The Lessson from Family History That I didn’t Expect

What genealogy lesson did you not expect?

Family History, when preserved, has the power to save families. That’s the one lesson that family history has taught me that I didn’t expect.

Since I began sharing and teaching family history publicly, my kids have watched me. They’ll snuggle on the couch as I sit cross-legged with my laptop atop searching for a new clue for a new-to-me relative. My teenage children find different parts of family history that excite them. My pre-teen keeps hoping I’ll find new photos to add to Family Search. And my third and fifth children love telling me their stories and grabbing the camera to document their creations.

Zumstein Family Bible
Robert Victor Zumstein Bible that he carried as a solider in WWI.
Same bible carried by son Robert Comfort Zumstein in WWII.

My efforts to preserve our daily memories and the lives of relatives my kids have never met brings us closer together. They love to hear about Grandpa Bob’s cheesecake recipe he thought he took to the grave. They love to hear about Great-Grandpa Lee and how he flew a dangerous mission to China to deliver poorly maintained planes during World War II. And they know how I believe I’ll meet my deceased Papa Lew and the first question I’ll ask is, “Will you Dance With me?”

But my preservation efforts help me remember the times I treasure so much. When my eldest daughter told me, “the work goes faster with two,” and a son said, “If Cinco doesn’t get to have his treats and you’ll eat it. Can I have half?” Or the time when youngest one said, “I didn’t drown” or “The pool water feels like pee.”

I love that family history has taught me the way to save and strengthen my family is to capture and preserve our stories so we’ll always know. 

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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