Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday's Why

When I began writing my family history, I hadn't thought exactly why I wanted to do it, other than my father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I suddenly needed to know more about him. 

I'd grown up with him and knew him as my father.  I wanted to know more about where he came from, more about his roots.  Thus, I began researching online ancestry sites and creating a family tree.

Over the last 10 years, my initial reason for writing my father's family history changed. 

 I changed.  

What I always thought about myself began to change.  How I felt about my life as a kid growing up in the house where we lived, the neighborhood, my family...everything took on new life.  

Some forgotten good things came back to memory.  I made peace with the bad ones.  

My "why" I do this changed.

Writing family history teaches you about yourself as well as your ancestors.  Writing family history passes on stories and events that your family members need to read and pass on to their children and grandchildren.  When you write family history, you are giving the best gift possible to the people you care about and the ones who will come after them when you're gone.

By publishing your family history on the web, in other words "blog," you may even help others you don't know.  

This morning I read a blog that helped put my Why into even more focus.  It answers the questions by others of ...

"Why do you blog all that stuff?"   

"Blog" being the key word here. 

Aren't blogs supposed to be merely what we're doing in our day-to-day lives, or here's how I made a fortune blogging.  

The author here refers to the early "Facebook syndrome."  Here's what I had for breakfast, now I'm going here and there, then I'll have a meeting somewhere...

We family history writers should say instead.
“I write and publish my family history on the web”
“I write my family stories and share them on the internet” 
“I write my family history and share it world-wide”
By reframing it and calling it by the content of what we’re actually doing, it gives the activity a clear weight. We are writing and publishing our own and our family’s stories as an alternative, or a prelude, to writing a formal manuscript. Along the way we gain other benefits, and I shared my experiences a while ago in this post. ~    courtesy of

So we have the Why of writing family history in the first place, and now the Why we put it in a blog.

One of the best questions to ask when you begin writing family history is Why?  Having the why keeps you going.

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