The good, the bad, and the beautiful of thinking forward.
There are many people in my family tree whose entire lives are reduced to a few precious documents. Those papers are all I have as evidence that they lived a life. I study their names, their places of birth, and reasons for their death. To quote the movie Hope Floats, “Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts.” What I wouldn’t give to know their middles! Still, I am able to feel a connection to them and hold deep gratitude for my own life.
With the limited knowledge before me, I ponder what these ancestors of mine were like when they were really alive. I want to know the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Have you ever felt this way?
This spurred a deeper question: Will future generations get a sense of my heart by the trail I am leaving behind? Often in genealogy, we are told to start with ourselves and work our way back one by one until we form a tree of ancestors who came before.
Today I implore you to start with you and then think forward.
When I die I am going to leave behind a digital trail for my future family to comb through. What does your online presence say about you? Your personal pages are filled with places you visit, reactions to political agendas, family photos and everything in between.
What will your digital footprint do to your legacy?
This may be a time you can reflect on your online platforms and think of the messages you’re sending to the future generations to come. If you took a peek at your latest post, would you be ok if that was the last thing the world sees to represent you as a person?
Your personal social media accounts are about your life. It is not going to look like my life or your friend’s life. As a society we need to think of our social accounts as online scrapbooks for everyone to have access to in the years ahead. This idea motivates me to consider being more personable and including more of the real good, bad and beautiful in my life that I wouldn’t mind a grandchild reading 40 or 200 years from now.
You are a genealogist without even realizing it.
My parents and grandparents generation didn’t have social media accounts growing up and now have services available to them like https://welcome.storyworth.com/ where you are prompted by email each week to answer their personal life questions that get compiled throughout the year and end up having a written legacy of their very own. I imagine that will morph into a compilation of our social media accounts when we get older.
I have listed some prompts below for you to consider talking about on your personal platform or blog that may encourage you to bring the good, bad and beautiful about your own personal story to add to your digital legacy.
These are not the only questions you should consider to write and post about and maybe they prompt you to consider talking about other things. If you do decide to answer one please include a picture alongside your memories or thoughts.
I cannot state how badly I wish I had any of these questions answered from the ancestors in my tree.
You can give the gift of first hand memories to your family for all the years to come. What a powerful gift. The good, bad and the beautiful of thinking forward.
Is there someone in your tree or in your life that you wish you had more information on? Yeah, me too. Tell me something amazing you discovered that helped you flush out an ancestor!
Want to make sure your keepsakes stay keepsakes? Check out this post!
1. Where and when were you born?
2. Who were you born too? Parent(s) names and ages. Adopted?
3. What name were you given? Were you named after someone?
4. Where did you live at time of birth? What kind of home? Do you remember your bedroom and decor?
5. Did you have siblings or were the first born?
6. Did you celebrate your birthday each year? What were your birthday parties like? Do you remember a favorite gift?
7. What were your family traditions for holidays? Did your neighborhood have a block party every year?
8. What kind of car did your family drive?
9. Where did your parent(s) work? Have you ever visited them at work?
10. Did you travel each year for vacation? Where did you go?
11. Where did you go to school? What were your favorite subjects? Least favorite? Ever get an award or a memorable punishment?
12. What were dinners like in your house? Have a favorite or least favorite meal?
13. Do you remember a family member's funeral? Do you know where they were buried?
14. Did you see extended family regularly? If so, who and how often?
15. Have you ever had a family reunion? Who hosted? Who attended?
16. What were your grandparents like? Who were they?
17. What was it like at your grandparents house? Any special visits?
18. What were your favorite television shows?
19. Did you ride a bike? Were you allowed to ride anywhere in town?
20. Did you get an allowance? What were your chores like?
21. Did you get the paper at your house?
22. Did you get a job as a teenager?
23. What was your first car? Where did you get your license?
24. Were you part of any clubs?
25. What did you want to be when you grew up?
26. What are you passionate about?
27. What do you love about your children, siblings, parents etc.
28. What scares you the most?
29. Willing to talk about a past trauma and how you are working through or how you have conquered it?
30. What are your top three favorite things to wear?
31. If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing what would it be? Would you even try? Why or why not?
32. What was one thing you did that you are really proud of?
33. What was something someone did in your life that helped you out and changed the trajectory of your life?
34. What do you do for a living? What was your dream job and why?
35. What was one thing you did that you regret? Do you believe in regrets?
For more information on this subject visit http://www.pioneerflunkies.com