The Concept of A Digital Toolbox – Part 6
Have you ever been jealous of those families who have a lot of heritage and history?
You know those families that speak of their “grands” and “greats” as if they built America. You know those families that have a deep sense of ancestry.
A deep sense of ancestry and heritage must start somewhere and why not with you?
My cousin, let’s call her Erica, loves to plan and be involved in making family reunions happen. I think this is her gift to humanity. Family reunions, we’ll leave that topic for another time. Erica loves to connect family members. Well, her love inspired or ignited a small fire within me. It made me think more about my own family and my heritage; so we made the decision to do something about it.
The people upon whose shoulders you stand are very important.
On one of our personal annual marriage retreats, Pamela and I visited The Biltmore; it was a bucket-list item we’ve been meaning to do for years. The Biltmore shares the history of the Vanderbilt family. In the Biltmore Village, there’s an exhibit that displays the Vanderbilt’s family tree and at the very top is Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor. What must it feel like to have such heritage and ancestry? Well there’s only one way to know that feeling, start one or add to one.
Tools to Document My Own Family Tree
It wasn’t long after visiting The Biltmore that I went on a search for a way to put our family’s tree together. My thoughts were on our daughter, Tamia, her children, and her grandchildren. Just like everything else we do, I needed a plan to accomplish this. Let me share a few of the requirements I needed in a tool for our family tree.
- Digital. Of course it needed to be digital. I’ve tried paper family trees and there were far too many limitations which resulted in me quitting before I’d get started good.
- Scalability. Because families today aren’t as linear as families of yesterday, we needed a family tree app that’s able to expand (branch off) in any and as many directions as possible. I want to be able to hand it off to any family member and they can run with their segment if they want to.
- Shareable. The ability to share this family tree is a must. We didn’t want the family tree to be lost with me. So we’ve included details about the family tree in our family plan. That way it’s not out of sight or out of mind. We will leave our records of where we’ve maintained our family’s tree for the generations that come behind us.
After trialing and reviewing a number of family tree apps out there, we landed on “Family Echo”. It’s free and it met our requirements.
Before I end this episode, I have a bonus tip for you.
Hidden family records can be found in obituaries.
I’ve learned to find value in obituaries, they can be a very valuable guide to putting together a family tree.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with “Black in America” culture, not to be confused with African-American culture, obituaries are a very important piece to funeral services. They capture history. They often expose truths that only become visible when someone passes. At any rate, it’s these obituraries that I use to update our family’s tree. Each time I attend a funeral I use the obituary to update our the tree. I find the value in everything I possibly can and have found a love for funeral obituaries and the content in which they leave us. Whatever the strategy, use whatever you can to build your family’s history. Have a plan.
Today is Friday!
Everyone could use a tool that helps track their family’s heritage. For many, the “out of sight, out of mind” quote will hold true, but for others it will bring to life a respect and since of heritage for family. Enjoy yours.