Getting to know my family …
I usually make a family calendar as a Christmas gift. To make it more interesting I’ve done different themes. One year I made an alphabet calendar and family members whose names started with those letters appeared on that page. One year I featured each family on a page and then the kids in that family on another page. One year I put pictures of family members on the page for the month that they were born in. The biggest problem I have every year is getting pictures of my brothers and sisters and their kids. Probably everyone has the same issue we have – we just don’t take very many pictures!! Anyway, I wasn’t going to do a calendar this year because I couldn’t face trying to get pictures of everyone. And then I had a brainstorm. What about a calendar featuring ancestors? I was pretty sure I could track down at least one picture for each of the people in the four generations starting with my grandparents. I ran the idea by my parents and my dad turned over his extensive collection of scanned family history pictures (metaphorically speaking – we just uploaded his files to my google drive! The wonders of modern technology!!). Then I thought it would be nice to put a few interesting facts about each person so we would know a little bit about the face. My dad has been collecting and transcribing family histories and journals for quite a long time now, and with that handy book of stories I was set.
Here are a couple of pages from the calendar:
I had such a good time looking through pictures! The 4th generation didn’t offer a lot of options for pictures but for my grandparents and great grandparents I had a hard time choosing just a couple. There were so many cute pictures!! But the best part of this project was reading the family stories about each person looking for interesting facts to include in the calendar. I really began to feel like I had an idea what my ancestors were like. I recognized family traditions in the things that different family members were known for (I love the story of grandpa Fredrick taking sick kids to church because it wouldn’t hurt them and it would be good for them – this is why we never skipped church unless we were throwing up!!). I imagined myself in the place of others and was amazed at the things they did and lived through (I can’t even imagine loading all my kids up in a wagon and driving for days to meet my husband who had been gone on a mission and then arriving to find he had died and then taking his body home with me in the wagon).
This has been probably my favorite family calendar yet – and I feel like I know the people I come from a little better. They aren’t just names on a generations chart but rather people who lived interesting lives and passed on character lessons and make up who I am. I feel very lucky that I have a father who gathered all these histories together into an easily accessed book and I’m even more grateful for ancestors who wrote down what they remember of their lives and the lives of their parents so that today I can read about them and feel like I know them a little better. It will be an excellent reunion in heaven and I’m hoping I’ll actually recognize some of these people I call family!