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Baby Boomer Articles - Family and Friends Family and Friends
Nothing is more important to Baby Boomers than family and friends, and spending time with them. Here's a resource for everyone you care about: children, parents, grandchildren, friends and other interesting people.

Your Family's Roots

Lately I have been working hard to recall the homes I grew up in. We lived for my first six years with my mom's parents and then we moved to our house out in the country, where I lived full time till I left for college in 1969.

For some reason it has become very important to me to dredge up those memories. As a sign that I should be doing this, our recent Attic Clean Out project unearthed a large box full of photos from the days when I was just a small child. I have no clue why those photos were in the attic (since we do have a lot that I have taken better care of), but I was happy to see them.

I tried hard to remember some of the times depicted in the photos, but unfortunately, I think I was too young. Isn't it a shame that for so much of our lives that is important we can't remember what happened? I would love to remember how I felt hanging out with my mom and dad and my brother -- and later my sister -- in days when life was so loving and simple.

To add support to this project, I attended a library talk recently on ClimbingYour Family Tree: Rethinking Genealogy given by Marilyn Holt, head of the Pennsylvania Department at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and a genealogy expert. (I am hopeful that large libraries near where you live have the same type of department and help available for your searches.)

Marilyn fascinated us with all of the resources available at the library to anyone interested in filling our their family tree. Her best advice was to work back from yourself into the past, going from what you know to what you don't know. To help get started with the basic information you already know, she suggests filling out a pedigree chart which she gave us. (For an example of one, click here.) Print out a couple as worksheets and then begin to slowly include the info for yourself, your parents, your grandparents etc.

Use items you have at home to fill in more distant information like passports, birth and death certificates, school records, obituaries, wills etc.

After you have gone as far as you can, it's time to call in the professionals. Check with your local library to see what servies they offer and take advantage of them.

Getting to know your family is important so that you can better know yourself, something that seems to be more important as we get older. (Everyone in the talk I attended was Baby Boomer age or older.) That's why I intend to keep sorting through my old box of photos to see if they will prompt more memories for me. It would be grand if seeing the old photos of how we spent our days brought back those warm feelings again.

One note from Marilyn: The 1940 US Federal Census information is now available to the public. There is where you will find out more (to my mind) important information about your ancestors other than important dates in their lives. You can learn what language was spoken in the home, what type of work the family members did, the highest level of education acquired and so on. To see a copy of the 1940 form, visit here.

By Teresa K. Flatley

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