dimanche 10 avril 2011

Un texte de Monique Groulx, family historian

Monique Groulx, membre de la Red Hat Society
que l'on reconnaît au chapeau rouge et vêtement violet,
historienne de sa famille
Monique Groulx est ma petite-cousine. Nous avons fait connaissance il y a quelques années par le biais d'Ancestry et d'une question que j'avais posée sur un forum de généalogie. Depuis, nous avons développé une belle amitié.

Ma grand-mère paternelle et sa mère étaient sœurs; la vie les avait séparées : l'une vivait en Outaouais, l'autre en Floride. La généalogie a réuni ces deux branches d'une même famille.

Récemment, Monique écrivait un texte sur la place de la généalogie dans sa vie, texte que j'ai trouvé très beau et qui m'a donné envie de le partager avec vous.

I am the historian of my familyʼs legacy and the guardian of my parentsʼ photos. Thus, my priority at this time, is to document my familyʼs genealogical and historical evolution.

My parents, and especially my father, loved to recount their life, mentioning how faith and destiny guided them. All along my life, I noted mentally, the information they shared with me and my brothers. But, I sense there are so many more questions we failed to ask. Time just flew, and though I cannot rewind the past, I can recall it. The Life Story Writing class served as an impetus for me to remember and jot down these stories, while I still have the capacity, the will and the memory. To share these stories with the members of my family is one of my goals and like an heirloom will be passed down though the future generations.

Two years ago, I started to remove the old family photos from their deteriorating albums to give them a new life. As I scan the hundreds of photos in my custody, I am trying to identify the persons who are represented in each photo. It is quite an endeavor! Each photo brings back so many wonderful memories and emotions... After the photos are scanned, I sort them and put them in separate envelopes for future insertion in new acid free albums.

Eventually, I plan to make photo CDs and digital books for my brothers and their family. Furthermore, in the near future, I shall open a gallery of photos on a website accessible to those I invite to visit.

To document my familyʼs genealogical evolution, in February 2010, I started a family tree on Ancestry.com. It now contains over 9,000 persons, close to 1,600 photos and thousands of vital records and sources. It is a kind of daily journaling. It is a chore and a joy simultaneously. A chore because it takesmuch dedication and a joy which fills my heart when I find a treasured document showing where my ancestors lived or died, or a photo of one of my ancestors shared by a new found cousin. Each time I add new persons in the tree, I bring them back to life. By their presence in the tree, they attain immortalization and will be accessible to future generations.

Thus far, through my online family tree, I met many “lost” cousins with whom I exchanged photos and data. The family links broken by our ancestors, as they moved to different parts of Canada and the United States looking to improve their life as they sought new opportunities, are now reconnecting andgrowing new branches. It truely amazes me, how many people, today, arelooking for their roots. We are a society looking for its past. I donʼt recall myparents being as concerned about the past lives of their ancestors as we are.Perhaps, they needed to live predominently in the present to survive. Iunderstand, that as we age, turning to the past for understanding is almost a prerequisite for self preservation. Most genealogists are senior citizens andretired. With the invention of the internet and the easier access to documentation, genealogy has become their perfect past time and serves as an examination of their familyʼs evolution. Researching, gathering documentations and making sense of our past is a lifetime endeavor. So why put off the task until later in life? Why not ask questions when the older generation is still with us?

Because as a young person, we think we have all the time in the world. We plan our future and are not interested in the past until we are almost “passé”. As we get older, we want our descendants to remember us. We want to be immortalized in their minds. Thus, explaining the reason for the growing numbers of senior genealogists, life story writers and biographers. It is my aspiration that I shall have enough life remaining to accomplish the task of leaving a legacy which will enlighten the young people in my family who are not yet concerned about their roots but who one day might be thankful of thededication I have put forth on these projects.

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