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September 13, 2021

The Things Family Don’t Know Astound Me!

Before the Pandemic hit 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 actual 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. 

For me, this is old news and something I know as if it happened to me. I assumed 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. 

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. 

What’s important to you as the keeper of the family genealogy?


Joseph Ditta said...

Wow, this really hit home. At the lunch following my uncle's recent funeral, someone asked me the source of my grandfather's unusual nickname: he was called "Soap" because he mother constantly sent him to buy laundry soap to wash the clothes of her many children. I got choked up while explaining this because it dawned on me that I'm the only one who knows that story. And many other stories.

LS said...

I keep a little blog too with stories about our parents, grandparents, and others in our family, and sometimes my genealogy finds. It is greatly appreciated by all my family, but especially by my nieces and nephews. They never knew Grandma (she died while we kids were kids)and they only knew Grandpa as a very old man. It is fun to hear their surprise when they read about Grandpa playing baseball, or living on a South Pacific island as a USNCB, that sort of thing. They only knew Grandpa as an old, old man. I feel too, as you say, we honor our loved ones when we write of them, and we keep them with us in this way.

Tess said...

I'm sure there are some stories I know that my sister doesn't, and, quite possibly, vice versa. I try to pass on stories, but worry about boring people with them. That's why I hope my blog will stay around for a while, plus, at some point, I'll produce some booklets of my blog posts based on families on themes. That way, at least, they'll be preserved and hopefully find their way into the hands of a family genealogist down the line. I have no children, so have to count on my nephews and niece providing that future family historian.

Anonymous said...

Part of it is gender-related, I think. I recently heard a charming story about how my great-grandparents came to marry. It had been passed down through their daughter to her daughter, etc. But I am descended from a son. Another example: my father shared war stories with my brothers that he never mentioned to me.