Over the weekend I had Facetime with blogger buddy Ron T. We discussed genealogy and his project to put as much of his family history on-line, for posterity sake. Our conversation got me thinking about the internet as a means for preservation of family memories.
I am fortunate I come from a well researched family viz. it is traced back many generations. There are amateur genealogists on both sides of the family tree. When you are born a Spo, you almost get a owner’s manual of the family history, complete with pictures and tree lines. There is no need to research anyone; we got it all. Happily, there is someone in every generation who gets the genealogy bug, so the ‘torch’ is passed on. My grandfather’s sister was delighted I was interested in such matters (she tried to get my uncle into this, but he showed no interest). I don’t know yet who will be interested in the next Spo-generation.
But what if there isn’t a next generation of interest? Right now the nieces and nephews are young, and naturally have no interest in things past or their roots. Like Ron, I sense a dead end. He puts his research on line for none of his relations old or young show interest. He hopes there will be later generations who will be interested. I know from experience this is probably so. Only a few months ago a great niece contacted my father, out of the blue, hoping to learn more about her grandparents and great grandparents. He was happy to oblige her.
It is my experience it is the gay men and the elderly aunts who are the most interested in preserving family legacies. I think some of this is because we often don’t have direct descendants. We want to be remembered. So much dies with us, and what is left is often a hodgepodge of things without sense. It is like looking through a keyhole in a room; some things are directly in focus, some things are just noticeable; and there is much we can not see.
In the book “I, Claudius”, The aged emperor tells he is writing his memoirs for posterity and ‘not for these fools in Rome’ (meaning the present folks). He will put the memoir in a box and leave it for Fate to deliver it to those later generations. I too blog somewhat to leave behind a memoir so I am not just another Spo in the long list of branches that did not produce fruit. Like a lot of memoirs, it will have a lot of me, but not all of me. And like Claudius, I wonder who will find this, years from now.
It gives comfort to know a part of us may live on in this way.