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Melody Schubert

Remembering and Recording Our Family and Military Heritage
By Melody Schubert
May 13, 2004 - 8:10:00 AM

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We share a special bond with our families. Together, we gather to celebrate weddings and welcome new life into the world. We share the grief of the departed and the joyous memories they have left behind. Our family can be a reflection of our lives. Whether we chose to share their interest and views or not, we can learn something by simply listening to the tales they have to pass on.

We often capture memories on video tape and film, and display them in frames and albums. How often do we consider the finer details of our lives? Those historic moments like Grandfather's tale of a battle in World War

Unless we write these intimate treasures down they will be lost forever. This is where recording our family legacy can be a beautiful treasure for generations to come, but where do you begin?

Start with yourself. What memories do you recall from your childhood? It seems the older we get the farther we step from those simple days we took for granted. These can become timeless treasures to our children and grandchildren. Did you have a favorite hiding place or toy? Perhaps, your children and grandchildren will learn a special lesson from the experiences you share. There is no need to concentrate hard on what you should write, just sit down and write. Start at a certain point in your life and let the memories follow onto the page.

Record dates and places of events if you can. The lifestyle and clothing of each generation may change, yet the experience of triumphs and tragedies in our lives can be similar. Write down names and birth dates of your family members as they come into your story. You can make your descriptions as short or long as you like, just capture the moment.

Family photo albums hold a wealth of clues to your family's heritage. Find out what family members remember about each photo. Who are the people in it, when, and where was the picture taken, was it a special occasion? If possible, find out who took the picture. Often, the one person you see less photos of in the album is the person behind the lens. Make copies of the photographs to preserve them. In a large family, you can easily create in living timeline of your family's history with these photographs.
John Tomasik Jr. 1934 - 1996

Life's little adventures are pieces of history better captured than forgotten.

You may ask why bother writing about myself? If you are a Veteran, your experience on the battlefield will give you and your son or grandson who has joined the service something in common. What may seem like nothing to you can mean the world to someone else who has gone through a similar experience, especially memories of past and present wars and conflicts.

Senator Lugar of Indiana hopes all Americans will help preserve the memory of their Veterans. The Senator is supporting a project developed by the Library of Congress to preserve the memories of all American Veterans. They can be on video tape or hand written accounts of experiences while in the military. One concern facing Senator Lugar and those who have put the project together is the loss of precious memories as Veterans pass on with age. To find out more on how to contribute your memories or those of a family member visit Senator Lugar's web site at

In every family, there is a historian. This person always remembers the dates of birthdays and anniversaries. They may have the family bible with additional information useful in creating a family tree. While visiting your family this year ask them to share their experiences with you or arrange to make copies or take photos any papers and pictures they may have collected.

There are numerous software programs available to make it easy to create photo collection on CDís you can play in your DVD player. There are also useful programs you can use to preserve your family's history. Many of the genealogy programs come with numerous disks with an abundance of resource information already on them. These can help you expand your family tree or at least find a starting point so you can continue your search further.

Libraries are also a wonderful resource for genealogist. They often have genealogy section and free internet access. Many libraries also hold free Genealogy Workshops that can help you learn more about the subject. Check with your local library to find more information on these programs.

The internet has opened new doors for families searching for clues to their history. Type in "Family History" into the search box of your browser and you will find databases with thousands of documents and surnames to help you compile accurate research your descendants. Other sites have links to specific surname sites where you may find a distant relative. In the beginning, it is best to complete your family history before going deeper into the roots of your family tree online.

Avoid making this journey a task. The wealth of information available on the Internet can be overwhelming. Look at it as a historical exploration into the lives of the people who have shared your life. In the end, by remembering and recording your family and military heritage, you will have created a beloved heirloom for further generations to treasure.

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Melody Schubert
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