Barry's Relatively Speaking: Write Everything Down

Posted on Aug 18, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on A. Bentley shares the following experience.

Yours is the only magazine of genealogy I care to subscribe to, because it seems to be nationwide in scope. More importantly, I enjoy it thoroughly.

I had to share my recent experience with you and with others who may still scoff at the admonitions to "Write everything down" and "Don't trust your memory."

When my aunt passed away recently her sister sent me various notes on ancestors that I had been promised for years. Lo and behold, among these were birthdates and birthplaces of my father's grandparents that I had been futilely seeking for ten years. But the information was on an old scrap of paper postmarked 1946, scribbled in pencil, in handwriting quite unlike that of any known relative.

I was puzzling over this, muttering half aloud, when my eleven-year-old daughter happened to pass by. "Oh, Mom," she said, "that's your writing."

What! I looked again, disbelieving, and suddenly a whole scene slid into my memory like a color photo slide. Having just read a history of English kings I, romantic teen that I was, felt that our family also deserved a written history. There I was, at Grandmother's big dining table, and I wrote down what she told me on the very paper I was now holding in my hand!When and how it found a place among my aunt's papers I don't know.

But the morals are: It is a wise daughter who knows her mother's handwriting; it is a strange lady who totally forgot she once knew everything; and, is it not nice that I wrote it all down!

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