History in the making

day_22What are YOUR hobbies?
Love to crochet? Can’t stop collecting rocks?
Take photographs of everything? Share your favorite past times.

Family history matters

Next to writing, my favorite obsession is a blend of photography, scrap booking, archiving, ID-100107216and genealogy. As the self-appointed family historian, I have assumed responsibility for documenting our present and discovering our past. It’s not enough to take pictures of all the major events that happen to my own family. My descendants deserve to know the unbroken line that led to them.

I am not alone

Castle MacLellan in Kirkcudbright, Scotland
Castle MacLellan in Kirkcudbright, Scotland

Part of the work has already been done by other family historians. Their passion for certain branches of the family allow me to focus on other branches that have greater meaning to me. We each share our findings and merge them into one large family tree. So far, there are historians covering both grandparents of my maternal genealogy, one covering my paternal grandfather, while I am researching my paternal grandmother’s genealogy.  One of my husband’s cousins has documented his maternal genealogy, but no one has taken on the paternal side yet. Also, I have yet to discover who are the historians for my granddaughter’s paternal genealogy.

National heritage

scotland_flagNational heritage matters to me, too. That’s become somewhat of a challenge since the birth of our granddaughter. Combing through the historical records of England, Scotland, and Ireland has been murky enough. Now I get to dig through Mexican history, too. Yes, it’s challenging. But it’s important work. Future generations deserve to know from where they came.

Part of my self-appointed responsibility is to see to it that our national heritages are not lost as each passingmexican_flag generation becomes more and more Americanized. That’s why our granddaughter hears both English and Spanish from me. She’s also exposed to Scottish and Mexican music. Her bisabuela may not like Mariachi music, but this gringa does. When she gets older, I will take her to Scottish festivals and introduce her to all her MacLellan cousins. She will learn to celebrate Tartan Day and Cinco de Mayo, along with all the American holidays. She’ll also get a lesson in the historical roots of Halloween (both All Hallows Eve and Dia de los Muertos), Christmas (Saturnalia), Easter (Spring equinox), and many more.

Oral tradition

playing with grandmotherAnother aspect of my passion is a long history of oral tradition. In my family, stories were passed down by grandmothers. Now that I am the granny, it’s my turn to share the stories. I do have some catching up to do on my granddaughter’s paternal side. The last keeper of oral tradition is much older. It is important to capture those stories while there is still time. Part of the fun is discovering how the stories have changed with each generation and which ones are complete works of fiction.

DNA, Genetics, etc.

dnaIn the future, knowing one’s genetic history will become very important as medicine develops more gene therapies. It’s not enough to rely solely on oral tradition and genealogical records. The definitive answers will be found in DNA testing. My next step is to get a DNA test done to firmly establish my ancestral heritage.

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