Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Moment You Knew

Lynn Palermo, The Armchair Genealogist, posted a thought-provoking question this week. She asks "What Is Your Story - What Is The Moment You Knew?"

Lynn relates the moment she realized the need to "make time for the more important things in life". Lynn goes on to explain how this reorganization led to her becoming the family historian. At the conclusion she asks "what is your story?"

Interestingly, several months ago on GeneaBloggers I had the privileged of being interviewed for "May I Introduce To You..." by Gini Webb. The first question Gini asked was where your interest in genealogy began.

I have been doing our family history for a little over four years now. It began almost overnight when my entire life changed. The children left the nest and my husband started a job that required him being out-of-town Monday thru Friday. I knew right away I had to find something to occupy my time or go slowly crazy.

My brother, Ken, had been the “family historian” for several years. He was becoming very busy with his children and wasn’t able to spend as much time researching. Having tons of time and looking for a new challenge, I became involved in the family’s history and genealogy.

I soon became so addicted that losing track of time became commonplace. One night while researching one of my husband’s grandfather’s, I came across a story where he was hit by a car and later passed away. Picking up the phone I called my husband (he was in Virginia) to relate this tragic story. He listened for a bit and then said, "Deb, when did he die?" Um, 1928, I replied, to which he said, "Go to bed" And so it goes . .

Not long after this, my father was diagnosed with his second round of cancer. We knew pretty quickly this would be his last battle.

That is when I realized how important it was to document family history. Spending time with my dad in those last days and gathering his memories was a bittersweet experience.

The last question for the article was "what piece of advice I would leave in a time capsule for future generations". All I could think of was how important it is to listen to family stories. Our lives are so busy we don’t take the time to slow down and listen to each other, how sad that much of our oral history has been lost.

Each family needs that special person to step up and become the keeper of their heritage. These precious memories are just as important as the family china everyone covets. They are what gives us our identity and binds us together.

Thanks to Lynn for sharing her story and asking us the moment we knew. What is your story?


  1. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thank you Deb, for sharing your story.

  3. Deb, thanks for posting your personal story.

  4. Wow, we all have the stories. But few of us are brave enough to share, "when we knew." And,it's too bad it takes sickness, and life changing events to realize what is important. But it happens to the best of us!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Thanks for the reminder. I remember the time I spent with my dad before he died, aware that there were questions I should have been asking, but not sure how much "boat rocking" would ensue. I'm glad I asked what I did -- and glad I'm able to share it with family now.

  6. Thanks for the wonderful comments! It is so true that a major event usually has to take place before we realize the importance of family history. Wish that lesson had been discovered much earlier in my life. So many of the family stories are lost forever.