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A Genealogist In The Archives

Saturday, September 10, 2016

National Grandparents Day and The Anniversary of 9/11...

Sunday, September 11th. is both National Grandparents Day and the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

I had wanted to write a blog post about National Grandparents Day but realized that it falls on the same day as we remember that tragic day in United States history. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that as an archivist and genealogist I could bring these two together in a meaningful blog post.

National Grandparents Day was originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary goal for the holiday was to shine a light on the lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to get grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the First Sunday after Labor Day to be Grandparents Day.

Founder of National Grandparents Day

On September 11, 2001 the United States experienced the most horrific terrorist attack on the World Trade Center or "Twin Towers" as they were called in New York City, The Pentagon, and in a field in Shanksville, PA. It is said that everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when the 9/11 attacks occurred.

The World Trade Center in New York City

This got me to thinking about the last time people said "Do you remember where you were when...". I thought of events such as "The Bombing of Pearl Harbor", "The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy", "The Assassination of Martin Luther King". These events were all very tragic and very memorable for our Grandparents and maybe even for you.

As a genealogist and archivist, part of my job and joy is to document stories. Family stories, community stories and life event stories. I would like to encourage all of you to talk to your Grandparents and ask them where they were and what they were doing when 9/11 happened, when Pearl Harbor was bombed or when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Spend some time with your Grandparents this weekend, talk to them, document their life stories before it's too late. Use a recording device to record their stories or just use old fashioned pen and paper and write it down.

If you are a Grandparent, sit your grandchildren down and tell them your life experiences. What you saw, what you lived through and your accomplishments. It is said that our family stories can be lost in just two generations if not told and passed down to our children, grandchildren and other descendants.

Maybe your grandchildren are too young or they are not interested right now. Take the time to write down or record your life events for future generations. They may not be interested now but maybe one day they will be interested and they will be grateful that you took the time to write it down.

Here is a great book I found on Amazon that you can use to document your memories as a Grandparent...

If you no longer have the privilege of being able to talk to your Grandparents, maybe they are no longer living. Are you compiling their life story as a genealogist? Possibly they left diaries, journals or old letters that include life events that they wrote about. Are you preserving your Grandparents records, photographs and memorabilia so that the next generation of descendants can enjoy them and know their stories? What about your experiences with your Grandparents, are you recording those?

Here is a great journal from Amazon that will help you record your family traditions, memories, recipes and stories...

Events, tragic or happy, will continue to happen in all of our lives. As genealogists, I believe it is our privilege to document those life events to help tell our ancestor's and Grandparent's story.

This blog post is in memory of my own Grandparents:

Cody Lee LeMaster and Agnes Marie (Curtis) LeMaster


Forrest Cecil Bartram and Ida Kathryn (Drummond) Bartram

And in memory of all those that lost their lives on September 11, 2011...Never Forget!


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