History: One Person At A Time

I have always been interested in local history — community history.  Of course national and world history is important, but I find the small histories which invoke nostalgic emotions and memories to be captivating.  The histories which exist only in the recollection of those who experienced them are valuable pieces of who we are.  Sometimes we’re lucky enough to gain access to these histories before the only record disappears forever.

A friend of mine has recently taken to strolling through local cemeteries and noting the individuals who have passed a century or more ago, taking special note of those who’ve passed at a young age.  He takes these names and researches their lives through local records.  Up until now he was posting his stories through social media.  I immediately appreciated the stories he related for their value.  He filled in with detail where the hyphen was etched in silence between their birth and death on their memorial.

I would urge my readers who might appreciate brief biographies of otherwise invisible and forgotten people interesting to check out the new blog.  It is new so there but a couple posts, but I trust it will grow.

From the About page of History: One Person At A Time

[I]t started after I completed my family tree. My wife and I found ourselves missing the thrill of being history detectives, digging up life stories and remembering those that came before us. We needed a fix! It had become an obsession!  So instead of going out to lunch or dinner like normal couples, we went to the cemetery in search of something strange or out of place. For instance, someone dying young, two people buried together that died on the same day, or dates that indicate a combat death. Neither one of us will ever forget our first one.

We’d been meandering about the cemetery for nearly half-an-hour before we saw it, stuck in the ground, partially covered with foliage. It was an average size headstone of a young woman. On either side sat two smaller headstones each inscribed with the name of a young child.  We took a photo of the headstones, five in all, and wrote down the information, then headed to the library. After some digging, I came across a newspaper article, frontpage: MOTHER, FOUR CHILDREN SLAIN

Her estranged husband shot her, their four children, then turned the gun on himself…

It was shocking, to say the least. It was also sad. And so you might wonder why we continue, knowing we’ll find even more heartbreaking stories. Well, there’s no easy answer. But I think we do it because we all have an innate human desire to be remembered, to matter long after we die, and to live forever, if only in the hearts and minds of future generations. That’s also why we share it with the world.

A few years back I did some climbing up my family tree and discovered my great-grandfather was a member of the House of Representatives in Connecticut from 1937-1940.

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting about it!

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