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To feel a bit sad to realise I am the keeper of most/all of this information?

(105 Posts)
grenlei Wed 16-Sep-20 14:01:08

When I was a child my mum would talk to me all the time about her childhood, her extended family, life in post war London, and then growing up in the 1950s-60s. I was blessed with a good memory (got me through school and uni with minimal effort!) so even now many years on can remember a lot of this.

My mum sadly died over 20 years ago when I was 21; of her siblings, only 3 (in their 70s/80s) are still alive, and 2 of those didn't have any children. I'm an only child; my cousins have little or no knowledge of our family history, and even my mum's siblings don't remember half the stuff I do. At a recent family gathering one family member was asking some family questions that I was able to answer, but others I couldn't (although I know my mum would have been able to).

It just makes me sad that it's all going to be lost. There's nothing massively earth shattering, it's just life and memories, connections to big events - a relative was at the Battle of Cable St for example, but my children are not interested at all (I've always loved history so a bit different for me) and no one else seems to be either.

I guess it's the case for all families sooner or later so I probably am BU!

OP’s posts: |
DonnaQuixotedelaManchester Wed 16-Sep-20 14:03:53

Write it down. Draw it, scrapbook it. Something - it’s history- real history as it was lived. A university or museum of London department might be interested in but if nothing else you could put it up on a wordpress site for others to read or something. Don’t let the memories go!

CanaryFish Wed 16-Sep-20 14:04:36

How old are your children? It’s possible they might take an interest in later life. If I were you I’d write the info and stories down and either upload them to a website (even a google doc) or keep them in a box in case some one might find them interesting at a later date

StarchyStanley Wed 16-Sep-20 14:05:18

Ah I get why you feel that op. But, yes, I imagine it happens in every family. I can't imagine being the last person on earth who really remembers my mum or my gran and their stories. It must be a funny feeling.

Could you write them all down? Maybe look into your family tree and write down little blurbs about people in it, including the stories you remember? It would be like a little history book for your younger family.

StarchyStanley Wed 16-Sep-20 14:06:03

X post - great minds.. grin.

Write it down then op, seems to be the general consensus!

ClementineWoolysocks Wed 16-Sep-20 14:06:10

Do you have photographs? I make memory books, stick in some photos and write the stories. I do it for holidays, family memories etc.

BusterTheBulldog Wed 16-Sep-20 14:07:12

I feel like this op. I’m an only child and not in a very close family. I genuinely don’t know much at all about my paternal grandparents which is pretty awful really.

DonnaQuixotedelaManchester Wed 16-Sep-20 14:09:56

Just think - if Samuel Pepys had thought there was no point in recording history. Or other famous diarists. We don’t record or archive stories for the present but the future so that we can see things clearly with hindsight!

Thisismytimetoshine Wed 16-Sep-20 14:10:35

Absolutely write it down. Your kids are probably too young for it to be of much interest now, but I'm betting when they're older this would be a fabulous thing to present them with.
I'd have absolutely loved it...

LanaDelBoy Wed 16-Sep-20 14:11:22

Please write it down! DH's nan did over a period while he was still small. The more re entries before she died are far more unclear so don't rely on being able to do it forever...
DH has now used that info to find out loads of stuff including reuniting long lost family members (they were genuinely keen, I'm aware not always the case! ) and linked up with another family member whose father wrote loads down/ kept loads too.

Conkergame Wed 16-Sep-20 14:12:31

Yes write it all down OP! I “interviewed” my grandma For a school project on WW2. So glad I did as now I have a written report of what she said and I’ve still got it, years after her passing. Maybe I’ll upload it to Wordpress, inspired by this thread!

RustyBear Wed 16-Sep-20 14:13:44

I have a wordpress site for all this sort of stuff - just make sure you leave the details available somewhere for when you're no longer around.

AIBU22 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:14:13

I am the keeper of several disturbing upsetting traumatic secrets so I wish I had your issue!

Jenny70 Wed 16-Sep-20 14:18:52

Another idea is to join or ?family tree, online family tree resources. I am pretty sure you can add notes to people - you could write some of the anecdotes and attach to the people you know were there... that way others can see/access them.

It is sad that these memories and perspectives of events is being lost, through memories fading, not being passed on as younger relatives are not interested. Something that puts them in the public domain is good. Pieces of paper in your house are perhaps able to be lost, thrown away or not appreciated for their significance.

