Thursday, January 20, 2011


I was talking with my brother the other day and was telling him how I'd
recently found out that the apartment building we'd lived in on Evans St.
in Dorchester was no longer there. Then he reminded me he'd never
lived there. He'd been born a few years after we'd moved out of Boston
down here to Abington. I'm seventeen years older than him and there's a
a lot of things that happened before his birth. He never knew our
grandmother Agnes, for example.

I'd been thinking about this lately, about how some of the generations
in the family are so close to touching but separated by death or other
reasons. My great grandfather PJ West died when I was six years old
but I have no memories of him, because he lived in Maine and I can't
recall visiting him up there. We probably did but I was too young for
it to make an impression, much in the same way my sister has very
little memory of Aggie. And of course there's my mom's dad who
I'm pretty sure was alive until 1981 but who had completely cut off
any contact with his children and their families.

I think about how my parents would have liked to have seen their
grandchildren grow up and about how they'd have gotten a kick out
of their first great grandchild.

I suppose it's because I'm a genealogist and family historian that I think
about some of these things. I realized one day that although I don't
have any memories of PJ West that I most certainly had met him as a child.
And that makes me the link between my grandnephew and his 3x great
grandfather. I've known people who were born in the 19th century.

I've already written down some of what I know and remember about
the family.  I've been fortunate that my Aunt Dorothy wrote about
growing up with my Dad in Maine and that my granduncle Clarence
was interviewed twice about his life up there. But I'm adding to my
New Year's genealogy resolutions to write more about my memories
while I still can to pass along to my niece and nephews so they'll
know more about their grandparents.

I wonder what they'll remember about me?


Nolichucky Roots said...

This is one of those topics that fascinates family historians. My children (20 somethings) grew up listening to the stories of the Civil War their grandmother heard from her grandmother. That's an enormous gap, yet they feel a close connection because their grandmother has touched both generations.

I am focused on recording what I heard from my grandparents, aunts and uncles growing up because unless I record their stories, they will be lost.

Kathy Reed said...

I'm guessing a lot of what your descendants say about you will be based on the history you've shared with them on your blog (at least that's what I'm hoping for myself).

Kristin said...

I was thinking this morning that my great niece who will be born next month is coming along 100 years after my father was born in 1911. It doesn't seem like that much time has passed to me.

I feel very close to past generations because my family talked about them almost if they still around.