What would you give to spend one day with one of your ancestors? To witness everyday details of his or her life, whether it involved a favorite recipe, cooking methods, transportation or how children spent their day? Genealogy and stories related to major life events such as immigration, migrations, arranged marriages, childbirth, deaths or occupations can often be found in journals or other sources but what about everyday activities such as holiday celebrations or the games children played on balmy summer evenings? Wouldn’t you like to go one step beyond walking four miles to school through two feet of snow or canning peaches on a woodstove?
Unfortunately, modern science hasn’t given us anything but theories regarding a time machine or other means to accomplish such a feat. Given that, follow time’s arrow in the other direction to your descendants, no doubt still waiting for that time machine. Don’t you think they might wonder the same things about you? Even if you’re diligently keeping records current regarding births, deaths and marriages, what will they learn about your everyday life? Have you included what it was like before cell phones, texting, the internet, satellite radio and iPads? Along similar lines, what would you include if you were to create a time capsule to be opened a hundred years from now?
Such things comprise an oft-neglected element that makes family members more memorable, colorful and human. It has a name you’ve undoubtedly heard but probably in a broader context that didn’t seem to relate to your family or situation. Any idea what it is? Here’s another hint: Collecting it is fun and even more entertaining as the years go by. Furthermore, it’s something kids can participate in now which will not only make them feel important and cultivate interest but be enjoyed as much as those vacation pictures twenty years from now.
Figure it out yet? Yes, recipes are included but it goes beyond that. It actually has an official name and is specifically taught in universities such as Utah State and North Dakota State who also maintain collections of this historically significant information.
Okay, I’ll get to the point. The answer: Family Folklore.
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