Thursday, December 08, 2011

Everybody Has a Story!


When winter comes people tend to spend more time indoors. Even for those of us who enjoy the snow and the outdoors in winter, there are still times when the weather or darkness forces us inside and that is a great time to work on the family genealogy. Every time one of our old folks die they take with them a multitude of family stories that will be lost forever. The only way to prevent this is to get those stories recorded. The best way is to write or record them yourself as a genealogical gift, both to your forebears and to your descendants.

If you're a senior citizen don't wait until someone asks, take the time to write your memories and save them for your descendants. Don't worry about how well you do it. Just get the information recorded before it is lost. Some of my most important family information was written in the trembling hand of an aged ancestor and those documents are now treasures.

I remember with great fondness both sets of my grandparents. They lived in the same town, went to the same church, and called each other “Brother and Sister Blumenberg” or “Brother and Sister Arington”. They first became acquainted when both their families attended Pulltight Church of God in Southeast Missouri. During the 1937 flood on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers which destroyed so much farmland and disrupted so many people’s lives, my Blumenberg grandparents lived on the dry side of the levee, but my Arington grandparents lived on the flooded side. When the Missouri State Police warned residents they had to get out, Grandpa Arington took his family, as many possessions as he could carry with available wagons and teams, along with cows hogs, chickens and kids, and furniture including stoves, then headed for the dry side of the levee. Grandpa Blumenberg invited grandpa Arington to put his livestock in his barns and pastures until he could get settled. Grandma Arington and the girls spent the night at the Blumenbergs, while Grandpa Arington and the boys went to a house they had rented, to put up stoves and get it ready to live in.

Two of Grandpa Blumenbergs sons, our Dad Roy, and our Uncle Elmer, married two of Grandpa Arington’s daughters, our mother Mollie and our Aunt Dalvia. What an amazing amount of happiness those two marriages conceived, along with nine kids and a multitude of grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

This is one of my favorite grandparent stories and it is the sort of story that makes family history fun to read. Your family has similar stories if you will seek them out and write them down. If you don’t, those stories will soon be lost forever, so get it done before it is too late!

My friend Bob Confer, one of the pastors at First Church of God in St Joseph, Michigan, has written a workbook to help with this important and joy-filled process. If you would like to know more about the Living Legacy Journal, by Bob Confer, email Pastor Bob at the church (bob.c@myfirstchurch.com) to order a copy for yourself. You can use it to teach a Sunday School class, share with a small group, or just use it for your own family to get your history recorded before you grow old and lose it. I know you think you’ll never grow old, but if you’re lucky, you will. Someday you’ll be the older generation and the stories of your parents and grandparents will only be recorded in your mind. Don’t let those stories die when they would mean so much to your descendants.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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