09 April 2011

NERGC 2011 - Keynote Speaker, Paul Milner

Scrappy Gen and Paul Milner
Write down your stories. Paul Milner made this point personal last night in his dynamic key note address, "What Were Our Ancestors Really Like", at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference. Along with other heart touching stories, he used his work and residence history to illustrate the importance of recording your life. 

Paul's work career began in the United Kingdom as an underground miner. He later worked in both Australia and Alaska, USA as a miner. He then became a Lutheran minister in Ohio, USA. After serving as a minister he became an official in the church hierarchy. A layoff in 1993 brought him to financial planning and finally to his current career as genealogist. 

Imagine for a moment that you are one of Paul's descendants, researching in the year 2100. After some diligent work you find two of his diverse records, including miner in Australia and minister in Ohio. Would you connect the two records as the same individual? You might eventually after finding several other supporting documents and creating an indirect proof argument, but it would be difficult and he might become your brick wall ancestor. 

Imagine now that Paul writes his own life story down today. It wouldn't have to be fancy, but should include the pertinent facts of his life with appropriate proof. He ensures that future generations will be able to find his autobiography by preserving multiple copies in multiple locations.  He is providing his descendants the clues and possibly the proof that his ancestors will need to identify him in the many different localities where he lived. Paul is the only one who can create this primary source providing direct proof. What genealogist doesn’t long to find this elusive pot of gold? 

Write down your stories. As family historians and genealogists isn't it our duty to record our own lives? There are two weekly blogging prompts to help you with this endeavor; the first is 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin and offered through the geneabloggers website and the second is Sharing Memories: a Genealogy Journey offered by Lorine at Olive Tree Genealogy. 

Remember, start simply. Provide your descendants with your particulars; where and when you were born and lived, with whom you shared your life and a little about what you did. Include copies of your vital records so that your great, great, great grandchildren or nieces and nephews don't have to look for them. Just imagine for a moment, if your ancestors had done this for you. Does this thought motivate you to start writing today?

Happy Saturday!

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you took his talk to heart. Blogging is a perfect way to write those stories, a few paragraphs at a time. Wasn't that a wonderful presentation? Lucky you to get a photo with him, too!

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