Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Regrets

Once again, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has the weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Challenge.  As I was unavailable on Saturday due to a graduation party for my oldest son, I must participate this morning instead.

Greetings, genea-philes. it's SATURDAY NIGHT - time for more GENEALOGY FUN!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  On GeneaBloggers Radio last night (www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers/) the discussion turned to regrets that we all have about our genealogy and family history experiences.  Someone said "If I knew then, what I know now, I would have..." I thought that it would make a good SNGF topic, and it may be a general topic on a future GeneaBloggers Radio show.

2)  Tell us about your "I knew then what I know now, I would have..." regret in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook status or note.

Randy took the "low hanging fruit" of being more proactive in documenting source citations, etc.   That would be a great answer.   I'm taking another low-hanging fruit.

I knew then what I know now, I would have... spent MUCH more time talking to my ancestors when they were still alive.  

My paternal grandmother Alta May (Day) Dillman is largely responsible for my involvement in family history and genealogy.  I was fortunate to have her around to talk with until 1992.  Her family lineage is well documented, and she was working on my grandfather's line, but had hit some pretty serious pre-internet brick walls.  What she passed on to me was enough to get me connected to others with more information once electronic searching became available.

My grandfather Estel Dillman died in 1982 when I was 16, and had just started to date the girl who would become my wife.  This was before the genealogy bug bit me, and I had other things on my mind, of course.  Add to that the fact that he and my grandmother lived in South Dakota, a 4-hour drive away, and I didn't get to talk with him about family history at all.  His line has some interesting quirks, and I'm not sure if he would have given me the true story, or even if he knew all of the truth concerning his family history, but I would love to have had the opportunity to discuss it with him.

My great grandfather Clyde Day died in 1973, when I was about six years old.   I'd like to talk with him more for historical reasons than genealogical.  I met him several times, but as I was quite young, I never had opportunity to discuss family history.  I have vague memories of him as a tall, thin, quiet man.  He lived in Nebraska and the Dakota prairie at the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I'd love to have got his perspective on that life.  I'd like to have asked about his wife, who died long before I was born, and his father and brother who stayed in Nebraska.

Even more, I would love to have had opportunity to talk  with my maternal grandparents about family history.  They were poor, and moved around a lot, and genealogical things got lost in all of the moving.  I'd love to have opportunity to talk with them about their families.  Specifically if Emma Gertrude McMurry knew anything about her parents' history.  I still have a big dead-end there, probably in Arkansas.

If I knew then what I know now...  Yep, we'd all likely have done some things differently, made time for certain things we neglected.  so if you're a young person reading this, and your ancestors are still around, MAKE TIME to interview them NOW while you still can!