Sunday, August 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Family Memories

The prompt for Week 32 of 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, from Amy Coffin at We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is: Family Memories

Records are the backbone of genealogy, but memories are the glue that hold our history together. For which memory of a loved one are you most thankful? Describe that moment in time, answering the who/what/when/where in the details. How did this memory impact your life and the way you approach family

Joyce and Dorene Orshoski in September of 1961

As so often happens with my approach to 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, I do not have just one moment in time for which I am most thankful. What I am very thankful for is the time I spent with my mother listening to family stories, from when I was a very little girl, and on throughout my whole adult life. It started out that I would say to Mom, "Tell me about the olden days." I loved to hear how they didn't see the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve, and the cousins would go to their grandparents' farmhouse, while each respective family got the holiday tree and gifts all in order. She told me about being at the farm at threshing time, and all the wonderful food, especially the homemade pies. As time went on, Mom would tell me more serious details of her life, how she lost her mother when she was only 11 years old, and how her father drank too much. Sometimes she would tell me about the Irish get togethers on the Larkins side, and how they really celebrated at the family gatherings after the funeral of of a loved one.

Sometimes I got to go to the cemetery with Mom in May, to put flowers on her parents' and grandparents' graves. There was the Perkins Cemetery for the Parker side, Oakland Cemetery for her mother's grave, and on to St. Joseph's Cemetery for all the Larkins relatives.

Once I started getting serious about genealogy, Mom and I would travel to various libraries to learn more about the family tree. One night we went to the Milan Library, and a researcher there shared the portion of HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE that dealt with our Steen ancestors. Just a couple years before Mom died, a group of four of us Parker/Lindsley descendants visited the Hayes Presidential Center, and researched the history of the land in Perkins Township that was taken over by the U.S. Government during World War Two for a munitions factory. Pictured below are: Joyce Orshoski, myself, cousin Linda Hills, and Gloria Lindsley, with whom we share several mutual relatives.

How I treasure those talks with Mom. She always could help me understand what life was like for her in the 30s and 40s, and how her family dealt with the Depression, World War Two, and losing loved ones too soon, all too often. Mom inspired me to try to uncover family history stories, and to cherish the memories of our family. I only wish I had asked her more questions while she was still with us! She taught me so very much! Thanks Mom!


Kellie said...

I'm thankful for a sister like you that documents all this history. Love the picture of you and mom. You realize it was 5 years before I was born, right? ;) Love you!

Dorene from Ohio said...

Every time Mom told me she was expecting another baby, I would get SO excited!!