to Better Genealogy was developed by my friend Amy of We Tree and is hosted by]

© Amanda Pape - 2010

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