Wednesday, March 11, 2020


I mean, they say you die twice.
One time when you stop breathing and a second time,
 a bit later on,
when somebody says your name for the last time

― Banksy

The older I grow, the more important it seems to me to know about my heritage, the generations that came and went before me. While it is important to me to know, it is more important that I leave a record of our past for the future generations. Maybe it is a way of not letting go of those loved ones I’ve already lost. Maybe passing on the stories of our heritage will keep my memory alive after I am gone.

I recently had a DNA test done and have actually been able to connect with a few more distant cousins (we really don’t use numbers, a cousin is a cousin). I’ve enjoyed hearing stories of the different branches of the family. Actually a little more than ten years ago a cousin came to my sister and me and said he was trying to put together a detailed family tree ~ he actually managed to track down a huge number of relatives even without these DNA kits so many are using today.

I’ve also been using a site that features old and varied newspapers and, wow, my own Mom had quite a social life in her hometown; I wish she was still around to talk with me about it. Using the internet and the many search sites (yes, some ARE free) has helped me find connections and learn stories of my family’s past. I learned that a number of my “great-aunts and great-uncles” never escaped the horrors of concentration camps and I am so sorry that many of their lives were cut so short that they didn’t get much chance to leave a legacy. I found out about a paternal great-aunt I never knew existed and am still trying to learn more about her.

In my quest to learn more about relatives and discussions with new-found cousins, I’ve come to believe very strongly in the “six degrees of separation” and have listened to stories about folks who were close friends of distant cousins, or even had connections to folks I already knew. I’ve learned about business ventures and accomplishments with my own family, and most importantly I’ve been able to share in the joys, and sometimes sorrows, that life brings. It is absolutely fantastic to share as family.

For now I have many of my notes and records in a computer file but I have hopes of actually printing a master book of all my ancestral and current family tree. The hardest part will be keeping the different branches separate, but separate only on paper. And I will include information about myself and my husband as well as our offspring and their spouses. And maybe one day a young child will be able to ask about me and I will kind of live on through these recorded stories.


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