The Lessson from Family History That I didn't Expect

Unexpected Lessons of Family History


Family History, when preserved, has the power to save families. That's the one lesson that family history has taught me that I didn't expect.

Since I began sharing and teaching family history publicly, my kids have watched me. They'll snuggle on the couch as I sit cross-legged with my laptop atop searching for a new clue for a new-to-me relative. My teenage children find different parts of family history that excite them. My pre-teen keeps hoping I'll find new photos to add to Family Search. And my third and fifth children love telling me their stories and grabbing the camera to document their creations.

Robert Zumstein WWI and WII Bible
Robert Victor Zumstein and Robert Comfort Zumstein Bible that went to the former in WWI and the later in WWII

My efforts to preserve our daily memories and the lives of relatives my kids have never met brings us closer together. They love to hear about Grandpa Bob's cheesecake recipe he thought he took to the grave. They love to hear about Great-Grandpa Lee and how he flew a dangerous mission to China to deliver poorly maintained planes during World War II. And they know how I believe I'll meet my deceased Papa Lew and the first question I'll ask is, "Will you Dance With me?"

But my preservation efforts help me remember the times I treasure so much. When my eldest daughter told me, "the work goes faster with two," and a son said, "If Cinco doesn't get to have his treats and you'll eat it. Can I have half?" Or the time when youngest one said, "I didn't drown" or "The pool water feels like pee."

I love that family history has taught me the way to save and strengthen my family is to capture and preserve our stories so we'll always know.

Additional Reading:
The Worst Day of My Life, The Lessons For My Posterity
5 Things I Learned While Writing Their Story
15 Things I Learned About Myself While Scanning

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