Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pep talk about family history research

In the course of writing the blog and conducting family research, I spend hours perusing vital records and archived material. Actually, I am up right now at 3 am! Vernon Pack (a distant cousin) and I often compare notes and share stories. He's helped my research immensely, and that brings me to a source of persistent concern: family members who don't share information.

I won't bore you with a long whining session, but this issue is brought up among legitimate family researchers time and again. In fact, the other day in a history class I teach the students expressed their own interest in family research. Many would love to know their family history, but they don't know where to begin. I blame their families. Yes, there is online material, but that will take them only so far (or sometimes nowhere).

Family photos, memorabilia, etc. are great to have, but salting them away and not sharing will, in the end, leave your descendants lacking a connection with history. It also sets a bad example for your family - teaching them to be selfish. In the end, and probably long after you've left this world, they'll end up fighting amongst themselves over this or that material object, merely following your lead.

If you don't have the time for research but would like to keep originals, go and make some copies on a copy machine (it costs very little these days). If you're concerned someone is going to publish the next New York Times bestseller using your information, then let me put your fears to rest. Photos of Aunt Bessie aren't going to fetch much, or any, money. The only people who care are the people who are related to you! People want to know what their ancestors looked like. Now, then, I've heard the sob stories about this or that person not giving something back or stealing this or that. We're not all thieves. Learn to judge people on a case by case basis in your family.

I'm sure if our ancestors could speak they would urge you to honor their memories. What better way is there to serve your ancestors than to share information with your cousins? I am not naive, I know I can't exactly root out conspicuous selfishness on a blog. Instead, let us ALL create the habit of conspicuous sharing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Samuel Pack Article

The following article was published in the Sept. 6, 2011 edition of The Hinton News, article by Pauline Haga, "Samuel Pack Indian Fighter".

Note: In the article, Haga states that there is no record of Pack's military achievement during the Revolutionary War and that he was made an honorary Patriot by the DAR. There is a record that he provided equipment and/or supplies for American Soldiers (this via the VA Archive).

Sorry for the poor quality of the scan. It's a long article. Click on the image to enlarge.