Auridon4life Wed 16-Sep-20 14:20:33

Write a book!

Nottherealslimshady Wed 16-Sep-20 14:21:46

Yep write it down!

UntilYourNextHairBrainedScheme Wed 16-Sep-20 14:22:06

I agree - write it down, either just as notes or write your mum's biography. You don't have to send it to publishers or anything and your children don't even need to read it (just keep it safe - have a copy made for each child and include any photos you have), but maybe one of their children will be interested in rediscovering it one day.

grenlei Wed 16-Sep-20 14:23:46


I feel like this op. I’m an only child and not in a very close family. I genuinely don’t know much at all about my paternal grandparents which is pretty awful really.

It's sad isn't it sad

My father's side of the family is a whole other issue, I never met any of them, my dad changed his name before I was born, which I only discovered after he died (several years after my mum). One of the only things I know is that he was brought up by his grandparents, and that he was taken to see his mum in a mental hospital as a child (reading between the lines I think she may have had post partum psychosis after my dad's younger sibling was born, or something like that - but this was the 1930s so god knows how she would have been treated) and she thought my dad was her husband and when he left begged him to take her with him. I can't imagine how that must have felt sad

Thank you for suggesting I write stuff down, I am going to try and do that. I did set up a wordpress page for myself ages ago to write a blog on which never happened of course! so I can use that maybe.

Unfortunately my children are over 18 so I'm not sure they will ever be interested! (my parents died before they were born so it's all rather abstract I guess) but at least if I write it down I know it's somewhere.

OP’s posts: |
nevermorelenore Wed 16-Sep-20 14:25:58

Definitely write it all down. Doesn't have to be novel-quality writing or a historical document. Just get a notebook and scribble bits and bobs down when you remember them. You can then keep it in a memory box to pass on. I'm sure your children will be interested in it when they are older.

I was taught to cook by my grandma and I know a few recipes that I use over and over. It occured to me the other day that if I died before I got a chance to teach them to my kids, they'd be lost, so I'm planning on creating a folder with them.

ravenmum Wed 16-Sep-20 14:30:05

I put some things on Ancestry; you can just upload a great long story if you like. As long as you are not revealing any other living people's private details it should be fine.

I'd also print it out and keep it with important documents, though, as who knows if any of these sites will still exist in 20 years' time.
Your children might become interested later, or their children might love it.

HyacynthBucket Wed 16-Sep-20 14:32:11

I am in just the same situation, with lots of knowledge from my mother and nowhere to put it except in my family history pages on Ancestry - but that is just the bare facts of birth, marriage and death mostly. Like you OP I have no one who would be interested to pass it all on to. I have thought of writing about my parents, and what I know of their families. The next generation do not really know anything about their grandparents, especially my father who died when we were young, so they did not know him. I am hoping that someone in the next generation will be interested enough to look at what I have gathered together. It seems that in each generation there is someone who is the keeper of the family. In mine, it is me and I am still looking for someone to hand the information on to. Lots of people become interested in family history in middle age. So I am going to write about my father (as no one still living knew him) - what he was like as well as what he did. And the same with my mother, and hope one day some of their descendants will find it interesting.

monkeyonthetable Wed 16-Sep-20 14:33:35

There is - or used to be - a gorgeous local history museum just off Whitechapel Road. The curators there are very friendly, You could ask their advice about the best way to record this info. First hand accounts of Battle of Cable Street would be fascinating (even if they'd be second hand by the time you passed them on.)

Kudukudu Wed 16-Sep-20 14:33:59

@grenlei I've just finished reading One Life: My Mother's Story by Kate Grenville. It's a beautifully written account of the life of an ordinary, working class woman in Australia. Admittedly the author is one of Australia's foremost writers, but she makes some fantastic suggestions at the end about how to capture family history, and about the importance of saving family stories from extinction. I hope you do record the things your mum told you - and I hope you find pleasure in doing so. Now I just have to get on and do the same!

ReallySpicyCurry Wed 16-Sep-20 14:34:31

Your kids might be interested when they have children of their own. I didn't reallly give a shit when I was younger,but having my own children really triggered an interest in me regarding how my ancestors experienced life in what is old history to us now.

HyacynthBucket Wed 16-Sep-20 14:34:34

Should have read keeper of the family history.

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