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Are You My Cousin?: A Forgotten Source?

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Forgotten Source?

I had the experience of talking with a woman at a local nursing home recently.  She was hard of hearing and difficult to understand at times.  What she said did not always make sense in the conversation. 


She started talking about her grandmother.

Her face lit up.  Her eyes became brighter.  And the stories began to flow.

She told me:
·         What her grandmother was best known for cooking. 
·         How many children she had. (A lot!)
·         Twins ran in the family (and who had the twins).
·         Where her great grandmother was from.

 While oral history is often subject to the errors of one’s memories, truth and/or clues to the truth are often embedded within these histories. 

 What this gentle woman taught me was despite her cognitive deficits associated with her old age, she was still a valuable resource to the family historian or genealogist.  Do we sometimes overlook the opportunity to interview a relative simply because her memory is slipping?

 If we do, I think we may be missing out on a lot.



Blogger Debi Austen said...

I've had the same experience. My mother-in-law has been losing her memory but she remembers so much from her days as a child. She can't remember when she last took her medication but she can tell you very specific details about an event that happened 80 years ago.

October 14, 2011 at 11:28 AM  

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