Saturday, October 24, 2009

Last week in October...


Today starts the last week of October and Family History month. I haven't heard much "official" news about family history celebrations from the media. Yet, October is certainly one of the best months to begin to explore your history...the weather's cooler, indoor activities replace outdoor ventures for much of the country, and with school in session, it triggers the "time to learn" gene in many of us.


While I have not seen the mainstream media blitz about Family History month, I've read and experienced many interesting tidbits about personal history. Here are a few of the highlights:


*First, one of my good "Facebook" friends recently published photographs online of some of the German Russian settlements in Argentina. A number of these were pictures of the villages I visited last November. Could it already be the one year anniversary of my trip to Argentina? Impossible.


*Second, the new Family Tree Magazine arrived on my doorstep. One of the featured articles is Deutsch Lands...Trace your ancestry in Prussia, Bavaria and more with our guide to research in Germany's historical regions. I'm hooked with the first paragraph which reads, "In this era of globalization, it's easy to think of ourselves as citizens of the world. If you turn the clock back a century, though, you'll see people took a much more regional view. Italians considered themselves Sicilians, Sardinians, Tuscans or Venetians..And now the people we call Germans referred to themselves as anything but. In those days you had Prussian and Bavarians, Palatines and Hessians, Saxons and Swabians--who all spoke various dialects of German and were united only in their dislike for each other." I just know I will spend a good hour savoring that article.


*Third, my daughter joined me at the Arizona Sun Chapter meeting today where Filmore Bender, Professor Emeritus of the University of Maryland, spoke on "The Reasons we should be thankful our ancestors came to America." He summarized two hundred years of Russian history, famine and revolution in one of the most concise and accurate versions I have heard. He also gave insight into the government and black markets in Russia as he experienced it in the 1990s.


When I asked my daughter her thoughts about his talk, she said, "It was great. He was clear and interesting...easy to listen to."


This comment from my seventeen year old clearly is the highlight of October.


Maybe media frenzy about the month is not essential to celebrate. Her comment tells me family history has gone well beyond the month. It has become a way of life. If you live it, the next generation will come.

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