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How Cancer Changed My Outlook on Family History

What a poignant reminder that our lives are not all the same, but we can still do family history in our own way.

After being challenged with completing 2,016 minutes of family history work throughout the year, I set out to meet that goal. I tried; I really did!

I easily registered on all the sites.

I found my own records, along with those of my children.

I searched for my parents and began to follow their lines back to further generations.

It was going so well that I was excited to do more. Once I simply merged my information with my parents’, my genealogy would also be completed several generations back. Easy, peasy!

But, I couldn't get it to work. Was I really going to have to reenter information that was already correct in another place? Shouldn’t I be able to link to my mother and have all of her ancestors’ names linked to me, as well? Isn’t that what computers do? Suddenly, my well-intentioned goals turned into the mandatory shutting down of my laptop before I threw it across the room in frustration.

Apparently, it is not my season for that kind of family history. However, I still wanted to fulfill my challenge of yearly goals, preferably without damage to computers or to others.

Then it hit me: I have stage 4 cancer and have only been given 3-5 years to live. The most important family history work I can possibly do at this stage in my life is to start with my personal history and teach my children to keep theirs. For, if I don’t do it, who will? How will my children know all the stories, the important dates from their youth, or who their mother was if I don’t do the work?

My family history talents do not lie in indexing and computer programs, but I have been able to meet family history goals by working on these personal history projects, those that only I could complete for my posterity.

Lead image from Aggieland Mormons.
Read the rest of this story at www.aggielandmormons.org