One of my worst habits is starting something and not finishing it. That is what has happened with the family room. The carpet has been down for more than a month but boxes of books stacked in the living room are still waiting for us to return them to the bookshelves. Two weeks ago, my wife and I began moving the boxes back, but in our attempts to organize, we opened a huge can of worms.
The first boxes contained our photo albums. This was our chance to put them back on the shelf in order. Not a difficult task. While we were at it, we thought it would be a good idea to put the last photos we took (before going digital} into new albums. As long as we were going to put loose photos into albums, my wife remembered she had another shoeboxful in storage. And since we were going to our storage unit, I might as well get my mom and dad’s albums and bring them home, too.
And so it started. SWMBO and I drove to our storage unit. Then we went to the store to pick up a couple more photo albums. Whatever momentum we had going that afternoon had dissipated by the time we returned home. We spent that evening looking at my family history that was captured in the albums my mother had put together.
Unfortunately, my mom’s albums have the self sticking pages which had deteriorated over the years. Some pictures fell out, others had fused to the ancient pages. I decided that I should transfer them into new albums. Meanwhile, my wife set about taking apart her individual albums that her mother had put together. Pages had been organized by person rather than date so there was a great deal of overlap among multiple albums.
It was official. We were no longer movers. We were now family archivists.
I looked through my mother’s albums, saddened by some of the nameless faces that stared from the pages. Identities of people from sixty, seventy years ago or more were lost to time. I had questions and one of the very few people who had the answers (my mother) died eight years ago. There was one other person in our family who might have some information for me. My mother’s cousin is basically the family historian. He has a wealth of knowledge about my grandmother’s side but nothing about my grandfather’s side.
And that is how I ended up on Ancestry.ca. I spent many, many hours last weekend entering information into our family tree, resisting the urge to sign up for a full membership. I’ll do that after Christmas. There are a lot of blanks to fill in. After all, I owe it to my daughter to put names and faces together and trace as many connections as I can with the resources I have available– a daunting and time-consuming task.
So, to summarize, I need to know the family tree before I reorganize some of the old photo albums. I never would have started this project had we not moved everything out of the family room in the first place. We wouldn’t have moved everything out of the family room had we not painted. And we wouldn’t have painted had we not decided to replace the carpet. We wouldn’t have decided to replace the carpet had it not been for my mother-in-law’s dog’s unfortunate bowel related mishap back in the late summer. Therefore the blame for this latest diversion lies squarely on a geriatric German Shepherd, or at least his poop.