Grandfather and granddaughter with laptop computer at home

Did I Ever Tell You About Your Uncle Fred?

by Ron Tatro, Vice President

Do you remember when you were a child and going to visit older relatives? They would start talking about family members, some longed deceased, and tell stories. If you were like me, you could not care less about those relatives.

Recently, I have spent time with a college professor who is very engaged with looking into her family tree and ancestors. She has been able to trace her relatives back to their arrival in this country before the Revolutionary War. Her experience, combined with my memories, got me thinking about the value of family and the role of grandparents.

  • We all need to “know” where we come from. While history may not be important when we are young, it will be as we age. Grandparents see their parents’ traits in themselves and their traits in their adult children. How did you develop such a strong work ethic, compassion, passion, and principles? Did those traits come from your ancestors?
  • My friend’s adult son is a Major in the US Army where he serves in the Rangers. A true warrior. How did he get there? In his family there has been warriors in every war since the Revolutionary War. Ancestors fought on both sides of the Civil War. Is our young Major a “product” of his past?
  • Today’s technology provides many of the tools such as Ancestory.com which can be used to research family history and identify our ancestors. We can look at the names on a screen from a public record and learn about dates of birth, marriages, births of children, and deaths. But, it won’t tell us is what it was to live and work in those times.
  • As grandparents, we have an obligation to share family and public history with our grandchildren. You are the keepers of that history. Put a grandchild on your lap and tell them what their parents were like when they were growing up. Tell them what society was like when you were young. Not only does it create or strengthen the bonds between you and them, but it is planting a seed that will grow throughout their lives.

Until the next time.

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