Anyone who has spent long periods of time with the family over Christmas will find that as the food and drink flow, the old family stories are wheeled out and retold again. In my case, my dad’s experiences as an evacuee and accounts of which relative disappeared to South Africa or Canada after some particularly pointless family quarrel, not to mention my Russian nihilist great grandfather and his sewing machine factory in Brooklyn. As a child these tales were tantalising, some details so specific and others so vague -names, places and times lost over the century.
Until the advent of online genealogy, finding out the truth in these stories involved a lot time visiting archives, writing letters and wading through graveyards if you were lucky. Oftentimes, one had no idea whether there even was a verifying document, let alone where it might be. Nowadays, we are blessed with a wealth of ways to connect and research without leaving the house. Even so, unless these old stories are recorded in some way, they will eventually be lost to our children and grandchildren, whose interest in them often does not ignite until years later. While memories are still fresh, New Year is a good time to finally commit the stories to print, reach out to distant relatives and separate the truth from myth.
Happy Hunting to you all!
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