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The other evening, I was reflecting on my ancestors, realizing how little I know about them. What really irritates me is that I never thought to ask my grandparents questions about their parents and grandparents.

My maternal grandmother lost her husband when my mother was only 7 years old. I'm not sure why he died--perhaps leukemia. But I never once asked her about my grandfather. And my mother remembered very little.

On my father's side, neither grandparents talked about their parents. My father doesn't know much about them either. How did my great grandfather Shelmadine die in the line of duty (policeman)?

Only one great grandmother bothered to write an autobiography. What a shame not to know much about one's historical family. Despite exhaustive research on my part, I can't even discover WHEN a great great grandfather died. It was sometime after 1900, but the date remains a mystery. (Believe me, I've tried everything.)

Here's my point. I'm not going to wait for my children to ask me about their ancestors. They probably won't. Not only is information written down (plus my own autobio), but I will orally inform them of their heritage--no prompting needed. Story telling is a lost art.

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Comment by Randall Smith on May 6, 2013 at 6:39am
As a followup, I actually had a chance to put into practice what I wrote about in my last paragraph. My youngest daughter WAS interested and curious, asking many questions.
Comment by Matt Skaggs on May 5, 2013 at 7:50am

That sounds great. I'm sure your children can benefit greatly from this, and sadly very few people really make this a priority.

I remember talking to my grandparents about their memories of World War II, though they were both young at the time. That was an amazing and memorable conversation, made even more significant to me because I know someday not far in the future they won't be around to tell their stories anymore.

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