[Editor’s note: Genealogy professional and thought leader Thomas MacEntee ponders the role of the modern-day family historian as memory keeper and firefighter.]
“Every time an old man dies it is as if a library has burned down.” African proverb
Recently, Family History Expos included the quote above in advertising its upcoming Georgia Family History Expo and whether you are a genealogist or not, it should make you stop and think. And besides taking that pause to ponder how losing our older relatives takes a toll on our family history, it should spur you to take action and become a modern day “firefighter.”
For those that realize what will be lost once a member of a family’s older generation passes away, the rush is on to collect as much information as possible. This includes conducting interviews, identifying and scanning photographs and capturing those important family stories. In our activities, hurrying to preserve family memories, we can often seem like someone putting out a fire.
An Old-Fashioned Bucket Brigade
Unfortunately, there are many people who haven’t sensed the potential loss and are totally unaware of what can and will be gone once that person dies. The challenge is to raise awareness now and enlist other family members to help keep the fire at bay.
Much like the bucket brigades of years gone by, with enough people and the right tools, you can preserve documents, photos and stories now and ensure that this legacy is passed down to the future generations.
Georgia Family History Expo – Early Bird Pricing Still Available!
Need help fighting those fires? If you are in the Atlanta area, the Georgia Family History Expo on November 9 and 10, 2012, at the Gwinnett Center will have the tools you need. Take advantage of the early bird pricing by October 9th for only $69.
You’ll find a variety of classes and workshops for beginning and intermediate genealogists and family historians as well as an exhibit hall filled with vendors selling genealogy books, products and services.
Come Meet Oral Historian Paul A. Adjei
At the Georgia Family History Expo, you’ll have a chance to meet and speak with special guest presenter Paul A. Adjei – CEO at Worldbiz Business. Adjei will share the spirit and purpose of his work collecting the oral histories of the Akan in West Africa. He will travel from his home of Kumasi-Ghana to teach two classes at the expo and participate in a panel discussion there with Fortune 500 executive and genealogist Bernard E. Gracy.
Visit Saving Memories Forever at the Georgia Family History Expo
Stop by Booth #4 in the Exhibit Hall during the expo and talk with Saving Memories Forever founder Harvey Baker. You’ll learn how you can use our free iPhone App to help capture your family stories and then share them with other family members on the Saving Memories Forever website.
In addition, we’ll be presenting a demo entitled Recording, Preserving, and Sharing Your Family’s Oral History on Friday, November 9, 2012, at 4:50 pm and Saturday, November 10, 2012, at 10:00 am. This class will present options for creating an audio record of your family’s stories. We will highlight a new system that makes it easy for anyone to record family memories and share them with relatives now and in the future. Based on a seamless interface between a SmartPhone and the Internet, this affordable approach is founded on the philosophy that oral family history is valuable and provides families with a rich and full view of a person’s life.
We hope to see you there!