No matter who we are or where we came from, our dads have played a critical role in determining the kind of individuals we’ve become. With Father’s Day coming quickly, most of us are struggling to come up with the perfect way to honor the special men in our lives. Whether they are living or no longer with us, the memory of who they were and what they stood for should never be lost.
A few weeks ago as I was reading the newsletter of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, I fell in love with an idea their staff had for celebrating mothers and grandmothers on Mother’s Day. To honor the special women in their families, they created a wonderful online gallery featuring maternal photographs. Not being on the staff there, I couldn’t very well add my mom’s picture, but I carried the idea over to our family tree on Ancestry.com. Mom isn’t with us anymore, but I feel sure she’d be pleased to know that her smile is there now and can be viewed by family and Ancestry members all over the world.
My dad died before I was old enough to remember him, but the uncle who raised me became the best dad I could ever hope to have. Thanks to the content sets at Ancestry, I’ve been able to trace the story of his life in census records, World War I Draft Records, newspaper items, passport and passenger lists, the Texas death index, and the Social Security Death Index. As my Father’s Day gift for him, I’m going to be placing photographs of him in my family tree at Ancestry. From the time he was a child in Brooklyn, New York to the years he spent as a mining engineer in South America and Mexico, I have wonderful images of him that I’m anxious to share with others. And even though I may not be able to finish my project in time, I plan to use AncestryPress to create a book in his memory. I may be awfully late in thanking him for taking me in when I was just a toddler, but I can’t think of a better way to do it now.
Not everyone has time to complete a whole book in time for Father’s Day, but just think about it. If you and everyone else who reads this would take the time to post a photo or two of your father, your grandfather or someone else in your family, there would be millions of photographs added to Ancestry.com in no time. Maybe someone will post a photograph that you’ve never seen. Maybe it will be a photograph that will connect you with that long-lost branch of the family. Personally, I’m still hoping that there is someone out there who might have a photograph of my grandfather – a fellow whose photograph I’ve never seen.
About Lou Szucs
Loretto Dennis (“Lou”) Szucs, FUGA, holds a degree in history, and has been involved in genealogical research, teaching, lecturing, and publishing for more than thirty years. Previously employed by the National Archives, she is currently executive editor and vice president of community relations for Ancestry.com, Inc.. She has served on many archives and genealogical boards, and was founding secretary of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Currently, she serves as a director on the Board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She has edited newsletters and quarterly journals for several genealogical societies, including the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Forum. She authored The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy (with Sandra Luebking), as well as They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins; Chicago and Cook County Sources: A Genealogical and Historical Guide; Ellis Island: Tracing Your Family History Through America’s Gateway; The Archives: A Guide to the National Archives Field Branches (also with Sandra Luebking), and Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records (with Matthew Wright). Lou was also the executive editor of Ancestry magazine. Since 1980, Lou has lectured at numerous genealogy workshops and national conferences. She has presented at the American Library Association conference and has been interviewed for the Ancestors series, ABC News, CNN news, and most recently on ABC television show, The View. In 1995, she was awarded the designation of fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association and has received numerous other awards. Note: Lou Szucs used to pay her daughters to find names in microfilm.