Friday, 15 July 2011

The COOLEST story is....

I took this past Wednesday and Thursday off work so I could go away and do research for a couple of projects. I found a lot of great material but the BEST thing I found was a document hidden inside hundreds of letters and reports and telegrams related to the sugar beet industry in southern Alberta. It was a form that contained names and gave the price each of these men paid for their land in Coaldale in 1926. The document also showed how much they were paid for their work in the sugar beet fields for each year from 1926 to 1930.

How could this be such an important piece of material? Because I recognized the name of my Great Grandfather and Great Uncle. Immediately that piece of paper went from "oh, that's interesting" to "I have to get a copy of this and my Mother is not going to believe it and who knew information on my family was in the Glenbow and..."

Earlier this spring I also found a written record from a Great Aunt about working with my Grandmother and her other sisters in the sugar beet fields when they were kids. Her description was so in-depth that I could actually picture my Grandmother, about 12 years old, working to thin the beet that grew (and this was written in German so I'm translating) as thick as rows of lettuce.

I enjoy doing history but I LOVE when I see where and how my family fits into the larger stories. To me, these family stories are the COOLEST ones of all.

But you probably disagree. You may well think your family history enjoys that designation. But that's okay. It's these family stories that often get us started as historians and make us look into the bigger stories. And everyone should have a little bias about their own history.

So what have you found out about your family that was your best find? What makes your family history so intersting? Why is your history so fascinating?

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