Find Your Ancestor

About Our Freedom is dedicated to providing resources and assistance to help you document your ancestor prior to 1876. This includes the following eras: Reconstruction, Emancipation, Civil War, and Slavery.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who is the most neglected person on the tree?

Many of us drive right into research forever neglecting the easiest and most important person to document for future generations.  After all your efforts, just imagine your grandchildren one day scrounging around looking for records to document your life.  What significance is your research if you do not link the past to future generations?
Man in the Box, By Joe Shlabotnik

Remember to document the history of your life, and it won't hurt to pose for a few extra photos either!  You should also write an autobiography.  It may seem like a difficult task, but just get a box.  Put it in a place where it gets in the way.  Spend time putting everything that you come across about you into this box.

Next, categorize everything according to time periods in your life (birth, childhood, adolescence, teens, young adult, adult, senior).  Then identify the significant events that occurred in each time period.  Be sure you have gathered records and photos to document significant events.

Create an outline which includes each time period and significant event.  This outline will become a great help in writing your history.  Be sure to include the reasons why you made certain decisions, lessons learned, and how you felt along the way.

As you research your ancestors, you can share your experiences for future generations and help them appreciate certain ancestors you feel you are most like.  Be sure to touch on historical events and how they impacted your life (9/11, African American president, the economy, etc.).  Discuss how the world that you lived in is different from that of your forebears.  Include a description of the particular challenges that you face.  Share the hopes and dreams you have for your future posterity.

Gathering records and photos, organizing them, and creating you outline will help you find the inspiration to begin writing.  Set a goal to write a little at a time on a regular basis.  Take small bites toward writing a complete history of your life.  Your children and grandchildren will treasure it more than anything else. 


  1. Very good point ~ thanks for the reminder!

  2. Excellent points from an awesome lady. Thank you for the reminders.


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