I encountered a minor setback a few weeks ago. My computer was stolen and subsequently so were my recorded interviews and biographical forms for individual family members. Unfortunately, I did not back up my interview material. The good news is that I backed up my photos, so the hours of scanning images were not in vain! Also, saving notes and information to my Ancestry.com family tree and Google account proved incredibly helpful as I try to identify some of the lost information and think about how I should move forward in my efforts. There was a huge lesson to learn so early in my efforts to piece together my family history that I would like to share with you: BACK UP YOUR DOCUMENTS…CONSISTENTLY!
The loss of my laptop reminds me of one of my recorded interviews with my paternal grandmother. In conversation about her childhood and relationship with her father, she recollects that my great-grandfather (also known as “Mr. Grant”) was a stern yet loving man. He hoped to instill in his children the value of honesty and pride. My grandmother recalls eaves dropping on a conversation between her father and older sisters as a young girl. She explained that her daddy told her sisters sharply that if they were ever in trouble, he would help them out in anyway he could but if they ever stole he would act as if he did not know them because there was never any cause for them to steal. Similarly, my maternal grandfather advised me as a child that I never need to borrow, beg or steal from anyone because if there was anything I needed my family and my own efforts would secure it and if I didn’t have or couldn’t get it honestly, well then I just didn’t need it. Ironically, thinking about these lessons, made my loss a little easier. Although I still felt violated knowing that someone had access to my family’s history without my permission (although I doubt they ever knew the interviews existed), I am grateful for having the opportunity to interview those relatives and proud that I have been able to recall much of the information that was shared. So, now that I’m over this little hurdle, I’m looking forward to continuing my work!