August 16, 2010

The Things Family Don't Know

Last week I joined my brother and nephew and families for a dinner out. During the evening I showed them a booklet I was creating for our McGinnis family ancestry.

My nephew expressed surprise that my mother and father (his grandparents) had been married in a double wedding ceremony with my mother's sister. This was news to him!

This may seem like a small thing but I was startled. That double wedding was something I heard about as a young child. I have the wedding invitation. I have newspaper articles about the two sisters in Guelph who were to be married in a double ceremony.

I have articles about their showers, their trousseau teas, their wedding and their honeymoon plans. I have a photo of my mom and dad standing on the steps of the church on their Wedding Day. I have a group photo of the Wedding party.

So for me, this is old news and something I know as if it happened to me. I figured everyone in the family knew. It never occured to me that my nieces or nephews might never have heard of it.

Didn't my brother ever mention it? Did he know? I suddenly feel quite a bit of pressure to spread the word! To share the stories and the facts I've known for so many years.

I think it's time for me to put together a little booklet with all the events in my parents' and grandparents' lives that I've known about for years. Maybe I'm the only one who knows and boy that worries me. I made an error by assuming everyone in the family knew of this special day. What else don't they know (that I do).

I grew up hearing stories. My mother, grandmother and aunt all told me stories of their childhood and their lives. I asked for the stories over and over again. They showed me clippings from newspapers. My mom had a scrapbook (which may actually have been my grandmother's, my memory is fuzzy on that) which she eventually gave me and that is where all the newspaper clippings, the wedding invitation, etc were.

Maybe that's why I am a genealogist. I love hearing the stories, learning about the people living their daily lives. It's not about the names or dates or going back the furthest in time. For me it's all about the people - who were they, what events did they experience, what emotions did they feel, how did they live their lives... these are important to me and finding the answers to those questions make my ancestors alive for me.

So, I'm having my brother and nephew to my house this Thursday. They're getting a copy of the booklet I made (plus more pages including that all important Double Wedding information complete with copies of the newspaper articles, wedding invitation and the rest of the goodies I have on it)

It's one small step but it's a start.

2 comments:

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

Good for you! For me it's about the people as well. And great that you recognized that they didn't know what you knew. Now it can be shared.

Aspiring freelance writer said...

You are so fortunate to still have the scrapbook!! That is a terrific idea you have for making a booklet of your family stories... They will be treasured forever!