Photo by Phil Warren.
What is it that motivates us to want to look back through carnival-like multi-directional mirrors to explore times past?
I look at the photo of my mother on the wall, and wonder what was hidden behind those storied eyes, laugh lines, and tenured silver gray locks. I yearn to hear mom's stories and dad's jokes, one more time, but now, the responsibility has been silently delegated to a new generation to tell the tales of the past.
The Healing Power of Stories: Creating Yourself through the Stories of your Life by Daniel Taylor, Ph.D. became my go-to bible as I delved deeper into the personal history industry. The jacket description contends, as therapists have known all along, that “stories have the power to make people whole again. The key to telling life stories is choosing which fairytales, myths and popular stores we embrace, picking which characters become our heroes and reshaping our world according to the ideals of our favorite stories.”
The academic in me however wanted to know why stories carry so much significance in our lives. Once again, Taylor offers valuable insight.
Let’s add a little music to our mix. Born in 1950 you would think I was a Rolling Stones fan. Not me. I grew up in the world of Broadway musicals. But today's technology gives us a chance to relive a familiar past or one we never experienced and revisit the Stones hit Ruby Tuesday - third verse, "there’s no time to lose." Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YJXfcndyvU
Let’s Get Started ... Before It’s Too Late!
Mary Patricia Voell
We’ve all witnessed the genealogy industry explode. At any moment, day or night, at the touch of a key, millions search and locate characters in their family lineage. With the ever increasing speed and data available, the ancestral jungle expands in multiple directions reaching deep the roots of the past and planting new generations.
Watching this growth, many ask me how I got into the “storytelling” personal history business. My response - - it’s a family affair.
My mother told the history of the stained glass windows in our parish church. My eldest sister is our family ‘go-to’ historian. One brother loved to visit cemeteries, another was the videographer at family gatherings, and yet another recorded the departure of my siblings from our family home by traveling through rooms asking each to imagine living there. Brother number three asks great questions, number five continues to be the campfire storyteller, and my youngest brother has the ultimate listening job, as a neighborhood bar owner. It doesn’t end there. A nephew imagined family websites long before they were free and popular, and a sister-in-law was a family-life editor for their local newspaper. We all continue to enjoy family reunions filled with updated stories and of course, plenty of young’ns enjoying the tall tales, and adding to our family storybook. So I come from a long line of family history bugs.
All families aren’t as fortunate to have the memory capturing gene, yet want and need help in organizing and chronicling their family history. Ever since I decided to delve into the world of personal histories, I realized that I didn’t want to spend time searching for long-gone ancestors, but to focus on writing the stories of those on my horizon, those whose stories were being lost with each passing moment. And most of all help others to secure the stories that are still within their reach.
Along the way I’ve found numerous traveling companions, those who have written helpful and insightful books including:
And if you’d like to add a little humor to your search, or just for fun, check out I’m My Own Grandpa sung by Ray Stevens. I love this one because he creatively tracks it on a family tree. Good luck! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlJH81dSiw
Let’s Get Started ... before it’s too late! Let us know how we can help.
Mary Patricia Voell