Rather than unpacking all our stuff as it came out of the boxes, I decided to reorganise all my genealogy research into folders in alphabetical order by surname. This is the beginning of a grand project. It was inspired by a talk I went to at the local genealogical society. The lady who gave the talk began at the very beginning of the family history journey and she shared how she organises her stuff … in lever arch folders. So off I went to Officeworks!
Part of the process involved putting every piece of evidence in plastic sleeves and then placing them in the folder. While this may sound tedious to some, for me, it is a joy that I repeat over and over. It drives my hubby crazy. It may seem pointless but it often gives me an opportunity to revisit the documents and notes and view them with fresh eyes.
Amongst all the family history stuff is the odd letter or note written by one of the ladies who started this project before me. My great great Auntie Ethel, who I never met, has written out a lengthy description of her english aunts and the intricacies of the relationships that formed their lives. She also speaks of their niece who moved to America who Ethel met at one point. The niece’s daughter shared family research with my great aunt, Joan in England and then later with me.
Then there are the notes my grandmother has passed down. Early computer printouts of the family relationships with her hand written notes and questions in the margins. My Nan and I have talked our way through much of our shared history but reading through her research adds that little something extra. Included in these notes are verbal stories and hints that have been passed to her verbally that she couldn’t quite make sense of. When I read back over them they sometimes offer me directional hints which aid my own research.
I feel connected to these ladies and know that there is another little person, who may yet to be born, who will follow me. My job is to hand on the information that was passed to me (along with what I have added) to the next person. To leave my thoughts and impressions as this will add a richness to the tapestry that we have all been weaving.