Some Day I Will be Someone’s Ancestor

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I have 2,998 ancestors (that aren’t still hiding from me) and not one of them kept a journal! Not one ancestor!

And I’m so angry at them for not doing that! And I feel even more upset with my ancestors when I read tales of fellow genealogists whose forbears were more accommodating than mine in this respect. They left photographs… They left family bibles… They left heirlooms…

And they left journals!

A few weeks ago when I was visiting the Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, one of the members came forward at the break with this wonderful binder she had assembled with scanned copies of one of her ancestor’s journals. I was so jealous of that journal. I wanted to be adopted into her family so that I could share it with her!

It was only later that night that something occurred to me.

Some day, I will be someone’s ancestor!

And, descendants forgive me, I have not kept a journal since I was a teenager and kept a secret diary (and trust me, descendants, you do not want to read my teenage diary!). How incredibly hypocritical of me! What was I thinking? All these years that I have been lamenting the fact that none of my ancestors kept a journal, and I was not keeping one myself, for my descendants.

With that in mind, I dug out a beautiful pink leather-bound journal that I was given a few years ago and opened it to the first page. I wrote the date and a four line entry. Then I wrote the next day’s date and I placed the journal where I would see it the next night.

My pink journal that I'm writing in daily because someday, I will be someone's ancestor.
My Journal

Well, it has been over two weeks now, descendants, and I have not missed a day. I have no idea if you will be interested in what the weather was like or what I did on the weekend, but that is what I’m writing. Just one or two sentences of the first thing that comes to my mind about my day. It’s all I have time for truly, but please keep in mind:

It is more than my ancestors did for me!

They say that it takes 21 days to make a habit so I have only a few more days left until I’m stuck in the rut of making a daily journal entry. As time goes by, I plan to write about something more interesting than the weather so please bear with my early efforts. You have no idea how hard it is to just pick up a pen and put something in that book every day. Or maybe you do.

You, my descendant, will also be someone’s ancestor one day. Are you keeping a journal to hand down to them?!

Do You Keep a Journal?

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Barbara J Starmans is a social historian, freelance writer and obsessed genealogist living in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and has been doing genealogical research for the past 35 years. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada with professional learning certificates in General Methodology and in English Records and recently become an instructor for them with an intermediate course on Social History.

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