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Illuminating the Darkness

Seasonal thoughts for honoring our loved ones.


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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Melissa Slate
Word Count: 473 (approx.)
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The sign stapled to the community bulletin board caught my eye as I walked past. There was to be a 1st annual candle lighting ceremony at one of the local cemeteries. Some of my husband's grandparents are buried there and the flyer was inviting everyone to come and participate. The families of some young people recently killed in a tragic car accident were organizing the candle lighting as a way to memorialize their loved ones. This of course began the wheels turning in my mind.

I am often troubled in my genealogical searches by the vast amount of information about past generations that is lost to us forever. Sometimes I literally almost grieve and mourn for it. Reading this flyer I had a sudden thought. What better way is there to remember a loved one that has passed on than to record information about them for future generations to see? Record your observations about these loved ones in family histories and your research notes, or write a short story or booklet about this person's life. Many archives, local libraries, and genealogical societies will gladly accept donations of such information if you compile it into a useful format. Imagine the delight of a family member years from now to find information detailing what a family members personality was like, anecdotes, and information about life events. This is a wonderful way to ensure that the memory and legacy of our loved ones will live on through time.

And what about the ancestors that have already gone on? The same principle applies. When we research, record, and study our ancestors lives we memorialize them. Some do not write their family histories because they feel that they cannot write, but I argue that the issue is not the eloquence of the pen, but the need to preserve information before anymore is lost. What greater honor can we give our forbearers? I had never really thought about genealogy in this light before, but in a sense that is what it is, a memorialization.

Perhaps you could make a time capsule of your loved one who has recently passed on. Include photographs of the person. Photograph objects the person used, collections they kept, cars they had, pictures of them doing favorite activities. Create a sense of who this person was. Maybe you would like to make a video of the person's life using pictures and narrate it. They method isn't as important as the fact that you are recording information for the future. Just imagine how much more fascinating our family searches would be if we could find a videotape of great, great, great grandpa and grandmas' wedding?

As the Christmas Season rapidly approaches many of our hearts turn to our loved ones, make a commitment to honor and memorialize your family. It truly is the greatest gift for the greatest good.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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