Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sepia Saturday #311: Family History: The Storefront of our Lives

As we embark on a new year, perhaps it is time to take pause, look at our family trees and think about our progress to this point. When I saw the inspiration image for today's Sepia Saturday it elicited thoughts in me of a family history storefront, and I began to think about what my family history storefront might look like. This in turn sparked a number of questions in my mind that I want to share with you on this day, as I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year, and all the very best in 2016.

Fitzpatrick and Kettle family members dressing up the storefront of the Sepia Saturday inspiration image.
The family histories we share online are a kind of metaphorical storefront. Just as the shop keepers design their windows to highlight their most appealing goods, we bring to the fore the most interesting stories of our ancestors. In the process, occasionally we find common ground with other researchers whose ancestors may have known the same kinds of struggles and triumphs.


What would your family history shopfront or storefront look like? Whose images might dominate the windows? Whose would be absent? Which ancestors would you proudly show off to the world?

Whose histories do you choose to share, and whose stories are left untended? What do the choices we make say about us as individuals?

In whom do we see ourselves reflected? Which ancestor or relative do we most resemble, be it in the way that he/she looked, or how we imagine their visage, his/her manner of comportment, or the life he/she led?

Many identify with ancestors who emerged as heroes, whether in the battles fought in wars, in working for social justice, or in simply raising the fortunes of the family. However, is it perhaps too easy to see ourselves in the heroes? 

What if you found someone on your family tree who ended up in a workhouse? Would you be willing and able to see any part of that individual in yourself? Would they be allotted a space in the storefront?

Some of us have ancestors and relatives who have suffered from mental illness. Can we see ourselves reflected in them? Are we able to tell their stories or are they kept at the back of the shop?

As you look at your family tree, with whom do you truly have the most in common?

If you were in a difficult situation to whom on your family tree can you imagine turning for help?

Who do you believe you would like most of all, and who would you honestly admit to disliking?

With whom could you see yourself arguing, and upon whom can you see yourself heaping praise?

What would your family history storefront look like?

Be sure to stop by the Sepia Saturday blog to see how others have interpreted today's inspiration theme, and perhaps you will be inspired too.

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