Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Family Stories

Using the holiday week (and vacation) to catch up on my reading, I was browsing through the hundreds of genealogy blogs I like to follow. I came across a post comparing family stories to gossip and not only that but pointing out that, “gossip is one of the worst traits of humanity.” Wow – so that is pretty much my whole blog. Fortunately, I don’t find the need to believe something just because I’ve read it.

For me family stories are a treasure. They are what put the flesh on the bones of dates and events. I hope that someday I can be that person that Randy Seaver wrote about in a recent blog post.  Being the “spinster aunt” I have a good start – now I would like to work a little bit more on the “wealthy” part!

So, why do I think family stories are important? Well, someday it’s possible that one of my nieces’ or nephew’s children might also be interested in genealogy. They will be able (hopefully!) to find when my mother, their great-grandmother was born, and married and (by then) died. I want them also to know what she was like. After all, she was their mother’s or father’s grandmother – and someone that had a big influence on that parent’s life. She was the “Nannie” that made them quilts and took them hiking out in Colorado almost every summer of their childhood. Maybe they are now vacationing in Colorado as well – a tradition passed down from the time of my own grandfather. There are so many stories I can leave for them so that they will have a better picture of my mother.

A story that I still treasure was told to my by my grandfather – Jack H Quick. He told about being somewhere with his mother and his mother's grandmother, Louisa Eickelberg. He called her "little grandma" and she would have been in her eighties at this time. As they had a number of things to do, and grandma wasn't as spry as she once was, they sat her down in the park and went about their other errands. When they came back grandma was not there. They finally found her in an area where someone was giving airplane rides! As they took grandma out of line (!!) she told them that she had ridden in a ship, a covered wagon, a train, a car and now she wanted to try out this airplane.

Is this literally true? I have no idea because clearly the conversation was not recorded.  She lived to be 92, dying in 1928 when my grandfather would have been 17 so he certainly knew her well enough to have formed an opinion.  Of course he only knew her at the end of her life, but I still treasure this small glimpse of someone I could never know other than through just a few cold facts.

So, that’s my opinion and I’ll keep collecting and recording the stories with the hopes that someday someone in the family might be as interested in them as I have always been.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Diana. I treasure any story I can get about any of my ancestors. It brings them back to life, in a way. There's nothing all that interesting about a name and a set of dates, but filled in with stories, we can get to know these elusive ancestors just a little bit better.

  2. Yeah, I read that blog, too. And family stories are what I really love, and what I'm really after when I do research, too - facts and figures are nice, and they form the framework, but there is always more of a story in there. I know we don't always get "the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," but we can try.

  3. Thanks ladies! Karen - I like the idea of bringing them back to a way I do feel like I "know" certain ancestors better. Greta - I so agree - the "facts" are the framework for the stories!! Besides, sometimes those stories also give us a glimpse into the person telling them as well as the person the story is supposed to be about.


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