This is not a product promo offering to help you find 52 of your ancestors over the course if the coming year. This has nothing to do with finding missing ancestors. Actually, it’s a fascinating challenge that I recently read about on a blog site called No Story Too Small and I wanted to share it with you.
When I first come onto this website, I thought the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks was a small part of a much larger history/genealogy website. But after a quick review of the site, I discovered that the entire site is dedicated to the idea of discovering and preserving the stories of one’s life as well as the lives of their ancestors.
The site is the brainchild of Amy Johnson Crow, a Certified Genealogist with a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. This is a woman who practices what she preaches. Her blog site documents her efforts to record her own personal stories as well as the stories of her ancestors. On her website Ms. Crow also shares stories that others have submitted to her site.
Over the decades of doing my own family research, I’ve interviewed literally hundreds of relatives and people who knew my family. Most of them are no longer living. For many of these relatives, one of the few things that still exist of them are the stories they told me. After gleaning the family history information from them, I have filed away the cassette tapes and pages of notes from our conversations and not given them much thought. I’ve shared a few of their stories with my children and with my siblings but I haven’t really done much more than that.
Thinking back to some of these stories, I remember that many of them were very powerful and inspiring to me. Some of them provided the much needed answers to why my ancestors did some of the odd and irrational things they did. Once the explanation was given, the rest of the picture began to take on a new focus. I finally understood the finer details of family tragedies, the wonderful accomplishments and the reasons for some of the important decisions these people made. These stories had power! They had purpose and real value.
With this in mind, I would like to issue a challenge to each of you who read this blog post. I promise that I will take this challenge and follow through with it as well. I’d like to challenge you to gather and write 52 stories about events in your ancestors’ lives. Do this over the course of the next 52 weeks. That’s one story a week for 1 y ear. It doesn’t matter how long or short these stories are. I’ve seen some stories that were only 4 sentences long. I’ve seen some that were more than 20 pages. The key here is to start talking to family members and write those stories down. And keep in mind that you will be someone’s ancestor so include stories about your own life if you’d like.
Begin by talking to family members. Talk to brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and anyone else you can think of. Again, feel free to include yourself as well. I’m sure you have some great stories that your children and grandchildren will love to hear. Write them down and, if you can, get pictures to supplement these stories.
Once you have them written, go to FamilySearch.org and visit the photos and stories page where you can post these stories. Once you’ve post them onto FamilySearch.org, you can share them with family members anywhere in the world. And you can take great comfort in knowing that these stories will be preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
That’s 52 stories in 52 weeks. I have accepted the challenge and I’m well on my way. I consider this a gift to my children and future posterity. How about you! Are you up to the challenge?