For his 85th birthday in late May, my dad was thrilled to see the manuscript of his family history that I had put together from old interviews and some genealogy searching. I was thrilled to see his brother and most of his family at my dad’s big birthday party – cousins I hadn’t seen or had contact with in maybe 20 years! Recognizable, but with unrecognizable kids now all grown up. We had a great time catching up and reminiscing.
I gave my uncle and aunt a hard copy of the manuscript to take home and let me know of any corrections or any additions they’d like. I emailed the manuscript to one of my cousins to look over and add to. I discovered he had stories and photos from a trip to Holland where he found the church our ancestors attended. I also discovered another cousin used to sit with our grandmother when she was sick during her last year, and Grandma told many stories. This cousin was not at the party but will be visiting her parents this month and they will go over the manuscript together.
I am very glad I did not just publish what I had so I would have a nice present for my dad’s birthday or for Father’s Day. Dad did love skimming through the draft and reminiscing, but then my sister took it back to finish editing it, to catch any typos or grammar errors and find any parts that were awkwardly worded or unclear.
When I called my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day, he had the manuscript back and had reviewed it. He was a happy dad, delighted with the manuscript but we need to clarify some parts of my grandmother’s interview transcript. My dad has contact information for one of his cousins he hasn’t see in many years and hopes to meet with her next month and show her the manuscript. Maybe she will have something to add. I will look forward to getting more stories and comments from my cousins and sister. The book will become a bigger story with all of us!
Great reminder Linda. I’ve been digging around in old family bones, and input from a cadre of cousins, including a couple I found online en route, is proving invaluable. My project isn’t intended for publication beyond PDF copies for family and anyone interested, but we all want the fullest story we can get, and that can only emerge when all memory and document fragments are found and assembled. No way could I do this alone!
Yes, this project is family-only, too – but not a reason to do less than a good, thorough job. How wonderful you’ve got willing helpers for your family history project! Just heard from my aunt that they LOVE the draft copy, and my California cousin will be writing a chapter to add, along with her brother’s Holland adventure. I’m excited to read their stories. I’ll be interested to read more about your project, Sharon!
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